“Always take the stairs” is an age-old adage aimed to make every day active. I suggest we take that notion one step further and always consider a stair workout when seeking a quick and effective sweat. The case for incorporating stair workouts into your regular routine, or making it a new habit with friends is pretty strong. Running stairs is free, great for building all-over lower body strength and tone (hello booty), and can burn 2x the fat that running does. Before we get into the actual workout, let’s review tips to you get the best stair workout possible…
- The longer the stairs the better the workout. While you can technically hit as many steps on a shorter staircase by doing more repetitions, you’ll be best served finding the most lengthly staircase possible. Part of the joy of a stair workout is achieving that point of muscular and cardiovascular fatigue, which comes when you’re ascending 70 steps or more. We like using the sports stadiums at our local public high schools or colleges, and have found great long staircases in the form of walking paths through hilly neighborhoods.
- Keep your hands free. Resist the urge to hold your phone/music device in hand during this workout. Each movement will be more powerful if you can pump your arms and use them as balance aides. With all workouts, it’s best to carry your phone in an armband or belt so you can brace yourself in case you suddenly lose your footing!
- Opt for high compression clothes. Male or female, your goods will bounce all around during a stair workout if you don’t have on some good compression shorts or a high-support sports bra. ‘Nuff said.
- Focus on form – specifically upright back and high knees. The best way to protect your knees and maximize your workout is to prioritize proper form over speed. Over time, your good form will be a contributing factor to increased speed, so be patient when starting out. To familiarize your body with the correct form, warm up for the stairs workout with 30 seconds of stationary high-knee runs. As you step with each leg, try to land on the ground only with the pads of your feet, not your heels. Once you’ve got that down, begin raising the knee of your bent leg upwards to your thigh. Try to get your thigh high enough to make contact (a quick tap) with the underside of your outstretched palms. Remember that feeling and replicate it as you move up and down the stairs during your workout!
- Bring a friend and high-five often. We’re very serious about this one. Stairs are hard, especially when you push yourself, so bring a friend to keep each other motivated. Give each other a high-five after completing 2 sets.
Now it’s time for the workout! Pin or save the below graphic to use as a reference for your stair session.
Show us your hard work with the tag #HonestlyFITfam!
(Images by Andrea Posadas for HonestlyFIT)