Sure, fancy (and pricey) exercise machines can provide a wonderful workout, but why not try something as simple as a staircase? You don’t even have to leave your house to use them, and you can do a variety of exercises on them. Read on for a list of stair-based cardio and strength training routines, then head to the stairwell for a wonderful workout!
1. Sprints up and down the stairs:
If you can complete stair sprints, you can progress to a more intense cardio routine. This one is simple: sprint up the stairs as quickly as you can, walk quickly (or jog) back down, and then sprint back up. Continue climbing up as quickly as you can for as long as you can—it might only be 1-2 minutes or less. After a 1-2 minute pause, continue with 1 or 2 additional sets of sprints.
• Sprinting up the stairs is a great way to get your heart rate up. Keep in mind that if you’re not in form for such a strenuous workout, this could be deadly. Use caution and gradually increase your speed—you don’t want to risk a cardiac event or an injury from a tumble.
• Pump your arms back and forth to keep your tempo. This keeps you going and makes your body work harder.
• If you’re doing stair sprints, don’t take the stairs two at a time unless you’re sure you’re comfortable and safe doing so. Also, if you have knee difficulties, stay away from this activity.
2. Stair hops:
Step up with one or both feet, but take it slowly. Hoping or hopping up the stairs is a polymeric activity that also serves as a terrific aerobic workout. Begin by facing the stairwell and placing your feet on the ground or the bottom step. Bend your knees slightly and propel yourself off the ground to land on the next step up cleanly and safely. Carry on in this manner all the way to the top of the flight of stairs.
• Stair jumping is a wonderful workout, but if you don’t have good balance or aren’t in decent physical shape, you run the risk of slipping and falling.
• If you have shallow steps, don’t do this workout. Each stair tread must allow your entire foot to land flat and not dangle off the edge.
• For a more rigorous workout, some people practice one-leg jumps, but keep in mind that the risk factor is significantly higher.
3. Lunges on the stairwell:
Stair lunges are a great leg and glutei strength training exercise. Begin by standing at the bottom of the steps and doing lunges. Step up 2 or 3 stairs with your right foot, stretching but not overstretching your leg muscles. Concentrate on lifting yourself up the steps with your right leg—you should feel it in your thigh muscles if you’re doing it correctly! On the step, bring your left leg up to meet your right leg. For the following lunge, begin with your left foot and alternate.
• Aim for ten lunges per side, or as many as possible.
• Stair lunges are difficult on the knees. If forward lunges are bothering your knees, try reverse (or backward) lunges as you descend the stairs.
4. Steps to the side:
With this addition to lunges, you may target your inner and outer thighs. Begin by standing at the bottom step and pointing your right foot towards the stairwell. With your right leg, take a side step up to the first stair, then bring your left leg up beside your right. Repeat until you reach the top of the steps, then walk down and repeat with your left leg leading this time.
• If the stair treads aren’t deep enough for both of your feet to fit side-by-side, don’t attempt this exercise.
• Alternate forward lunges, backward lunges, and side lunges in a set. You’ll certainly feel the heat!
5. Raise the calf:
Lift your toes up to the edge of the step to tone your calves. Calf raises target your gastronomes muscles, which make your calves pop. Here’s how you can make them:
• Begin by standing on the lowest step’s edge with both feet. Only about 1/4 to 1/3 of each foot should be on the step, with your heels hanging off the edge.
• Raise yourself as high as you can on your toes. Maintain a straight back, legs, and feet, and avoid leaning forward or backwards.
• Hold the calf lift for 5-10 seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat 10-20 times. If preferred, take a 1-2 minute break before continuing with the second set.
• If you’re worried about losing your balance, keep at least one hand on the railing or handrail.
• For a more effective exercise, try doing it on one leg, but only if you have handrails on both sides to help you balance.
6. Push-ups on the stairwell:
Push-ups on an incline and decline work your arms, chest, and core. Push-ups are a great strength-training workout, and doing them on the stairs makes them even better! Use the following method to accomplish 2-3 sets of 10-20 repetitions of both incline and descent push-ups:
• Face the stairwell and place your hands on the first (for a more difficult challenge) or second (for a less difficult test) (for an easier push-up). Extend your legs straight behind you and keep your arms straight without locking your elbows.
• Slowly bend your elbows while keeping your hands shoulder-width apart, lowering your upper body and face towards the step.
• Lower yourself until your nose is nearly in contact with the step. Slowly push yourself back up to the starting position after pausing for at least 1 second.
• After you’ve completed a set of uphill push-ups, switch to decline push-ups by placing your feet on the bottom or second step and your hands on the ground.
7. Interval training:
In a single session, mix and combine several stair-based aerobic routines. Don’t be scared to switch things up by establishing your own interval training regimen. Doing one stair-based cardio workout for 10, 20, or even 30 minutes can get physically exhausting or uninteresting. Interval training can be as basic as alternating between going up and down the stairs at a moderate pace and at your quickest pace for 1-2 minutes at a time. However, you are free to create your own interval training routine using a number of stair-based workouts.
• Warm up for 5 minutes by slowly walking up and down the stairs, then cool down for 5 minutes. Include 1-2 minute rest times throughout your workout.
• After your warm-up, try this interval workout: 5 minutes of running up the stairs, 1 minute of sprints, 5 more minutes of jogging, then 2 minutes of rest. Intersperse the intervals with stair jumps and hops to really get your heart racing. Then go for a 1-2 minute stroll and repeat the process.
8. Jogging or walking:
For 5-10 minutes at a time, go up and down the stairs. Walking up the stairs isn’t a joke—a it’s real workout! While a long flight of stairs, such as those found in a sports stadium or an office building, is ideal for this, your residential staircase will suffice. Simply walk or jog up and down the stairwell for 5-10 minutes, or as long as you can. Take a 5-minute break to walk, stretch, or strength train, then return to the stairs for another 5-10 minutes. If you want, go over everything one more time.
• Power-walking or jogging up the stairs will increase your heart rate and breathing rate, making it the type of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise that health experts recommend you perform for at least 150 minutes each week.
9. Extensive strides:
Walk up the stairs quickly, each stride covering two or more stairs. It’s a fantastic workout to walk up stairs, but you can make it more difficult! With each step, try prolonging your stride and skipping as many stairs as you can securely and comfortably. Long strides train your leg muscles more than just walking up and down steps, especially the muscles in your back legs.
• Walk down the stairs normally, then return up the stairs with large strides. If you can, repeat for 5-10 minutes, take a small rest, and then repeat for another 5-10 minutes if you can.
• If you have long legs, you may be able to cover four stairs with each step, but don’t be astonished if you only manage two or three.
10. Routine activities:
As you go about your daily activity, take the stairs more regularly. Stairs are a fantastic type of exercise because you already use them on a regular basis. However, seek for small strategies to increase your stair usage. Make many trips to bring items upstairs or downstairs at home, for example, to get extra exercise—and not only because you always forget to take things with you!
o When you’re away from home, find methods to use the stairs more often: take the stairs instead of the elevator to work, or park higher up in the parking garage so you have more stairs to climb on your way out.
o Whether it’s a regular programmed or an unstructured “lifestyle activity” like walking up the stairs, exercise is exercise. Lifestyle activities have been demonstrated in studies to be just as helpful to your health as aerobic exercise programmers.
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