Using The Stairs
Not everybody has stairs in their home, but chances are you know somewhere that you can find a set. Maybe it's a set of bleachers at the high school or a set of steps at a park. Maybe it's indoors at a hospital or another tall building. Even if you can only manage to find ONE step somewhere, many of these exercises will work for you!
If you are fortunate enough to have access to a place with many flights of stairs (the high building or bleachers), this is ideal! The reason is that you can walk or run up them for a long time without having to constantly turn around to go back down. This will really burn those quads and glutes!
? Go up as many flights as you can. Walk some. Go quickly on some. It's up to you! Always walk back down the stairs! When you get to the bottom, turn around and go again. This is such a tough workout, you may only be able to go for 5 minutes. Try to add one more flight or set each time that you do your workout! This is a great calorie-burning workout and will really help tone those legs and butt!
? Try the above workout using every other step. Walk back down as you normally would.
? How about skipping 2 steps?! You'll want to do this one slowly and be near a hand rail if you can. Don't use the rail to pull yourself up, just to assist you with balance. *Tough one for shorter people!
? I like to have clients do this as a "pyramid". They will run up 2 flights, walk back down; 2 flights of every other step, back down; 2 flights of skipping 2 steps, walk down; every other step again; then single step again. *They usually don't like me after this!
? Do any of the above with a weighted backpack. *I strongly suggest only
walking/slow climbing with the pack on!
? Cross Step- (a great way to hit the outer and inner thigh and butt) Try the above methods but instead of stepping straight up, cross your right foot over so it's at the left side of the next step. Cross the left foot to the right side of the next step and so on.
? Lateral Stepping- Here is another great way to exercise the whole leg including outer and inner thigh: Stand at the bottom of the stairs facing sideways. Step up with the leg closest to the step. Bring the other foot up so you're standing on one step. Make sure your first foot leaves enough room for your second foot and make sure the toes are pointing forward
(90 degrees to the step). *I like to do this using every other step rather than every step. Remember to do an even amount leading with each foot!
So you only have a few steps available or maybe a low ledge to use? No problem!
? Step Ups- Place one foot on the middle of a step or ledge. The other leg is straight and beside you. Bend the knee of the leg that's on the step. Bend it enough so that the opposite toe just brushes the floor and push back up. Try to do this standing as upright as possible.
? Jump Ups- Just like it sounds! Jump from 2 feet onto the ledge or onto the first, second or third step. Step back down. *Don't try the third step right away! Build up to it.
? Single Leg Hop- like the jump up, but your jumping off of and landing on one leg.
*You might first want to try jumping off of the one leg and landing on both feet, just to be safe!
? You can do the lateral step up and the crossover step up the same way onto the ledge or second step of a short set of stairs.
? Toe Raises- This exercise works the calf muscles. Stand on a step on the balls of your feet so that your heels are hanging off the step. Let the heels drop below the step then raise up onto your toes as high as you can. Repeat. *This can also be done as a single leg exercise.
What about upper body?
? How about push-ups with your feet on the floor and your hands on a step. The more steps up your hands are from your feet, the easier the push-up. This is a great way to do push-ups for someone who has trouble doing a regular one.
? For a harder push-up than normal, put your feet on a step and your hands on the floor. This will make the push-up tougher and target some different muscle fibers in the chest that the flat push-up.
These are some more examples of ways to keep yourself in peak shape without having to buy any expensive equipment.
Wes Norris, CSCS is a Fitness Consultant and the owner of AllAroundFitness.org based out of Connecticut.
Wes works at Hartford Hospital and trains clients, athletes, and speaks to groups on the importance of exercise for a variety of specific conditions.
He runs a fitness bootcamp, teaches for a National Personal Training certifying agency and creates and produces fitness products for Trainers and Fitness Fanatics.
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