Climbing stairs is a great way to get in some interval training. Interval training is simply going from a lower intensity of cardiovascular exercise (going downstairs) to a higher intensity (going upstairs) and repeating for a set amount of time.
*Sample Stair Workout
- Warm up by going just half way up and coming down at a slower pace. Still at a slower pace, perform a set of bigger steps (skipping one or two steps) to stretch the muscles dynamically. Then go 3/4 of the way up at a comfortable pace.
- Do 1-5 sets of full stairs at a comfortable pace (sets depend on how many stairs you are working with).
- Do cross-overs (facing at a 45 degree angle – crossing back leg over front) for 5 to 12 steps – then face other direction. 1-2 sets at a comfortable to moderate pace.
- Skip every other step. 1-4 sets at a moderate pace.
- Fast pace – hit every step for a flight followed by stepping every other step for a flight. 1-6 sets high intensity (still can say at least a 4-word sentence though).
- Try one leg lead for coordination (back it to a moderate pace). Step up right leg, left leg meets right, then repeat (say “right – together – right – together”…if you can say it, you can do it). Perform 5-12 steps with right leg, then switch to left leg lead. 1-2 sets.
- Perform wide step ups. Picture a clock, stepping at “10” and “2” as you climb. 1-2 sets back at comfortable pace.
- Cool down by walking flat for 3-5 minutes and always stretch afterwards.
If you haven’t done this type of workout, please only start with 1-2 sets of stairs total and work your way up. You don’t want to fry your calf muscles and not be able to walk the next day. It’s not worth it!
*Remember to see your physician before starting any new fitness program.