Incorporate Stair-climbing into an Intense Cardio Workout

Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Fitness | 0 comments

Incorporate Stair-climbing into an Intense Cardio Workout

Hmm – spring!  Finally the weather is beginning to warm up – take advantage of that by moving some of your workouts outdoors.  Especially if you’re lucky enough to live near a wooded trail system, combining fresh air and exercise and trees is a great way to get in shape and feel great.

Running through the woods, breathing all that fresh, clean air, is nice – but sometimes running can get a little boring. If you have access to some stairs near those trails, you can change up your running workout while upping the intensity – dramatically!

What you need:
– a flight of stairs, 50 to 100 steps
– an area next to those steps where you can run 50 meters (should be fairly level, fairly straight, and good footing)

The workout:

Part 1 – warmup (5-10 minutes)
– Run up the stairs at top speed
– Walk down the stairs (quickly, but not running)
– Repeat a total of 10 times

Part 2 – ramp it up (10 minutes)
– Run up the stairs at top speed
– Sprint 100 meters (sprint 50 meters, then turn around and sprint back) as fast as you can while maintaining a consistent pace
– Walk down the stairs (if your running area is at the bottom of the stairs, reverse this; run up, walk down, sprint…)
– Repeat a total of 5 times (increase to 10 times over the next few weeks)

Part 3 – cool down (10 minutes)
– Walk it off; 5 minutes or so
– Do some post-workout stretching (achilles tendons, calves, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, lower back, shoulders)

What I have is ideal – on my local trail system, there is a paved trail going through the woods, with occasional flights of stairs going down to unpaved trails at creek-level. So I have two flights of stairs (50 steps each) about 100 meters apart.  Run up one set, sprint to second set, walk down, run up second set, sprint back to first set, walk down…

I did this workout last night, for my first time this year – and loved it!  Running up stairs takes total concentration, so there’s no way this can be boring.  And running up stairs is great for the glutes, while walking down stairs is great for  the quads.  And stair-running is an excellent weight-bearing exercise, which is fantastic for building bone-mass.

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