You don't need any expensive equipment, open space, or even great weather to get in an effective conditioning workout. In fact, you can get it done in your own home, apartment, or hotel. All you need is a set of stairs!
I'm all about a minimalist approach to fitness, and using what's available in your area to your advantage is a part of that approach. Just about every single home will have a set of stairs, why not use those to your advantage? You're not always going to have access to a gym, a track, or equipment. By learning how to use the stairs as a conditioning tool, you'll be eliminating any of those excuses.
I've been using stair sets for years with clients to elicit outstanding results, and today I'm going to share two of them with you! The methods I'm going to share with you today are not the only way to use stairs for conditioning, they're just a few of the ways I have used them.
Yes, I know about stair sprints, and so does everyone else! We've all seen Rocky ... so I'm not including them in this.
The purpose of this post is to get your mind open to the idea of using your stairs for effective conditioning. This way, you'll be able to get in a quality conditioning workout anywhere in the world. Let's take a look at a few different workouts I enjoy.
It's called fast feet for a reason! This workout is a simple conditioning workout that only involves the use of one step. It's easy, and I often use it with new trainees due to the low difficultly level. That doesn't mean it's not suitable for the experienced trainee! It's going to rev your heart rate up no matter who you are. I enjoy using this after a strength training workout as a finisher.
How it's done ...
- Step up on to the first step, then step down.
- Repeat this as quickly as possible for 20 seconds
- Rest for 10 seconds
- Repeat this 8x
- Each round alternate the foot your using to step up
The goal is to step up and down as fast as you can, and I do mean FAST! Then rest for 10 seconds before repeating. If you have a railing to hold onto during this workout DO IT! If you slip while you're taking a step it will help prevent you from falling on your face!
- 30 seconds of work/30 seconds 4-8x
The Pilgrimage To Pai Mei's
In old Kung Fu movies, and the Kill Bill series, Pai Mei was a cruel kung fu master who lived on the top of a tall mountain. The only way to make it to Pai Mei, was to walk up a massive stair set ... only to get your ass kicked at the top. This workout is a much slower form of conditioning, but it's fantastic and basic. I use a stair well for this workout, but home stairs will due as well! Longer stair sets (10 - 20) are best, but short sets can work as well. It's going to be a grind, but if done correctly it will have you breathing hard in a short amount of time.
How it's done ...
- You'll start at the bottom of the stairs
- Walk with purpose, full extension of the knee and hip at the top of each step, squeezing the glutes
- Once you reach the top of the flight of stairs, perform 5-10 face the wall squats (posture squats) at a pace of 4 seconds down, 4 seconds up
- Walk up the next flight of stairs (or if at home, walk down the stairs briskly and then back up them with purpose)
- Reach the top of that flight of stairs and perform 5-10 face the wall squats
- Repeat this sequence over and over for 10-20 mins without stopping
This can be done with a smaller set of steps (5-6 steps) but I would suggest walking up them, back down, then back up, before performing the squats. This could also be done with step as well, step up and then back down on the one step 10 - 20 times before performing your squats. You could also vary the exercises, you don't need to only perform squats. Push ups, chin ups, and lunges, would also be suitable.
- Add a weight vest
- Use a resistance band for added weight during squats