Climbing stairs and I go way back, but our bond really formed when I turned 27 and realized how ridiculously out of shape I was. Yep, nothing makes you feel more pathetic than huffing and puffing up one flight of stairs... to check the mail. The stairwell and I have been besties ever since.
The benefits of climbing stairs are endless. It's one of the most convenient ways to throw some exercise into your uber-busy day. It's like owning a crazy-expensive piece of exercise equipment you didn't have to pay for. Plus, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, you can burn more than 500 calories with 30 minutes of stair running, and 286 with stair walking. And most importantly, it's very Rocky Balboa.
Here are 10 moves to keep in your back pocket the next time you come face-to-face with a staircase:
1. The bicep curl
Using dumbbells (or equivalent household objects), briskly walk up and down a flight of stairs while doing bicep curls for a convenient whole body workout.
2. The slow and steady
Walk up and down however many flights you have available to you for 30 minutes at a time.
3. The step-up
Place your left foot on the first step, lift yourself up until your left leg is straight, then return to start. Repeat on the other side. Aim for 10-15 reps on each side.
4. The squat jump
Facing the stairs, hop up with both feet and land in a squat position. Hold for two seconds, then jump to the next step.
5. The quicker picker upper
Climb up the stairs at a moderate pace, and once you've returned back down, climb them faster and faster until you're running up the stairs. Continue upping your pace until five minutes is up.
6. The cross-step
Stand with your left side facing the stairs and place your left foot on the first step. Next, step your right foot in front of your left onto the second step. Keep repeating all the way up the stairs. If you're feeling particularly daring, try two steps at a time!
7. The wide step
Place your left foot on the far-left end of the second step. Place your right foot on the far-right side of the fourth step. Continue climbing stairs two at a time, keeping your steps super-wide and your head up.
8. The run
Run hard up the stairs for 20 to 30 seconds, then walk back down. Repeat for 20 minutes... or until your legs feel like cooked noodles, whichever comes first.
9. The arm inclusion
Since your arms are probably feeling pretty left out right now, here's a move just for them: Sit on the edge of the second or third step, arms at your sides. Pressing down on your palms, lift your rear off the step and extend your legs straight out until your heels are resting on the floor. Slowly lower your rear by bending your arms at 90 degrees, then push yourself back up to start. Do 10 reps.
10. The recovery
Once you're done climbing stairs like a boss, give your legs time to recover by walking around on level ground for 60 seconds. Finally, take one last walk up and down the stairs to cool down.
Do you incorporate climbing stairs into your workout routine?
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Image: Stair climbing photo via Shutterstock