Boost the incline and your metabolism with this quickie stair workout that can be done just about anywhere.
Get yourself to a set of stairs for a workout that burns through calories, challenges you at any fitness level, and leaves you chiselled.
Steps are one of the most effective conditioning tools out there, says Errick McAdams, a personal trainer in Washington, D.C., known for his killer staircase circuits. That flight in your home or apartment building, at an outdoor space or in a carpark will work.
A set of stairs typically has a 50 to 75 per cent slope, says Errick. (To put that in perspective, a hill with a 7 per cent slope is considered supertough for cyclists.) The steep grade will skyrocket your fat melt – running up stairs burns up to an off-the-charts 16 calories per minute – and carve your butt, legs and more as you climb. “You’re balancing briefly on one foot, so lesser-used stabiliser muscles – like the hips, inner and outer thighs, and core – activate and intensify the routine’s sculpting effects,” he explains.
Going vertical will make you stronger and firmer, and also improve your cardio capacity. “The added effort required to execute each move taxes your lungs and heart more than running on a flat surface,” Errick says. As a result, your VO2 max – the most oxygen you can utilise during exercise and a marker of your fitness level – gradually increases. The scale will thank you too. Running on stairs for 10 minutes will burn more calories than jogging for 15.
Go all-out in each round of this routine until your legs feel like jelly, then use the push-up intervals to let them recover as you sculpt your upper body and core. You’ll be sweat-drenched and breathless at the end, but you’ll be firmer too.
Hard (RPE*: An 8 or a 9 out of 10).
A set of stairs with 10 to 15 steps.
HOW IT WORKS.
Start with the warmup, then complete the next five rounds in order. Do this routine twice a week on alternate days.
274 (this calorie burn is based on a 63.5kg woman).
*Rate of perceived exertion; see www.shape.com.sg/rpe.
Do 3 sets of 30 jumping jacks and 15 squat thrusts (Crouch, plant palms on floor, then jump feet back to plank. Jump feet toward hands, then stand. Repeat).
Run up and down the stairs, hitting every step. That’s 1 set. Do 10 sets. Then get into plank position with feet on floor and hands on the third step (body will be at a 45-degree angle). Do 10 incline push-ups.
Run up the stairs, skipping every other step. (Lean slightly forward and pump arms.) Walk back down. That’s 1 set. Do 10 sets. Then get into plank position with feet on the third step and hands on floor (body will form a 45-degree angle). Do 10 decline push-ups.
Stand facing the stairs with feet wide. Bend knees slightly to start. Jump, swinging arms forward, landing softly in start position on the first step. Continue to the top. Walk back down. That’s 1 set. Do 5 sets. Then get into plank position with right side of body parallel to first step and right hand on first step, left hand on floor. Do 10 uneven push-ups.
Stand at bottom of stairs with right side parallel to first step. Leading with your right foot, run sideways up the staircase, increasing speed as you go. Walk back down. Repeat on opposite side. That’s 1 set. Do 5 sets. Then get into plank position with left side of body parallel to first stair and left hand on first step, right hand on floor. Do 10 uneven push-ups.
Stand on bottom step facing away from stairs. Jump onto floor. Land softly and squat until butt almost touches bottom step, then step backwards onto the stair. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 reps. Then get into plank position facing stairs with hands and feet on floor. Walk right hand onto the first step, then left hand. Then walk right hand to floor, then left hand. That’s 1 rep. Do 5 reps. Switch sides and repeat.
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