Stairs provide an unusual but effective opportunity for exercise. Athletes and sportsmen often use stadium stairs for workouts. New York-based certified personal trainer and physical education teacher Virgil Aponte notes in "Ultimate Stair Exercises for Fitness & Weight Loss" that stair workouts are also effective for general conditioning and weight management. You can perform stair exercises using stairs to help develop your fitness and to control your weight.
Two-footed jumps develop your leg power, leg strength and general conditioning. Stand at the bottom of the steps, bend your knees slightly and swing your arms backwards. Swing your arms forward and jump upward to land on the next step up. On landing, immediately repeat the exercise and continue until you have performed as many jumps as required. You can make this exercise more demanding by holding weights in your hands or jumping up two or three steps at a time.
Bear crawls develop whole body endurance and strength. To perform bear crawls, bend forward and place your hands on the floor so that your weight is supported on your hands and feet equally. Moving your opposite hand and foot, remain on all fours and crawl up the stairs. For a more advanced workout, you can also crawl down the stairs. As there is a greater risk of falling, perform this variation with care.
Stair sprints are an effective calorie burner, leg conditioner and anaerobic fitness exercise. To perform stair sprints, simply run up the stairs as fast as possible. Vigorously pump your arms to make this exercise more demanding. You can place your feet on each step in turn or take two or even three steps at a time for a more demanding workout. Carefully walk back down the stairs and then repeat for the desired number of sprints.
Walking up stairs backwards places an increased demand on your quadriceps muscles, which are located on the front of your thigh. Perform this exercise carefully and ensure that the whole of your foot is on the step before transferring your weight. Make this exercise more demanding by wearing a weighted vest or holding a dumbbell in each hand.
Stair intervals combine walking or running up stairs with calisthenic exercises. Perform a set of calisthenics on each landing, for example, push-ups, squats, lunges or sit-ups. Stair intervals will develop all-around muscular endurance and aerobic fitness and promote fat burning. You can also perform exercises using resistance bands, medicine balls or free weights. Simply leave the required equipment on each landing and perform a predetermined number of reps, for example 15, when you reach each piece of equipment.
- "Ultimate Stair Exercises for Fitness & Weight Loss"; Virgil Aponte; 2006
- "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning"; National Strength and Conditioning Association; 2008
- "Anatomy of Exercise: A Trainer's Inside Guide to Your Workout"; Pat Manocchia; 2009