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Health and Fitness News

A Workout that Goes Up and Down

The next time you’re on the prowl for an effective full-body workout, find your local staircase.

If you’re not ready or able to exercise at the gym these days, maybe you’re looking for a new workout you can do at home. Look no farther than your stairs. You may not have a full staircase and that’s okay. A few steps is all you need.

The resistance of moving your body against gravity is one way to get a great full-body workout that’s cardio, strength training, and balance, all in one, with no special equipment needed. With a little creativity, you can even use the stairs for exercises that work more than your legs.

What kind of workout can you get with a staircase? You’re about to find out.

Cardio

For a basic stair workout that’ll get your heart pumping, do several three- to five-minute sets of going up and down the stairs, with a minute of recovery between sets. Beginners should plan to walk up at a steady pace and jog as they go down. The better shape you’re in, the faster you can go. Want to challenge yourself? Instead of walking, jog or sprint up the stairs. Just be careful that you don’t stumble.

Power

Want a workout that will increase your explosive strength? Do a jump workout using the stairs. Stand on the lowest step with your feet placed slightly wider than hip-width. Squat down and explosively jump up to the next step. Continue squatting and jumping up the flight of stairs, being careful to land firmly on each step without tripping.

For another power workout, run up the stairs as fast as you can while skipping one or two steps at a time.

Balance

Work on your balance and coordination by climbing the stairs sideways, moving your feet in a grapevine fashion. To do this, face the rail and hold onto it. Cross your right foot in front of your left to step onto the first step. Lift your left foot to step onto the second step. Then cross your right foot behind your left foot to step onto the third step. Lift your left foot to the fourth and so on. Repeat this foot pattern as you descend.

Crab Walk

It’s easy to think of stair workouts as mainly lower body, but moving like a crab down the stairs will work your upper body as well. Sit on the top stair and place your feet two steps down. Rest your hands on the floor behind you and lift your hips off the floor. Crawl down the stairs like a crab, moving your left hand and right foot down one step at the same time and then your right hand and left foot down a step. Continue in this pattern.

Push-Ups and Planks

Use the stairs for incline push-ups or planks. The higher your hands are on the stairs, the easier the exercise becomes. Or challenge yourself by placing your feet on the first or second step and putting your hands on the floor. To do a push-up, place your hands on a stair so that they’re directly below your shoulders. Straighten your body so you’re in a high plank position. Bend your elbows and lower your body toward the stairs. Then straighten your arms and raise your body back to plank position. Repeat. To work your core and arms, hold the plank position instead of lowering into a push-up.