In early September 2005 I received an email from a woman named Gina who had questions on stair training. It turns out that she was the leader of a group fitness
class that loved to use the bleachers at a local park to do stair exercises.
She wrote to me to ask for training tips on stair exercises and of course I was excited to help out.
I immediately emailed her my numerous workouts she and her group could do on Bleachers or Giant Steps which I like to call them. The reason I call them giant steps is because bleachers or stadium steps are about the size of 2 standard steps and sometimes a bit bigger.
Here are some ideas to get you started if you'd like to try stair work on bleachers or giant steps as I like to call them:
1. Running up Giants Steps: The fact that giant steps are twice the size of standard steps makes this very tough from the start. It's a big reason why athletes love to run stadium steps. Doing this you will help you improve your strength, power and conditioning all in one!
2. Hops: Another idea straight from elite athletes is to simply hop up stadium steps. Doing this is excellent for improving your power and if you throw in multiple hops you will also dramatically improve your power endurance. Also expect your legs to look amazing after 3-6 weeks of using hops. I suggest you start 1 giant step at a time and then progress to using 2 giants steps at a time (equal to 4 standard steps).
3. Use 1 or 2 legs at a time: Most people inherently will use 2 legs but by switching to 1 leg you will make your legs much stronger and you can work on any weakness you have.
4. Use a weighted vest: Just 5-10 pounds will make a huge difference here. Once I started using a weighted vest I've never looked back. It makes your workouts that much more efficient and effective that you too will never turn back. I used to breeze up 20 flights of stairs with no vest. Once I got up to using 20 pounds on my weighted vest 20 flights was not so easy anymore. And I'm just talking about walking. For running or hopping just 5 pounds and you'll work harder then you've worked in a long time.
5. Throw in body weight exercises, jumping rope, resistance band work or other exercises you'll love in between your climbs.
My favorites are push-ups and handstand push-ups in between my climbs. I also throw in pull-ups at the local park after my my time in the stair wells.
These women also used hills and track to workout but the message is clear. Find what you love, get some support from a group, continue to learn from other resources and simply get out there and do it.