6 Exercises You Can Do on the Stairs

This post was featured on the women's publishing network, BlogHer.  To see that post, click here.

How excited are you that the weather is finally warming up??  I know I am!  I've been dying for the days of driving around without a coat (which actually happened yesterday!), being able to take walks in the evenings after dinner, and just generally being outdoors.  I wasn't ever really an outdoor workout type of person until recently when I've thought about all the amazing locations and "equipment" you can use (for free!).  (You know, park benches, jungle gyms, and trees just to name a few.)  I've been thinking a lot about teaching my own outdoor bootcamp classes too once it gets a bit warmer.  Living near a huge park and a nice bay with scenic views is inspiring some awesome workout ideas, I have to say. :)  (Will those be blog posts you ask?  Yes, yes indeed!)

In the meantime, I created this workout that you can do pretty much anywhere there's a staircase.  While it was intended to be one for the outdoor staircases you might find in a park, you can also do this workout in your own home or in the office building if you're so inclined.  Read on for the details of each exercise and what to do to turn this set of exercises into a full-blown workout! 

6 Exercises You Can Do on the Stairs

Note: be very careful if you're doing these exercises on wooden stairs or uneven stairs such as those made of natural material (like rocks) outdoors.  I'd recommend wearing sneakers with good traction and finding the most even stairs possible.

Stair Runs - simple enough.  Jog up and down the staircase for 1 minute.

Lunge Climbs - start at the bottom of the staircase, and place one foot on the first stair.  Lunge down until your knees are at 90˚ angles.  Then place the back foot up on the next stair.  Lunge.  Up to the next stair.  Lunge again.  So on and so forth until you're at the top.  Then turn around and do the same thing back down. 

Stair Jumps - starting at the bottom again, squat down and hop up onto the first step.  Squat down again, and hop up to the next.  Use your legs to propel yourself up each step until you reach the top.  Turn around, and do the same thing back down, focusing on keeping the jump small (don't slip!) and landing in a deep squat as you go down.  Trainer Tip: if you're uncomfortable with the jumping, make it a hop.  If you're still not comfortable with that, step up and down the stairs, stopping to squat on each one.

Incline Side Shuffles - start with your body perpendicular to the staircase, and place one foot on the bottom step. From here, shuffle your feet up the stairs, stepping one foot up, then hopping to bring the other foot up to meet it.  Land in a split stance, so one foot is always in the lead.  Once you reach the top, go back down with the same leg in the lead.  Go up/down twice on one side, then switch legs.

Decline Tricep Dips - you can really do these on an incline, too.  So start at either the top or bottom of the stairs, facing away (back toward the stairs) placing your hand on the edge of the stair above you, and feet on the stair just underneath, or down two if you have long legs.  Dip yourself down using your triceps.  Advance down or up the staircase doing a dip on every step.  Go up and down once.

Incline Push Ups - place your hands on the edge of one of the first few bottom stairs, so your body is in an incline plank position facing the stairs.  From here, perform a push up, and then advance upward to the next step.  Do another push up.  Continue that pushup pattern on every stair until you reach the top.  Note: in case you're thinking about it, I would not recommend doing these on a decline.  Visions of chins getting smashed and having an embarrassing roll down a flight of stairs come to mind.  So please don't attempt that. :)  Or, if you do, don't say I didn't warn you.

There you have it!  Feel free to play around with these exercises and make the workout your own!  Want to do some incline side shuffles on the way up and tricep dips on the way back down?  Be my guest!  This is just a starting point and a list of ideas to get you started.  Try out what works best for you and feel free to add exercises of your own! 

What exercises and/or workouts are you looking forward to trying outside this year?  I'd love to hear about them!