Bodyweight-only routines have become quite popular in recent years. They are “excuse-busters”. No longer can you push your fitness aside because you don’t have money, time, or equipment.
Want to take the bodyweight-only routine to the next level? Add in a staircase and you’ve opened the door to a number of additional opportunities.
Using stairs as a form of exercise isn’t anything new. Folks have been walking, sprinting, and lunging up stairways for years. Adding the incline of a stairway forces the body to work much harder for the majority of movements performed. We recommend alternating an upper-body focused movement with a lower-body focused movement.
Stair Pushups10 Reps 1 of 9
Begin in a traditional pushup position. Be sure your hands are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your fingers are pointed out slightly (about 20 degrees). Your elbows should come out around 45 degrees relative to the body and you should maintain a neutral spine position throughout the exercise. Brace your abs, squeeze your glutes, and lower your body as one unit under control. Perform your repetitions in a controlled manner. If 10 reps of pushups are fairly easy, turn them into an explosive "clap pushup" to increase the difficulty.
Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat8 reps per leg 2 of 9
This is an excellent unilateral movement that will challenge both balance and strength. Reach one leg back and place the top of the foot on the step. Keeping your chest up and the front foot flat on the ground, lower yourself down until the back knee nears the ground. Focus on driving through the entire front foot and don't let that front heel come off the ground.
Stair CrawlsLength of Stairs 3 of 9
Starting in a quadruped position (hands and feet in contact with the ground) with your hands on the higher step. Begin the movement by moving your opposite arm and leg forward at the same time up to the next step. Staying under control, alternate this cross-body pattern for the desired distance.
Walking LungeLength of Stairs 4 of 9
Performing traditional walking lunges up stairs requires a bit more balance and control, and increases the stretch through the groin and trail-leg hip flexor.
Burpees8 reps 5 of 9
Begin by putting both hands on the ground and kicking your feet out behind you to get into a pushup position. Perform one pushup and then hop your feet up towards your hands. From this position, stand up and perform one lateral jump while extending your hands overhead and land on the next stair.
Broad Jumps8 reps 6 of 9
This is a simple and effective exercise for developing power. Standing hip-width distance apart, begin the movement by dropping down into a quarter-squat and driving your arms down and back. Jump forward by explosively throwing your arms out while extending your ankles, knees, and hips at the same time. Focus on landing "softly" on the balls of your feet and under control on the next step.
Ab Holds15 seconds 7 of 9
Begin in a seated position with your hands positioned on the stairs directly next to your legs. Brace your midsection, push your hands firmly into the ground and lift your entire body off the stair so your legs are hovering. Be sure to keep your shoulders away from your ears for the entire 15 seconds.
Stair SprintsLength of Stairs 8 of 9
When sprinting, be sure to keep a slight forward body lean and do not break at the hips. Drive off the balls of the feet, pump the knees, and maintain a neutral spine. Make sure to pump your arms, as well, to incorporate your upper body.
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