Running or hiking stadium stairs has always been a great workout that has been used for years by college and pro athletes alike. More recently, however, this type of workout has gained popularity and has trickled down to the high school athlete and the average person like you and me who are trying to stay fit and may be looking for something different to try. It can be a great workout for anyone but especially if you like to run, bike, swim or row. This type of activity offers a very efficient way to increase lower body strength and power and should be a supplement to your exercise routine either on a weekly or monthly basis. Here are four tips to help make the experience a better one.
(1) Think Progression. When trying the stairs for the first time keep it simple. Try to slowly walk (hike) up a few sections or rows and complete “x” number of steps at your local high school or college stadium near you. If you have no problem with this your goal would be to slowly build up your volume (i.e. # steps or time) and progress to a more challenging workout once your body begins to adapt. As you become more proficient at walking the steps, you can add running into the mix (an example of stair progression: slow walk/fast walk/running/bounding).
(2) Make Your Own Circuit. To change things up a bit (after you have been doing them for a while) try to add in some upper body work after every few sections of stairs that you complete. You can add in some abdominal work, push-ups, T-push-ups, or dips and the by-product is a more complete, full-body workout. You can even bring some exercise bands or even light dumbbells with you as time goes on.
(3) Bring a Workout Partner. Each time you go try to bring different friends to workout with who have different fitness levels or exercise backgrounds. This is ideal for catching up with old friends and gives you a built-in choice of having an easy or hard workout session depending on the ability of that friend.
(4) Try Using a Pedometer. This can be a great way to look at the volume of work that you do over time. If you do for example, a quarter or half of the stadium first time out – take a look at your total steps (let’s use 5000 steps) and try to build on that number by 250-500 steps each time out.