Consider this our gift to you: a quick, no-equipment, no-gym stair workout from certified personal trainer Chris Freytag. “Stair work is an easy way to get your heart rate up and increase your overall metabolism,” says Freytag. “And you can find at least a couple of steps in just about any home.”
The 5 minute stair workout
Whether you’re in or out-of-town, sneak in this workout at the end of your day, after everyone’s settled down. Perform these moves in a stairwell or anywhere there are a few steps. Spend 1 minute with each drill before moving directly to the next without a break. Begin with 1 round (5 minutes) your first day, working up to 5 reps of the cycle for a 25-minute workout.
1. Up, Up, Down, Down
Facing the stairs, step both feet onto the first stair, then back down again, alternating the lead leg with each repetition. Use your arms to help propel you, moving as quickly as possible to get your heart rate up. Keep your core engaged and count your repetitions to see how many you can complete in 1 minute.
SUPERCHARGE IT Make this move harder by stepping to the second stair. Use your arms and your core to stay in control.
2. Incline Push-Ups
Position your hands directly under your shoulders on a step, keeping your feet on the floor and your body straight, from the top of your head to your heels. With your tummy and tush engaged, bend your arms to lower yourself until your chest grazes the edge of the stair that your hands are on. Return to straight-arm position and repeat for 1 minute.
SUPERCHARGE IT The lower the step you use, the harder the exercise. For a real challenge, put your feet on the bottom step and place your hands on the floor.
3. Quick Jumps
Start at the base of the stairs with your feet shoulder-width apart. Begin with a slight squat, then swing your arms and jump with both feet onto the first step. Land with soft knees, stand upright, and jump back down backwards. Repeat for 1 minute. Note: This move should be done on sturdy steps only.
SUPERCHARGE IT Jump two steps.
4. Spiderman Abs
Begin in a push-up position with your hands on the third step up, adjusting up or down as necessary for balance. Keeping your abdominals engaged and your body straight, send your right knee to your left elbow, then return to starting position. Alternate sides with fast but controlled movements for 1 minute. Be sure to keep your hips from dropping as you move.
SUPERCHARGE IT As with the incline push-up,the lower the step, the harder the exercise.
5. Triceps Step Dips
Sit on the edge of a step with your hands braced on either side of you. Slowly lower yourself forward and off the step, going down as far as possible without touching the step beneath you. Lift yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat for 1 minute.
SUPERCHARGE IT Use a lower step or walk your legs out farther to make it more difficult.