Imagine if there was an interesting, easy and free way to enhance your fitness with no need for special equipment. HipFit reveals eight exciting stair hacks and turns an everyday activity into a compelling exercise routine.
Climbing stairs burns calories, strengthens your core and tones your body. All you need is access to stairs and a few extra minutes in your day. When you leave the office, avoid the elevator. At the mall? Ditch the escalator. Whenever you can, head for the stairs and get a quick workout done.
Keep an extra pair of running shoes in your office or in the trunk of your car. This is one micro-workout that you can do at your own pace. It’s not timed and you can take as many steps as you want. Invite a friend or coworker to join your daily ascent up the stairs so it doesn’t get boring.
What’s In It For Me: Channel your inner Rocky and get ready to tackle those stairs. You don’t have to chug raw eggs and pound meat like Stallone, but you could cue the Rocky theme song for this set. It’s an intense cardio workout and we want you to tackle the entire flight of stairs without stopping. Go as hard as you want, but the goal is to ascend all the way up, do a Rocky-worthy fist pump, then head down to do it all over again… and again.
How To Do It: Warm the leg muscles with a brisk walk or some easy stretches. Keep in mind, the steeper the stairs, the more difficult you can expect the sprint to be. If this is your first time, be sure to take it one stair at a time. As you begin, lean in to the stairs and pump your arms as you climb, keeping your legs high. Train your eyes on just the next step don’t get distracted. On the way down, lean back slightly and keep your arms tight against your body, descending carefully.
Stair Walk on Toes
What’s In It For Me: Your calves and toes get all the love with this micro-workout. You don’t have to go hard and fast, and you don’t need hundreds of stairs to benefit. Proper form and solid body mechanics are what’s important when you walk up stairs on your toes. The muscles and connective tissue in your feet are so accustomed to day-to-day sidewalk pounding that this might actually feel good as they flex and stretch to accommodate the stairs.
How To Do it: Warm the muscles in your feet with gentle toe, arch and ankle stretches. This exercise is always done one stair at a time- don’t skip a step. The only part of your foot that comes in contact with the stairs are the balls of your feet and your toes. Start with either foot on the next step and push through the balls of your feet to climb. Climb at a brisk pace and keep your eyes focused on what your feet are doing.
What’s In It For Me: Nobody climbs stairs sideways, do they? Yup… you do, and you own it! Also known as a lateral high knee, this workout propels you up the stairs in a lateral orientation, creating muscle confusion and strength to the outer leg muscles as you ascend. Now there’s no avoiding that this exercise can look a little weird to casual observers, but to the HipFit crowd it just looks awesome. Work fast and get amazing leg gains in just a few minutes.
How To Do It: The trick is to get your knees up high as you go sideways up the stairs. Push off with your lead leg and let your lower leg catch up, crossing one leg in front of the other. Whichever direction you’re facing, push through that leg first, get a nice high knee and swing your arms to keep your upper body in alignment as you go all the way to the top of the stairs. Descend normally, then repeat.
Stair Calf Raises
What’s In It For Me: As this simple exercise uses your body weight to really work those calves, you’ll actually make good use of any extra pounds you happen to be carrying! Glass half full, right? This is a good workout to do when you’re trying to catch your breath from other more aerobic exercises. Strong calves help you maintain a nice posture and contributes to better overall balance.
How To Do it: Select stairs with a handrail if you need a little extra help with your balance. Place the balls of your feet and toes on the leading edge of each stair step with your heels hanging off. Stand tall with your abs tucked in nice and tight. Lower your heel slightly below the stair then raise it up by pushing through the balls of your feet and contracting your calf muscle. Hold for a few seconds then climb a step and repeat until you reach the top.
Stair Long Steps
What’s In It For Me: First things first- you’ll look like a badass and feel like a beast taking every second step like a boss. Who does that?! You do! These are also known as stair lunges and when you do them, you’ll understand why. The body mechanics mimic static lunges and you get all the same fitness benefits from this variation. You’ll activate your glutes and stretch your hamstrings. Long legs don’t help- every body shape benefits from these stair long steps.
How To Do It: There’s no hurry. Resist the temptation to run up the stairs for this exercise. Body mechanics and form rule the day. Approach the steps just like you would climb them one at a time, then just skip a step. Using the posterior chain of your body, step every other stair, pushing your weight through the heel of your foot, driving up off the heel and go all the way to the top of the stairs. Descend normally and repeat.
Stair Crouched Walk
What’s In It For Me: When you master the crouch walk on stairs, you improve overall balance, open the hips, activate the glutes, work the hamstrings and even strengthen your ankles. You can perform this going up or down the stairs, although beginners should learn to do this on flat ground before attempting to ascend stairs. Once you’ve achieved ninja status with this micro-workout, you’ve graduated to attempting this on the downward slope of the stairs. Get ready to laugh at yourself because it does look funny.
How To Do It: Start in a crouch or squat position at the base of the stairs with your hips just beneath your knees, and your knees in line with your toes. Ascend the stairs carefully, keeping your knees bent and your feet as flat on each stair step as possible. Watch your balance and don’t be afraid to grab the handrail as needed. Try to maintain a continuous low center of gravity and stay in the crouch position as you climb. Expect to feel the burn in your glutes and hamstrings as you progress up the stairs.
What’s In It For Me: Well, you get to jump. On stairs. Like a kid. What’s not to love about that? It looks like a squat and feels like a squat so it must be… a squat. With HipFit’s stair jumps, you decide just how deep to go into the squat position. You don’t have to drive your hips down below your knees like a traditional squat because the angle of the stairs presents a challenge in and of itself, and works the muscle groups just the same. Your goal is to make it to the top of the stairs without stopping.
How To Do It: Enter the squat position at the base of the stairs with your weight behind you, knees bent, chest up and eyes forward. Keeping your knees together and your feet parallel, propel yourself up and forward by powering through the heels to jump as high as you can over the first stair step, landing on the second. Absorb the landing with bent knees and swing your arms to launch again. Think, “jump, absorb, jump, absorb,” build momentum on the way up and get ‘er done!
Stair Monkey Crawls
What’s In It For Me: Invite your kids to join you on the stairs for the monkey crawl. They’ll love seeing you get on all fours and be a little silly. You can expect a total body workout with the stair monkey crawls. You’ll work the complex muscles in your shoulders and upper arms while also stretching and strengthening the major muscle groups in your legs. For comfort and safety, we recommend that you choose a carpeted stairwell that is wide and not too steep. Beginners should not attempt to do the monkey crawl going down the stairs until they’re confident with the mechanics required.
How To Do It: In over-simplistic terms our best advice is to crawl like you’re a one-year old child. On the way up the stairs, propel your body forward by pushing off from the balls of each foot. Your legs will do most of the work. On the way down the stairs, be certain you have a good grip of each stair as you descend. Elongate your body, keeping your back as rigid and straight as possible. Your biceps and shoulders do most of the work.
So often we read those “Take the Stairs” campaigns in and around the office. We’ve always known there are health benefits to do it and now we know it can be fun too. Just avoid stairs that are broken, uneven or wet. Wear the right shoes; athletic, supportive and non-skid. For safety sake, we recommend you either do these exercises with a partner or let someone know you’ll be in the stairwell for a few minutes.