Take Your Workout to the Bleachers! Try This Stairs Workout Routine

Train at the Stadium

Stairs Workout on Bleachers
Getty Images/Peter Griffith

Stairs: They have a way of reminding you that your fitness could be better. Whether you start huffing and puffing after climbing a single flight, or you get winded after running a few stories, there's nothing inherently easy about carrying your own body weight up a set of stairs.

This is precisely why you should consider taking your next workout to the bleachers. 

Shannon Colavecchio, the owner of the Tallahassee-based fitness studio, Badass Fitness, is a big fan of putting together stair workouts for her clients.

In fact, she takes her own boot camps to FSU's Doak Campbell stadium to put participants through the ropes. According to Colavecchio, "No machine inside a gym can mimic the hard-hitting benefits of a stadium workout and no matter how hard you run, it won’t give you the cross-training benefits of using a stadium as your giant fitness playground."

In fact, Colavecchio cites five main reasons why you should incorporate stair workouts into your regular fitness routine:

  1. Full-body training opportunity: You can work every inch of your body by using nothing more than the bleachers, ramps, and handrails.
  2. Endless options: There are lots of ways to mix up your routine to get a killer workout.
  3. No gym fee, always open: Many high schools, colleges, and community centers leave their bleachers and stadiums open to the public. Just double-check the policy before you go—you'd hate to show up at a time when the facility is closed for private student events.
  1. An affordable booty-lifter: You don't need to go under the knife —just hit the stairs! Stair workouts are one of the most effective ways to attain a tight, toned rear end, as every single step targets the glutes. 
  2. Creates an unstoppable feeling: Bleacher workouts themselves may make you feel like you're dying, but once you crush the program, you'll feel unstoppable.

    Colavecchio's Stairs Workout

    Once you've located a set of bleachers in your area, don't just trudge up and down the steps—try this (possibly brutal) workout courtesy of Colavecchio. It won't be easy, but after you're done you'll feel incredibly accomplished. 

    1. Simple Warm-Up

    Start with a simple warm up. Take two laps around the track or stadium, then get ready for three minutes of cardio drills.

    2. Cardio Drills

    Cycle through the following drills, going as hard as you can for 30 seconds each:

    • Jacks: Perform standard jumping jacks
    • Ready Sets: Squat low, run fast in place, and every few seconds "set" back into a plank by hopping your feet back and dropping down into a plank position before returning to the low squat and run in place
    • SkatersPerform a lateral plyometric curtsy lunge back-and-forth, as if you were a speed skater skating in place
    • High Knees: Run in place as you pull your knees as high as you can toward your chest with each step
    • Side Shuffles: Shuffle 10 feet to the right before shuffling back to your starting location—continue shuffling back and forth for the whole 30 seconds
    • BurpeesPlace your hands on the ground in front of your feet, hop your feet back to a full pushup position, hop your feet back to start, then jump up into the air as high as you can—remember to land with your knees and hips slightly bent to reduce the impact of each jump

      3. Hit the Stairs

      Now that you're thoroughly warmed up, it's time to hit the stairs:

      Repeat the entire circuit two times through.

      4. Optional Ramp Drills

      If you have access to ramps at your stadium (this is often reserved for larger venues), try adding these drills to your routine:

      • Run from the bottom to the top ramp once
      • Run up a single level of ramps, then do 15 pushups, 10 burpees, and 1-minute wall sit
      • Repeat at every ramp level, until you reach the top

        Additional Bleacher Workout Tips

        1. Warm up thoroughly before hitting the bleachers
        2. Bring water with you
        3. If you'll be doing ab moves or exercises on the ground, consider bringing a mat
        4. Know the venue's schedule and plan your workouts around other major events
        5. Bring a buddy or workout with a group—it's safer and more fun

        Try the Stairs Workout at Home

        If you don't have easy access to a set of bleachers or a stadium, you can easily adapt Colavecchio's routine for any set of stairs at your home or office. Use these tips to get started:

        1. Warm up by jogging in place for five minutes, followed by the three minutes of cardio drills detailed above (jacks, ready sets, skaters, high knees, side shuffles, and burpees). 
        2. Dive into the stairs workout by running up and down a single set of stairs for three minutes, followed by the exercises detailed above (squats, stair step-ups, triceps dips, and v-sit pull-ins). Complete this entire cycle twice.
        3. Adapt the ramp routine by running up and down a single set of stairs for three minutes, followed by the exercises listed above (a single jog up and down the stairs, pushups, burpees, and a wall sit). Repeat the entire cycle three times. 

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