Stairway to heavenly Glutes
“I should just note that I wrote this one quite some time ago when I was living in sunny Sydney. I Sadly don’t live near any park with steps. London is very flat. However, if you are near stairs – I hope this article brings you some inspiration to climb up, then down, then up again, then down, then up (because it’s important to finish on a high). Enjoy…”
Lately I’ve been looking at more dynamic and explosive ways of training my body, 1. because it’s fun and 2. because I don’t seem to have the time for these luxuriously long workouts anymore – so it has to be efficient with the time I have.
Stair sprints have been the answer.
There are a few main benefits to stair sprints. As mentioned above it is time efficient, allowing for a great cardiovascular and intense workout in under 15 minutes of training. Legs and Butt to brag about is benefit number two, as the explosive nature of stair running can do wonders for the Gluteus Maximus & Medius and Quadriceps. Benefit number three is the fact that it’s way more interesting that sitting on a leg extension machine or stepping up and down bench in the gym – you’re hopefully outdoors, in the sun, breathing fresh oxygen.
Today I ran up the beautiful, yet painfully steep steps at Cooper Park, Sydney 10 times. Resting at the top for 30 seconds before I would run down to enjoy it all over again (ok so I may be exaggerating when I say enjoy – it’s a love hate thing). Each time I ran back up the stairs I made a promise that I would go as hard as I could to the top, sprinting 2 steps at a time so that I would get a better Glute workout as opposed to just my Quads doing most of the work.
When you feel warm go ahead and sprint as fast as you can up the steps, taking 2 steps at a time, drive through the heel of your top foot so that you are engaging, not just the quad, but the gluteus as well. Make sure that your knee is tracking directly over your ankle as you run up the steps. (Watch out for knees dropping inward – this could mean that you are not stable enough through the glute and need to slow down. Instead of sprinting, try walking up two steps at a time, consciously driving through the heel of your foot, watching the tracking of the knee and concentrating on squeezing your butt muscles to get you up).
Repeat this 10 times. Resting for anywhere between 30 – 50 seconds. If you’re new to this or you feel under conditioned take a longer rest.
Write down your results – how long it took you to get up the steps, how long you rested for and how many sets you did. Then beat it next week.
Obviously you shouldn’t be doing this sort of explosive training if you have any injuries – anywhere in your body. I say that very seriously – I know it may sound a little overprotective, however this workout is intense and extremely taxing on the body. Why put it under unnecessary stress when it is trying to heal? Injuries require slow stabilising workouts and massage – so be honest with yourself and your current physical state before attempting this workout.
If you can do the workout – Then try the post exercise stretch sequence below.
Watch the video first and then copy the sequence I have written for you below. It’s very quick and simple. DONT SKIP YOUR STRETCHES PEEPS!
1. Cresent lunge:
Begin with feet together and step back the left leg into a crescent lunge. Make sure your hips are square, your lower stomach is drawn in and pelvic floft edited (the kind of squeeze you would doif you were busting to go to the toilet).
Bring your palms together at your heart and reach up to stretch out your psoas and hip flexor muscles, twist your body to the right and hook your left elbow on the outside of the right leg (twisting crescent lunge).
2. Ardha Hanuman
Come back to centre and bring your finger tips to the floor. On an exhale press your hips backwards so that you come into Ardha Hanumanasana / Half Splits. Let your head completely relax down so that you get the full fascial stretch from the sole of your foot through the back of your leg right up to the back or your neck (yes! it’s that connected!)
Move in between these two postures, the lunge and Ardha Hanumanasana, by inhaling to brand the front knee and exhaling back in the the half split (Ardha Hanuman pose). Take as many rounds of this as you like going that little bit deeper each time (if your body allows for it).
From Ardha Hanumanasana come back into the lunge by bending your front knee. Take both hand into the inside of your front leg. Begin to shift your weight all onto the front leg and you twist your body to the left. Place both hands on the outside of your left leg and fold forward.
Transition to take it all on the left side by bending the left knee into a lunge and repeat from the Crescent Lunge.