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All You Need Are Some Stairs For This Killer Bodyweight Cardio and Strength Workout

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Fitness Tips & Videos

All You Need Are Some Stairs For This Killer Bodyweight Cardio and Strength Workout

You don’t need to be a pro to train like a pro, and believe it or not, simple cardio and strength training will make us recreational tennis players perform MUCH better on the courts. This applies to doubles players, as well – and this stair workout does both!

Stair workouts aren’t just about running up and down dozens of flights until your legs melt. Sure, that’s certainly an option, but you can also save your joints while working cardio and strength, at the same time, using just a couple steps and a few simple moves.

For that, we turn to Jennifer Nagel, ACE-certified personal trainer and CEO of the online health and fitness coaching company Figured Out Fitness.

“Steps are a great way to add variety to a strength training workout.” The extra height forces you to incorporate and adapt to level changes, “which can help you work your muscles from multiple angles.” Hitting those different angles stimulates the fibers in different areas of your muscles, building strength in all parts of the muscle.

This workout also combines strength training with cardio, thanks to the heart-pumping squat jumps you’ll be doing in between resistance moves. All you need is an exercise step or some stairs (but if you don’t have either, these moves can still be done without). Check out the full workout ahead, and let’s get sweating!

Cardio-Strength Step Workout

Equipment needed: Stairs, a bench, or a sturdy, solid box. For safety, Nagel recommends wearing shoes during this workout to ensure you have firm footing.

Directions: Warm up with 10 minutes of light cardio, such as walking or a basic step (shown ahead), and dynamic bodyweight movements. Complete the designated reps and sets for each exercise before advancing to the following exercise. You’ll see a range of reps for each move, so you can adjust the workout for your level, doing fewer reps if you’re new to the moves or a beginner. Rest for 45 seconds between each set. Cool down afterwards by walking in place for 30 seconds, then stretching.

Warmup: Basic Step

Warmup_ Basic Step

Image Source: Jennifer Nagel

  • Begin standing, facing the stairs with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Place your right foot on the first step.
  • Step your left foot up to meet your right.
  • Step down with your right foot and then your left to return to the starting position.
  • Repeat, starting with the left foot. This counts as one rep.
  • Complete for 5 to 10 minutes to warm up.

 

1. Prisoner Squat Hover

Prisoner Squat Hover

Image Source: Jennifer Nagel

  • Stand facing away from the stairs with your feet just past hip-width apart. Place your hands behind your ears so your elbows point out and pull your core in toward your spine.
  • Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. Continue bending your knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor and your butt taps the second stair behind you. Ensure that your back remains between a 45- to 90-degree angle to your hips. You won’t fully sit on the stair, but hover just above it or lightly tap it.
  • As soon as you touch the stair, drive through your heels and straighten your legs to return to standing. This counts as one rep.
  • Complete for two sets of 12 to 16 reps, resting for 45 seconds between sets.
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2. Squat Jump Onto Step

Squat Jump Onto Step

Image Source: Jennifer Nagel

  • Stand facing the stairs with your feet just past hip-width apart. Pull your core toward your spine.
  • Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, squatting about halfway down with your knees bent at about 45 degrees. Make sure that your knees remain in line with your toes and keep your back between a 45 to 90-degree angle to your hips.
  • Swing your arms back and jump forward and up onto the first step. Land lightly in a squat position.
  • Jump backwards to the floor, again landing softly in your squat position. This counts as one rep.
  • Continue for one set of 8 to 10 reps.
  • You will perform one set of squat jumps in between each of the other exercises.

 

3. Incline Push-Up Row

Incline Push-Up Row

Image Source: Jennifer Nagel

  • Begin in a high plank with your hands on the second or third stair (the lower you go, the harder the move will be). Your hands should be under your shoulders, your core pulled in toward your spine, and your back flat.
  • Bend your elbows, lowering your chest to about elbow height with your triceps parallel to your ribs. Keep your core pulled in throughout the movement.
  • Drive through your hands to push away from the stairs until your arms are straight and you’re back in the high plank position.
  • Pull your right elbow back, lifting your hand toward your chest. Keep your core tight and avoid rocking or turning your body, ensuring your hips stay facing down.
  • Place your right hand back down, returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side. This counts as one rep.
  • Complete for two sets of 12 to 16 reps, resting for 45 seconds between sets.
  • Do one set of the squat jumps.

 

4. Incline Side Lunge

Incline Side Lunge

Image Source: Jennifer Nagel

  • Start standing with the stairs on your right side, about two feet away from the bottom step. Place your right foot on the bottom step.
  • Keeping your core pulled in toward your spine and your chest lifted, bend at your right knee, ensuring that your knee remains in line with your toes. Bend until your right thigh is parallel with the floor, with your back at a 45- to 90-degree angle to your hips. Your left leg should be straight. (If you can’t straighten out your left leg, come back to the starting position and step farther away from the step.)
  • With most of your weight on your right leg/foot, push through your right heel to come to a standing position with your right foot still on the step. This counts as one rep.
  • Complete for 12 to 15 reps, then repeat on your left side.
  • Do one set of the squat jumps
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5. Elevated Triceps Dip

Elevated Triceps Dip

Image Source: Jennifer Nagel

  • Begin sitting on the first step with your hands on either side of you, shoulder-width apart and flat on the stair. Your fingertips should be right on the edge or slightly off the stair, pointing forward. Place your feet hip-width apart about two to three feet from the bottom step, knees bent and balanced on your heels with your toes pointed up.
  • Slide your butt forward until it’s just off the step. Keep your arms straight but not locked.
  • Bend your elbows with control and lower your body toward the floor, until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle but no lower. Your elbows should be pointed straight behind you, close to your ribs. Keep your core tight and hips lifted. The downward movement should initiate from your arms, keeping your hips stable and lifted.
  • Drive through your hands and slowly push back up until your arms are straight. This counts as one rep.
  • Complete for two sets of 10 to 12 reps, resting for 45 seconds between sets.
  • Do one set of the squat jumps.

 

6. Crab Kick and Reach

Crab Kick And Reach

Image Source: Jennifer Nagel

  • Begin sitting on the first step with your hands on either side of you, shoulder-width apart and flat on the stair. Your fingertips should be right on the edge or slightly off the stair, pointing forward. Place your feet hip-width apart about two to three feet from the bottom step, flat on the ground with your knees bent.
  • Slide your butt forward until it’s just off the step. Keep your arms straight but not locked.
  • Extend and lift your right leg off the ground with control while simultaneously reaching toward your right toes with your left hand. Keep your core pulled toward your spine and your hips lifted throughout the movement.
  • Set your right foot and left hand back down, then repeat on the other side. This counts as one rep.
  • Complete for two sets of 12 to 15 reps, resting for 45 seconds between sets.

You can find the original article and more on Popsugar.com

Fitness, health and wellness experts from POPSUGAR are here to bring you tennis-specific fitness tutorials, workouts, and other health and fitness related posts that will help you move faster on the courts and hit with more power!

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