Are you looking for a fast effective workout when travelling with work or on holiday?
Or maybe you want to add some variety to your outdoor training now that the weather is getting nicer.
Very simple and highly effective, step sprints are an ideal way to give your legs and lungs a super workout.
Similar to my beginner’s sprint post, the most obvious training methods done consistently can reap the greatest reward and most enjoyable sessions.
Step it up, with some step run intervals.
Step running is perfect for a quick energising cardio blast when travelling or when you have limited time at home.
You can make the session a gruelling lung buster or a more steady regeneration/ recovery session in the fresh air.
The solution is to find a set of steps run up and down, get tired and repeat.
This isn’t an overly scientific blog post, it doesn’t need to be, it will give you a little guidance on making the most from your sessions.
Follow these simple steps, get it? ha ha, to maximise your fat loss, improve cardiovascular fitness and re-energise outdoors.
Step 1: Find Steps
Find a set with a good amount of steps so that you can get those legs pumping without having to stop too much, this will enable you to quick-step your way up, and put everything into the working set to get the desired training effect.
If you live near the coast, head down to the beach for a steep incline, these are some of the best, the fresh sea breeze is always an added bonus.
When you go for a run outside add in some step sprints during your jog in the park.
Maybe a nearby arena or stadium will provide a good training ground.
If not, no excuses, they are easy to find and that’s what makes this training great whilst travelling.
Step it up outside a block of apartments, near a shopping centre or even in the city centre steps are everywhere, ready and waiting for you to sprint up them.
Although for the extra enjoyment of the training session, the more scenic the better.
Explore and find yourself the perfect steps to test your lungs and legs to the max!
Step 2: Get Warm
Maybe the journey to the steps involves a light walk or jog, this will be ideal for the warm-up.
Adding in mobility drills and dynamic exercises to the warm-up will be extra beneficial and prepare you for the step drills, the step run action will be more explosive than a light jog.
Spend at least 10 minutes warming up.
A good warm-up will consist of a few dynamic bodyweight exercises:
• Jogging on the spot
• Leg swings front, back, side to side
• Body weight squats
• Step Ups
• Side to side shuffle
• Walking lunges
• High Knees
• Butt kicks
• Hip Openers
• Mountain climbers
Step 3: Time to step it up
To get the most from your step run training, start with one or two slow sets to extend the warm-up, this will prepare you for the coordination and stride length required for the work-out.
A lot will depend on the number of steps and their size.
Obviously, little steps will require fast feet and shorter strides.
Whilst large spaced out steps are great for opening out your strides and bouncing up with a plyometric style.
The best would be to get a combination of the two if you can.
The intensity is also determined by your training objective, do you want this to be a steady session for light cardio and recovery from other training?
Or an absolute lung-busting timed sprint with a bucket at the top if you puke?
Make that decision and adjust the intensity of the session, and the recovery between sets accordingly.
Technique-wise, there’s not much to consider.
You will need an explosive drive on the way up, stay light on your feet moving fast and pump the elbows back, using your upper body for additional power.
Control yourself on the way down with a slow walk, watch where you are going this is your recovery, take your time to catch your breath ready for the next explosion up.
The additional challenge can be created with lateral runs, double steps, single fast feet, or plyometric bounding a set number of steps.
Just like any training session, it’s important to wind down and let the heart rate gradually decrease.
If you had to walk or run to the steps you can now do the reverse, a light jog followed by leg stretches or a walk to cool down and take down the heart rate, leaving you loose for future training.
Attack the challenge
Time the course and set yourself some lung-busting times to beat.
This can be made into a very very challenging method of training, you control the effort you put in, really go for it, attack each set and measure your improvements in time and recovery.
Buddy up and race
Take a training partner along, get some step sprint races going on, this may push you a little more and add to the fun.
It will become very competitive and a great laugh at the same time, it’s harder to breathe when you start laughing.
Use step runs as a light recovery drill
A great recovery day training session when done at a steadier pace with dynamic stretches between sets, this will get the blood pumping in the legs and give them a flush out and regeneration after tough training sessions of previous days.
Push it to the max
Add in some bodyweight exercises when you get to the top.
10 press ups
or maybe some plyometric lunges to give the legs a real blast at the top.
If you are in a park and can add some chin-ups at the end of each set brilliant!
Explore the great outdoors
Explore the great outdoors, pick a scenic spot for your step running.
Add them to your favourite hiking or trail running route, or add just one or two sets after a run along the beach.
The Fresh air of the great outdoors will add to the production and release of endorphins, training outside enhances the training experience for the mind and body.
There we have it, quick tips on step running.
Very straightforward and it’s a great way to train, challenging and easy to action.
If you try it and find it slightly difficult, massive well done, the difficulty most people have is taking the steps off of the sofa to find the steps to run up in the first place.
Give it a try and let me know if you have any questions, or awesome step locations worldwide to recommend to others.