There really is no way to “skate” or “slide” (unless your Booty Slidin’) to a head turning lower body other than pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone – beyond easy street. If there were, we would all have whiplash – because we’d spend our entire day gawking at women with great buns and thighs. While your local Chiropractor would love you – the reward of a rocking body wouldn’t be as sweet without knowing you’ve done the work.
So if you are ready to kick it up a notch, check out one of my favorite workouts for staying lean and mean all year round.
Stairs! Stairs! Stairs! Running – lunging – hopping – striding!
CAUTION: Be sure your knees are up to the challenge. It’s not always the going up that can be tough on them – going down can be rough as well.
For this article, I am focusing on running stairs in Los Angeles’ Westside area, which in my humble opinion has some of the best locations for outdoor stair running.
One of my favorites over the years has been the UCLA campus off of Sunset Boulevard. I’ve used these stairs to get in the best shape of my life when training for fitness shows specifically the Ms. Galaxy and Tri-Fitness.
If you are going to head to UCLA here’s a few tips:
– Park for free along Veteran Ave. which is just off of Sunset.
– Pay attention to street cleaning signs.
– Walk up the grass/dirt trail along Sunset. It’s a great 5-10 warm up walk and you will come to the campus entrance and can follow that into the bleachers which you can see as you walk up the hill.
– Meters are available on campus – bring plenty of change – these meters are quarter monsters.
– Definitely bring water and a towel.
Another great set of stairs on LA’s Westside, whether you live in Santa Monica, Brentwood or even in the Palisades are the Santa Monica stairs aka “The Steps”, located just off San Vicente Blvd and 4th St.
These stairs are world famous (seriously) and on any given day you can find some Celebrity or professional athlete getting their “sweat on” running – walking or lunging these stairs. Some tips for heading to the SM stairs:
– There is free parking on 4th Street and also on San Vicente. Just pay attention to the signs in the area.
– Stair etiquette – yield the right of way to faster stair climbers
– Peak times are mornings before 9am and evenings after 5:30pm. So if you want to avoid the crowds and you have the flexibility to do so – I encourage it. Especially if it’s your first time there – it can be overwhelming – navigating the steps and trying to breath at the same time. Just kidding – no – I’m not!
And last but not least, Culver City throws its’ hat into the ring with the stairs at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Now, in all fairness I have not personally run these but hear they are great as part of a mini hike and offer a 360 degree view of Los Angeles and on a clear day you can see the Hollywood sign.
CAUTION: These steps tend to be different heights and some are uneven. Wear appropriate shoes!
The best thing about running stairs is it works so many different parts of your body at once from your butt to your hamstrings to your quads and not to mention your calves. Oh and I almost forgot to mention the cardiovascular benefits. Nope that was on purpose, “heart pounding out of chest” will become a familiar phrase.
Be sure to wear your heart rate monitor – you will probably set a new max HR record. There is no better way to get your cardiovascular fitness in check than running stairs. Truly – even with all the different ways I train to stay fit running stairs can still bring me to my knees… literally.
And the best news is you don’t have to live on Los Angeles’ Westside to take advantage of this workout – you can find a flight or several flights of stairs in an apartment or office building or if you are traveling – hotel stairs are fab! And the stairwells are usually empty since most people never take them! A crime, but that’s a topic for another post.
Here are some of my favorite reasons why running stairs is my number one outdoor workout:
– Great for interval work – run – walk – run – then crawl to the top
– You absolutely will sweat
– Fast way to get your heart rate up
– Buns – Thighs – Calves
– You break out of the “four walls”
– Huge calorie burn
– Mixes things up
So throw on your favorite pair of running shoes, grab water and a towel – go crush the stairs and leave with a butt lift!