By Danielle Braff, Special to Tribune Newspapers
8:31 PM EDT, August 8, 2012
You don't need a separate room with fancy equipment to have a home gym. You simply need some stairs and you're golden. Tamilee Webb, fitness expert and star of the "Buns of Steel" videos, created an entire workout you can do without leaving your staircase.
A few safety precautions before you start, and these apply whether or not you're exercising: Make sure the steps have a nonslippery surface — and the same goes for your footwear. Also, nothing should be sticking out of the surfaces of stairs, handrails or banisters (like nails or splinters). Speaking of handrails, Webb says that they are there when you need them and can add a safety factor if you need to quickly catch your balance.
Also, if you're not in fabulous shape, Webb advises you to feel free to remain near the bottom of the staircase. And if you experience knee pain while stepping up stairs, you should skip this workout. Remember, the rule of thumb: If it hurts, don't do it.
Work your abs while raising your heart rate. Place both hands on the third step from the floor and leave your legs straight back on the floor in a plank position. Alternate tapping your feet on the first step for eight counts, then move up one step with your hands and your feet. Repeat with eight counts on that step and continue up until your hands reach the top.
Crossover side oblique steps
Your sides will be toned and your arms will look chiseled when you master this move. Think of it as a stair-stepping side bend. Start by standing as if you're going to walk up the stairs sideways, with your right leg closest to the stairs. Lean toward your right side with your arms reaching toward your right ankle; now step on the first step. Then, take the next step with your left foot crossing over the right, as pictured. Then lean to your left. In essence, lean toward the side that is taking the step. To make this more challenging, hold hand weights, starting with 2 pounds. Use heavier weights when (and if) the exercise becomes too easy.
Reverse step squat
Your thighs should be burning by the time you're done with this one. Face away from the stairs with your feet shoulder-width apart and slowly lower your body into a squat position. Press from your heels to stand back up and step up to the next step while still facing backward. Repeat the move all the way up on each step.
Your abs and upper body will get a workout with this exercise. Place both hands on the second step from the floor and bend your lower body in a squat position, feet shoulder-width apart. Jump to the first step with both feet and place your hands on the next step. Jump with your feet again up to the next step. Repeat until you get to the top of the stairs. Once you've mastered this, you can add a heel click by clicking your heels together on each jump before landing on the next step.
One step at a time
Get your heart and your mind racing by going up and down the stairs one step at a time, then adding another step with every sequence. Starting at the bottom, step or jog up to the first step and then step or jog back down to the floor. Repeat, but add another step. (So you'll go up two and down two.) Add one more step each time you go up until you reach the top of the staircase.
Crab crawl with triceps dips
Your triceps will ache tomorrow, but for now sit on the first step and place your hands on the second step with your fingers facing forward. Lift your body off the step, straightening your arms, leaving your heels on the ground. Do one dip by bending your elbows to lower your body down and back up again. Move up one step by placing your right arm and right heel up, followed by your left hand and heel. Repeat the triceps dip. Keep moving up one step at a time. Once you get to the top of the stairs, go back down and do the crawl again, this time leading with your left side.
If your thighs didn't hurt before, they'll be killing you now (and tomorrow). Stand facing the stairs, placing your right foot on the second step. Lunge forward toward the step on a 90-degree angle and lower your back leg to bend down toward the first step. As you come out of the lunge, place both hands two steps up, shoulder-width apart. Bring your torso down toward the steps while you extend your left leg straight up behind you for a leg lift. Then, come out of the leg lift and step on the stair where your hands were. Repeat the lunge on your left leg. Switch legs, going up the stairs two at a time.
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