A Fast, Full-Body Outdoor Stair Workout
Red Rocks is an epic backdrop for your next vacation workout.
The Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, has hosted some incredible musicians over the years (The Beatles, The Grateful Dead and Jimmy Hendrix, just to name a few). But locals know it's also home to some serious butt-kicking workouts.
The outdoor concert venue has hosted events like Red Rocks Fitness Challenge and Yoga on the Rocks. And it's also a favorite for outdoor-exercise enthusiasts who gather there to test their endurance and strength.
If you're lucky enough to live in the area (or to be visiting), try out this quick but efficient full-body workout you can do on the stairs of the amphitheater. Or if a Red Rocks workout just isn't on your bucket list, you can find any set of stairs and give this workout a try.
Start your workout off with a lower-body burner.
1. Single-Leg Stair Hops
Challenge your single-leg strength as well as your core stability. This lower-body exercise is sure to get your heart rate up and your body prepped for the rest of the workout.
HOW TO DO IT: Start at the bottom of the staircase (make sure the steps are shorter so you don't end up doing single-leg box jumps). Using your arms for momentum, hop up the staircase one stair at a time, keeping your balance still on the one leg.
Hop up 10 steps on one leg, switch to the other leg for 10 hops, then walk back down to the bottom. Repeat three times.
Note: If you've never done single-leg work before, start with standard two-legged stair hops.
More single-leg work that also targets your upper body.
2. Tripod Triceps Dips
This variation on the standard triceps dip also targets your lower abdominals and frontal hips flexors.
HOW TO DO IT: Assume the same starting position as you would for regular triceps dips—seated on the edge of a step or ledge, hands by your hips and feet out a few feet in front of you.
Lower your butt off the ledge and support yourself on your hands, keeping your thighs parallel to the floor. Straighten one leg so that it's parallel to the ground (or out at a 45-degree angle) and bend your elbows behind you.
Don't lower with your glutes or abs, but keep the motion isolated to your arms. Keep your leg straight for 10 reps before switching legs. Rest for a minute and repeat two more times.
Take your step-ups to the next level.
Another variation on a classic exercise, you'll feel this one primarily in your quads and glutes.
HOW TO DO IT: Stand facing a step or ledge with your hands on your hips for balance. Step up onto the ledge with your right foot. Rooting into your right foot, push off and bring your left foot up to the same height as the right foot.
While keeping your hips level, raise your left leg back behind you, squeezing your glutes as you do. Step back down with your left foot first, and then repeat on the other side. Continue alternating sides for three sets of 10 reps.
This push-up variation strengthens your upper body and seriously sculpts your core.
4. Incline Push-Ups With Side Planks
Doing push-ups on an incline does make them easier, but adding a side plank challenges the obliques in a way you wouldn't with a standard push-up.
HOW TO DO IT: Brace your hands on a bench or ledge and hold a steady plank position with your body in a straight line from head to toe. Bend your elbows back along your body and lower down into a push-up.
Press back into a plank, but as soon as you reach the top, lift your right hand and rotate your core into a side plank. Hold for 15 seconds before returning to the plank and repeating on the other side. Do three sets of eight reps, alternating sides with each rep.
This crunch variation is anything but boring.
5. Boat Crunches
Give your core a serious workout with this crunch variation that will have your abs screaming (in a good way, of course).
HOW TO DO IT: Sit on a ledge or tall step so that your butt is a few inches away from the edge. Place your hands on either side of your hips and lean back at a 45-degree angle. Lift your feet off the floor and hold them out straight a few inches from the ground.
Contract your abs and bend your knees into your chest. Your torso will also lift slightly to meet your thighs. Lean back slightly as you extend your legs once again. Do three sets of 20 reps.
You can't have a stair workout without running a few sets.
6. Running Stairs
Finish off your workout with some cardio! HOW TO DO IT: Sprint up the staircase as fast as you can and slowly jog or walk back down. Depending on the length of the staircase (and your endurance at this point), repeat two to five times.
Rachel Grice is the senior fitness editor for LIVESTRONG.com and a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200). She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Southern California and has worked for Men's Health, FitPregnancy and People magazines.