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Stairs are your workout buddy – Part Two

January 7, 2013

A few days ago I posted about using stairs to work on upper body strength and to help with building balance. This follow up is about using stairs to help with some stretching.

Basically, the point of both articles is to help you look at all thing in life as opportunities to help keep up general fitness in a busy world. After all,   once you get rid of laziness there is no excuse for doing nothing.  With both exercises below, you  can use the handrails for support if you need while building your capabilities for them.

Using stairs for a calf and hamstring stretch:

I have talked before  about how loosening up your hamstrings  can help ease lower back pain and help avoid some of those night-time cramps.  Try this use of stairs for simple stretch.

  • Standing facing the staircase, shift your weight to one leg and place your heel one step up, keeping your knee loose  but your leg fairly straight.
  • Pull your toes back toward your chest, keeping your heel on the tread.  The further back you pull your toe the more calf stretch you will get (or feel).
  • Bend forward from your waist trying to touch fingers to the toe of the foot on the step.
  • If you feel a stretch in your hamstring this may be a  good enough place to start.  If you feel no stretch and the muscle feels loose,  you can go another step higher.  Keep going higher as you gain flexibility or need to find a challenge.

Another variation:

  • Standing facing the staircase shift your weight to one leg and step onto the bottom tread, keeping your foot flat.
  • Moving from  your hips, glide your hips forward bending the knee of the leg on the  stairs while keeping the other foot flat to the floor.
  • Make sure the knee of the foot on the stairs  does not go past your toes. You should feel some stretch in the thigh of that leg and a stretch in the hamstring of the leg  on the floor.
  • To get a deeper stretch, move the foot on the floor further back, keeping the other foot flat on the stair.
  • Try to keep your hips square to the steps as you move forward. You should also feel a stretch in your hips and lower back.
  • Do no over-stretch. Take this slow and increase gradually.
  • Move your foot up to the second tread as you gain flexibility. Again moving your support foot further back will add to the stretch at this tread height as well.

Please let me know what you think of these exercises.

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