Infamous “Santa Monica Stairs” – Conditioning Program

In General by Adam Friedman

Hi, Adam here and I want to share a sample workout for one of my favorite outdoor activities, the Santa Monica Stairs.

If you’re looking to take your conditioning to the next level, doing the stairs is a great way to challenge yourself consistently. On any given day, you can see professional and recreational athletes, celebrities, and local fitness enthusiasts all huffing and puffing together to get into better shape.

To find the stairs, take 4th Street going north from anywhere in Santa Monica until it dead ends. There is a set of cement stairs that are immediately to the right that many people choose to do. However, I suggest walking east, around 100 yards or so, to the next set of stairs, which are made of wood, and also a couple of feet wider. The wood is a better surface because it is more forgiving on the body, and the width makes going up and down a lot safer.

Monitor Your Heart Rate to Measure Intensity Levels During Stair Training

Download the Workout

{Stair workouts can be done anywhere there is a flight of stairs of at least 15 steps. This can be your home, office building, local park, etc.}

The Importance of Progression When Doing a Santa Monica Stairs Workout

If you don’t follow a progressive program, you could end up with severe muscle soreness, and potential joint pain.

On the other hand, following a progression will allow your body to build the strength and stamina to withstand the impact stairs have on the body. This will allow you to have a much better experience to facilitate consistency, and get greater results.

Beginner – Intermediate Level
If you are not yet accustomed to doing a stair workout or walking stairs period, it is best to begin with doing only 3-5 flights total. (The average flight of steps is 15 steps.) Over a period of weeks and months focus on just increasing the number of stairs within a specific period 30 – 45 minutes. The performance goals for you are to:
• Have little or no rest in between sets of stairs
• Increase the number of sets over the course of days, weeks, and months.
• Feel better overall

Intermediate to Advanced Level
Incorporate timed intervals and recovery periods to mark specific improvement. Increasing the number of sets will also create improvement overall. The performance goals for you are to
• Increase speed and decrease time
• Improve the working heart rate
• Improve the recovery heart rate

Mental Focus On Details Establishes Efficiency and Injury Prevention

• Focus on breathing to support the exertion on the way up, and the recovery on the way down.
• Focus on moving through your center (hips & abdomen) to drive you forward and up the stairs.
• Focus on driving through the entire foot as you step up to engage the upper thighs and glutes. (The more muscle involved the more calories burned.) This does not apply when you are jogging or sprinting up the stairs.
• It is just as important to pay attention to how well you control your movement going down as it does going up. Stay light going down instead of coming down hard on each step. Utilize your muscles to soften the impact on your joints and bones. YOUR BODY WILL THANK YOU!
• Record progress each workout to keep you motivated. You can detail as much as you want from number of sets, stairs, duration, heart rates (average, maximum, and recovery), and how you felt (before, during, and after) doing them.

Stair Facts:
• The average flight of stairs is 15 steps.
• The Empire State Building has 102 floors and 1860 steps.
• The Washington Monument has 897 steps.
• The Eiffel Tower has 1652 steps to the very top, and 704 allowed by visitors.

A stair workout is considered safe; however it is recommended that a partner or trainer is present in case of accidental injury. Seek approval from a doctor before performing the exercise if you are experiencing or have in the past experienced a heart condition, high blood pressure, bone or joint problem, diabetes, experienced chest pain (while sedentary or during exercise), lose your balance because of dizziness, loss of consciousness, or any other reason why you should not do physical activity.

I would love to get you set up properly with a personalized progression for your cardio program. Call, or email so we can get you on the fast track to reaching your goals. You can schedule a free fitness or nutrition assessment.

Or you can call me directly at 1 310 396 2100 and I’ll talk with you about a personalized plan to fit your specific needs and goals.

Thanks for reading, and I will talk to you again soon.