Think Outside The Box: Stadium Workouts

First off, I just want to say that I think it’s a little ridiculous how little I’ve been posting lately. I’m not going to make any excuses except to say that I’ve just been enjoying my summer, and blogging regularly has been very low on my priority list! I figured that when I had this time away from work I would have more time to blog, but it just didn’t turn out that way. Maybe it’s because my life is less structured during the summer, which makes me much less disciplined to sit down and write, or maybe it’s just that summer time gives me too many awesome distractions (beach days! lake days! camping! getting engaged to my love!) to waste time sitting in front of my Macbook.

Either way, it turns out I’m not very good at blogging during the summer. So sue me.

Anyway, today’s post comes to you from a recent google search that led someone to my blog. I can see google search terms and links that lead you all here, and from time to time those google searches either make me giggle (people find me through searching “fat ass” quite often…) or give me ideas for a new blog post. Today is the latter, and comes from a search of “what exercises can you do at a stadium”. I talk a lot on here about stadium runs, and really it’s the only form of cardio I do besides kettlebell swings and the (very) occasional straight sprints/hill sprints.

Basically, stadium runs are the bees knees.

But when you go to the stadium, you don’t have to just run up and down the steps. There are lots of other things you can do to get in a varied and well rounded work out! This is especially true if you have access to the field that goes along with the stadium, but even if all you have are stairs, there are lots of options to keep you busy all summer (and throughout the winter if you can brave the cold and snow!)

Granted, when I head to the stadium, I’m usually going to run the steps, because it provides me with incredible conditioning and because I get plenty of strength work elsewhere. But like everything else this summer, my schedule is all over the place, so some weeks the stadium is where the majority of my work out time takes place. Running over and over again would get boring, so below are some of the other things that I have thrown into the mix to change things up a bit from time to time.


  • Push Ups – Push ups are probably the easiest way to vary your stadium run routine. Set a plan and a number – and go. Sometimes if I’m feeling a little slow or not up to a continuous run, I’ll throw in 10 push ups after every 5 stadium columns (five times up and down the steps, followed by 10 push ups, and so on). It’s a great way to add in some upper body strength work, as well as giving your legs a little bit of a break every few minutes.
  • Sprints – Instead of doing a continuous up-down-up-down stadium run like I usually do, sometimes I’ll go there and do a much lower number of sprints. These will be all-out sprints to the top, as fast as my legs can propel me, with plenty of recovery time in between to allow for maximal output during each sprint. When I do these, I’ll do something like 10 sprints instead of 20-25 total sections, or I’ll do a lower amount of sections (12-15) at my regular speed, with a handful of sprints at the end. Remember to give yourself plenty of recovery time between each one – about 2-3 minutes should be good. This is much less of an endurance workout and much more of a strength/power workout, especially if the stadium you run in has giant steps like Harvard Stadium does.
  • Side stepping – Running steps doesn’t have to be all forward motion. You can get a great workout in by alternating forward running up the stairs with sideways stepping. For instance, run up and down 3 sections, followed by side stepping (leading with your right foot) all the way up one section, and finishing by leading with your left foot. This will give your glutes and hip musculature a much different workout than the forward run, and is a great way to break up the monotony!
  • “Box” jumps – Instead of running up one foot at a time, why not use the stairs to do some double leg plyo work? Jump with both feet in the same style of a box jump. Take one or two stairs at a time, depending on the stadium or set of stairs you’re working at. But remember to do these safely! I never do double leg jumps once my legs are already too fatigued — the last thing I need is a tumble down concrete steps due to wobbly legs on my landing. **I only recommend doing these forward however. I recently watched two guys at the stadium doing backwards double leg jumps up the steps. To me, it looked like a recipe for disaster, not to mention an inevitable face plant down the steps if the jump is not landed absolutely correctly.
  • “Boot camp” moves – You know all the things you dread doing in boot camp? Burpees, planks, etc. Try adding some of these in, but you’ll usually want to shorten the training session if  you do so. Try adding in 5 burpees for every stadium section you run. You’ll be toast before you even know what hit you, but effective cardio sessions do not have to be long cardio sessions!


Of course there are a million other things you can do to spice up your stadium run, but these are just some of my favorites. And as I’ve said before, access to a stadium is not necessary as I know not everyone is lucky enough to have access to a place like Harvard Stadium where you can work out pretty much whenever you want.  All you need is a tall set of stairs, and you’re good to go! And don’t worry if you’re running on public stairs and you get some funny looks – those people are just wondering how they can be as awesome as you are. 😉

How do you change up your cardio workouts? Do you enjoy running hill sprints and stairs or flat terrain more?

Happy Summering!

3 thoughts on “Think Outside The Box: Stadium Workouts

  1. I am a HUGE CREATURE OF HABIT and do the same cardio every day! I KNOW I KNOW BAD BAD BAD! But I use it more of a way to WAKE UP in the morning, more than anything else. And it WORKS like a charm! 😀

  2. I hear you on the posts, when my vaca gets busy the last thing I want to do is be in front of a machine.

    For the runs – I like the idea of being outside, adding in the push-ups and lunges is a great idea, right now I’m in SF so hills are surely around me. I should probably be running right now instead of reading this 😉

  3. Stadium running seems a huge thing in the USA. Are your stadiums just always open to the public? It’s not something I hear about in the UK.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close