The Ultimate Lung-Busting Stadium Workout

When it comes to fitness, take the home-field advantage

If you make the stadium your worst nightmare during training, it will be your best friend when competition time rolls around. (Leonardo Patrizi/iStock)
Photo: Leonardo Patrizi/iStock Fitness

When it comes to training, the stadium—no matter the sport, no matter the size—may also be the place to kick your own butt. 

“The one thing that the stadium will do is humble you. You think your legs are strong and you have a strong cardio foundation, and then you get to the middle of that climb, and then you think, ‘Wow,’” says Shannon Colavecchio, the CEO of Badass Fitness in Florida who runs groups through stadium workouts at Florida State University’s 84-step Doak Campbell Stadium

To change up your routine—and work on strength, endurance, and get real close to simulating the ups and downs of outdoor terrain—you can hit any public stadium and do the kind of workout that Colavecchio takes her groups through. (Warning: The following day, you’ll want to leave extra time to get up from your chair, couch, or toilet.)

Warm up: Jog around concourse or track for 5 to 10 minutes.

Pre-stairs drills: Bodyweight squats for 30 seconds (rest for 30 seconds); burpees for 30 seconds (rest for 30 seconds). Go three times through that cycle.

Interlude: If with a group, play 5-minute game of tag. Rest for 3-5 minutes.

Stairs (big stadium): Time yourself going up and down one time. Repeat two more times, trying to beat your time each set. Go down stairs slightly sideways to alleviate pressure on your shins, Colavecchio says. If you’re in a smaller stadium like a high school one, consider making each set two or three times up and down for each interval; just pick a number that gets you up and down in 2 to 3 minutes.

Strength: Do the following 5 exercises (2 sets of 12 reps each): 

  • Pushups (decline; feet on higher bleacher than hands)
  • Plyo jump (two-legged)
  • Triceps dips (hands on seat; legs stretched in front)
  • Sideways two-footed jumps (6 in one direction, 6 in the other)
  • Frog pushups (knees tucked toward chest so it’s more of a shoulder move than a chest move)

Ramps: Finish with 5 sprints up the ramps with 20 pushups at the top. Adjust number of sprints based on size; Colavecchio’s class does a ramp that’s lung-crushing five levels high.

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