On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m showing you a 20 Minute HIIT stairs workout at the world famous Santa Monica stairs.
But before we hit the Santa Monica stairs for a sprint workout, we first stopped at The Attic in Long Beach to fuel up with a pre-sprint breakfast.
For breakfast I had a black coffee, and some protein and carbohydrates from an egg scramble with salsa, potatoes, and a bowl of fruit.
Then after breakfast, we had a 45 minute drive to the Santa Monica stairs.
Are you ready?
Burn more fat and build more muscle with this outdoor cardio stairs workout.
Here’s how this 20 minute HIIT stairs workout is structured:
This HIIT stairs workout is only 20-25 minutes depending on your fitness level.
Those who are not as fit will require a longer rest period, thus resulting in a longer workout.
HIIT stairs cardio workout.
If you don’t have access to outdoor stairs, try this 20 minute HIIT home stairs workout for fat loss.
Get prepared to feel the lactic acid burn and scare the body fat right off of you.
This HIIT cardio stairs workout is comprised of 10 sets of stair sprints.
Take enough rest to allow your heart rate to drop back down to 60-70% of your maximum heart rate.
Here’s a simple formula to calculate your HIIT heart rate target zones (in beats per minute – BPM):
Based on this, my low intensity interval training heart rate target zone would be calculated as follows:
The Santa Monica stairs are comprised of 170 steps, at an elevation of approximately 109 feet.
Trust me, when you look up from the bottom of the stairs, it’s a very big incline.
Thid stairs workout is no joke, so make sure you drink a lot of water.
I’m sure it would be faster if I came back and did this stairs workout at 2am.
By the way, that’s my disclaimer, in case you beat my time 😂 .
Based on fighting through Sunday morning traffic, it took approximately 51 seconds to sprint to the top of the Santa Monica stairs.
Side note: to follow the proper Santa Monica stairs etiquette, make sure you always stay to the right.
It then took me approximately 53 seconds to walk back down the stairs.
During the HIIT stairs workout I had my heart rate monitor on to check out my heart rate.
Before the workout started and after walking down the stairs, my heart rate was at 82 beats per minute (bpm).
I then measured my heart rate again to see how much it changed after sprinting up the stairs.
After my first high intensity interval sprint up the stairs, my heart rate got up to 161 bpm.
It was pretty intense.
Then I immediately walked back down the stairs to allow my heart rate to come back down again.
That equals 1 interval.
9 more stairs intervals to go.
By the time I walked all the way back down to the bottom of the stairs, my heart rate was still at 140 bpm.
Based on this, my goal was to just relax and allow my heart rate to continue to lower back down into the low intensity training zone.
To do HIIT workouts correctly, you want to make sure the workout stays in the anaerobic zone, rather than being in the aerobic zone for the entire workout.
Training in the anaerobic zone is optimal for building muscle while burning fat.
When you try to be too aggressive with your HIIT workouts, by not giving yourself enough time to rest between intervals, you run the risk of training in the aerobic phase.
This is not what we want when we’re Living Lean.
To ensure you stick to the anaerobic zone, make sure you allow your heart rate to come back down before sprinting back up the stairs.
So before starting your next high intensity interval stairs sprint, it’s important to wait until your heart rate gets down to approximately 60-70% of your maximum heart rate.
For me, that is a heart rate of approximately 108-126 bpm.
After 20 seconds of staying still, I reached a heart rate of 125 bpm.
For high intensity interval set #2, my heart rate elevated to 170 bpm.
It then went up to 172 bpm for high intensity interval set #3.
Eventually my heart rate peaked at 177 bpm by the end of the workout.
Damn that’s good!
As I reached the last few high intensity intervals, I wasn’t able to sprint all the way up to the top, due to the lactic acid build up in my legs
When the feeling of the lactic acid gets too intense, you know the fat burning process is happening.
Based on this, I would sprint as far as I could go, and then walk the rest of the way.
Based on the elevation of the stairs, a lot of people simply walk up and down the Santa Monica stairs, which will still quickly elevate your heart rate.
So make sure you drink a lot of water during this stairs workout because you’ll be sweating a lot, and your muscles will need it.
For bonus points, there is also a make shift “pull up bar” at the bottom of the stairs.
These 10 sets of stair intervals at the beautiful Santa Monica stairs took approximately 20-25 minutes to complete.
That’s all you need to get sweaty and feel the fat burning off.
It’s now time to go fuel up and replenish with lots of water.
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Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.