Burn Fat The Old-School Way With Sprints and Stairs
Want to take your lower-body workout to the great outdoors? Bodybuilding.com athlete Samantha Leete hits the track to show you how!
Most of my workouts take place in the gym, but sometimes I need a change of scenery. I'm a former track and field athlete, so my first impulse is often to grab my sneakers and find an outdoor track.
Whenever I'm asked what I do to work my lower body, I recommend workouts like my Sprints and Plyos Track Workout. It's a four-part routine that incorporates a full warm-up, plyometrics for speed and explosiveness, sprints for cardio, and stair work for lower-body strength. This workout allows me to burn a ton of calories while building speed, strength, and conditioning.
Sprints And Plyos Track Workout Samantha Ann Leete
Watch the video - 7:52
Whether you're fighting the winter doldrums or looking for an excuse to enjoy the summer sun, taking your routine outdoors into the fresh air can do wonders for your mood. Not to mention, it nearly always smells better than the gym!
Samantha Leete's Sprint and Plyos Track Workout
If you're new to this style of training, don't feel like you have to push yourself to the absolute limit. Scale it back and focus on getting better each time you perform the routine. You can swap it out for your regular leg day, or you can add it to your regular routine as cardio.
Plyometrics: 3 sets
Sprint 50 meters, 100% speed
Sprint 50 meters, 50% speed
Sprint 50 meters, 100% speed
Sprint 100 meters, 100% speed
Stairs: 2 rounds
Phase 1 Warm-up
Start by running around the track twice at a moderate pace, just to get your blood pounding and your body primed for the active stretches. Each stretch will cover a distance of about 25 meters (approximately 80 feet).
The first active stretch—the butt-kick run—is exactly what it sounds like. At a light, low-impact jog, bring your free foot up behind you to kick yourself in the butt on each step. Don't worry about speed here; just focus on getting a good stretch in your quads. Perform this stretch for 25 meters.
Go right into 25 meters of knee hugs. Bring one knee up high, leg bent, and briefly "hug" the knee to your chest. Continue down the track, alternating legs. Again, take your time on these; the point is to stretch out your hips and glutes.
Turn around, and begin your inchworms without resting. To perform an inchworm, begin in a standing position, with your feet a few inches apart. Bend forward, keeping your knees straight (if possible), and lay both hands on the ground about a foot in front of your toes. Next, keeping your feet in place, begin "walking" your hands forward until you're extended in a plank position. Then walk your feet up to your hands. Take a moment to pause here in the doubled-over position, hugging your legs and stretching your hamstrings.
Finally, finish off your warm-up by doing walking lunges with a twist. Perform a deep lunge, bringing your back knee all the way to the ground, and twist your torso toward your front leg. You should feel the stretch in your core with each twist.
Phase 2 Plyometrics
Plyometrics are great for lower-body development, agility, and speed. When performing these exercises, remember to move your muscles in a rapid, explosive manner, taking the target muscle from a fully contracted to a fully extended position when possible.
These high jumps are similar to skipping, but more powerful. Jump off on your right leg, using it to drive your left knee and hand up. Work on jumping as high as possible, rather than simply moving forward. Repeat with alternating legs for 25 meters.
Next, turn around and go right into your long jumps. Unlike high jumps, these should cover as much ground as possible with each leap, staying low. Begin in a half-squat position with your arms extended behind you. Leap forward explosively, bringing your arms forward to provide momentum. Don't let your butt sink below your knees; it's not necessary to go that low. As you land, try to roll through your heels to your toes. Perform these for 25 meters.
Finish off your plyo circuit with 20 tuck jumps. With your feet close together, leap as high as possible into the air, bringing your knees up as you rise. Try to touch your knees with your hands in front of your chest to ensure you're bringing your legs up far enough. Take a short breather, then repeat this circuit two more times.
Phase 3 Sprints
For these sprint intervals, you'll alternate between running at 50 percent of your maximum speed, running as fast as possible, and jogging slowly.
Between sprints, take adequate time to recover, so you can give the next sprint your all. Sprints are a fun way to burn a large number of calories in a short amount of time, and they'll help you build a fantastic booty.
Phase 4 Stairs or Bleachers
If possible, perform this workout at a track or stadium that has at least 30 meters of bleachers, so you can do just two rounds of the circuit. In a pinch, however, any track with a few stairs will work; you'll just need to increase the number of rounds. In the video, I didn't have access to 30 meters of bleachers, so I performed 5 rounds of the circuit.
To perform bench sprints, face the bleachers and place your right foot on the bottom step. Push through your right heel as you climb up on the step. Let your body leap upward, squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement, and switch the position of your feet. Come down with your left foot on the step and your right foot on the ground. Repeat, alternating legs.
Start a stair hop in a squat position. Driving with both legs, jump up to the next step, and end in the squat position again. Think of yourself as a frog climbing the stairs.
Stand with the bleachers to your left to begin the first set of squat-climbs. Lift your left leg up to the next step, then bring up your right foot to join it. You should be facing sideways for the entire set, and even though one leg is higher than the other, maintain your balance in the center rather than leaning to one side or the other.
Try to keep your weight in your heels to really target your glutes and hamstrings. After 10 sets of these, perform another set of bench sprints, then do 10 more squat climbs to the right.