Bleacher Workouts: Try These 9 Awesome Stadium Stairs Workouts

Running stairs is a fantastic workout.

Climbing stairs builds muscle, increases leg strength, improves coordination, increases power, and can make you a faster runner. Plus, according to Obesity, stair climbing burns more calories than jogging.

While you can do stair climbing workouts right at home or in your apartment or office building, one of the best ways to run stairs is to head to your local sports stadium and do bleacher workouts.

Bleacher workouts allow you to use your local football or soccer stadium to your advantage, turning the arena into your personal training grounds. You can run stadium stairs while getting fresh air and can use the structure of the stadium and some creativity to keep your bleacher workouts feeling fresh and fun.

In this guide, we will discuss the basics of running stairs and then share some creative stadium stair workouts to give you a few ideas and inspiration for your own awesome bleacher workouts.

We will look at: 

  • What Is a Stadium Stairs Workout?
  • How Many Steps Are In a Stadium?
  • Stadium Stairs Workouts: Try These Awesome Bleacher Workouts

Let’s jump in!

A person doing bleacher workouts.

What Is a Stadium Stairs Workout?

Stadium stairs workouts involve walking or running the steps in a sports stadium, such as a football stadium or soccer stadium. 

Stadium stairs workouts can involve only running or walking the steps and/or seats in the stadium, but they also can incorporate other exercises like plyometrics, core exercises, strengthening exercises, jumping rope, and so on between running up flights of steps or sections of seats in the stadium.

How Many Steps Are In a Stadium?

The exact number of steps in a stadium varies based on the size and construction of the stadium. Some stadiums also have concrete seats, which can be used instead of, or in addition to, the steps. 

For example, your bleacher workouts might involve running up the seats, which are usually the height of two steps and running down the steps.

Harvard Stadium, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is not only the famous football stadium of this esteemed Ivy League University but is also the popular stomping grounds of the local November Project, one of the largest free, community-driven running and fitness clubs with branches all over the country.

A person doing bleacher workouts.

Not only does the November Project often convene at Harvard Stadium and use the facility as a starting point for their runs, but they also run stadium stairs as their workout.

In fact, the tradition of running the full stadium, a practice known as a tour de stade, which is French for “tour of the stadium”, has been practiced on the steps and seats of Harvard Stadium for over fifty years.

Harvard Stadium consists of 37 sections of concrete-block seats, each of which is 31 seats high, bringing the total number of seats in the stadium to 1,147. Each section of concrete seats is separated by regular-sized stairs.

The tour de stade involves running up the 1,147 concrete seats and down all the small steps. The vertical distance for each step is 15 inches or 0.38 meters, so the total vertical distance for running the stadium stairs is 435.85 meters. That’s right: you’ll run more than a quarter-mile straight up.

Other stadiums have different numbers of seats and steps, but you can still do a tour de stade by running the steps in every section of the entire stadium. 

A person doing bleacher workouts.

Stadium Stairs Workouts: Try These Awesome Bleacher Workouts

Here are some fun bleacher workouts to try:

#1: Tour de Stade

Even if you’re on the other side of the world from Harvard Stadium, you can do your own tour de stade by running the full stadium at your local arena. 

  • Walk or run up the seats of the stadium and run down the steps.

If the seats are aluminum or you can’t run on them, just run up and down the steps of every section in the entire stadium.

#2: Half Century Tour

In a half-century tour, you’ll run up and down fifty sections of stadium stairs. You can run up and down the same section 50 times, or go around for 25 sections, and then back for another 25 sections, or just go around for 50 sections of steps, however many full revolutions of your particular stadium that is.

  • Warm-up 5-10 minutes and then run 50 stadium stairs sections.
A set of bleachers.

#3: Century Tour

In a century tour, you’ll run up and down 100 sections of stadium stairs. You can run up and down the same section 100 times, or go around for 50 sections, and then back for another 50 sections, or just go around for 100 sections of steps, however many full revolutions of your particular stadium that is.

  • Warm-up 5-10 minutes and then run 100 stadium stairs sections.

#4: 20-Minute Stadium Stairs Workout

This bleacher workout can be modified to any length of time, of course, but simply run up and down the stairs as many times as you can in your allotted workout times. Keep track of your records and try to set a PR for the number of sections you run each time you try the workout.

#5: Playing With Cadence

If you are only running the stadium steps and not the seats, mix up your workout by running every other flight two steps at a time (skipping a step). 

  • Warm-up for 5-10 minutes jogging around the track or field.
  • Run up the first section taking every single step, and then run down the same way.
  • Run up the second section skipping every other step. Run down taking every step.
  • For the third section, go back to taking every step.

Run the whole stadium in this manner or simply go for however long you desire.

A person doing bleacher workouts.

#6: Stairs Plus Abs

In this workout, you’ll do a plank before running up each section.

  • Warm-up for 5-10 minutes jogging around the track or field.
  • Run up and down the first section. At the bottom, hold a forearm plank for 30-60 seconds depending on your level of fitness.
  • After the second section, do a right-side plank for 30-60 seconds.
  • After running the third section, do a left-side plank for 30-60 seconds.
  • After running the fourth section, do an up-down plank for 30-60 seconds (forearm plank then press up one hand at a time to a high plank, up and down between the two the whole time).
  • Continue this pattern starting back at the forearm plank for the entire stadium or duration of your stadium workout.

#7: Tabata Stadium Stairs Workout

This short stadium workout is great when you have little time but want to get your heart pumping.

  • Warm-up for 5-10 minutes jogging around the track or field.
  • Sprint as hard as you can up the stairs for 20 seconds. Jog slowly down for 10 seconds then turn around and sprint up again for 20 seconds.
  • Repeat 8 rounds. 
A person doing bleacher workouts.

#8: Pyramid Stadium Stairs Workout

This is a good stadium stairs workout for beginners trying to build endurance to run stairs.

  • Warm-up for 5-10 minutes jogging around the track or field.
  • Run up and down the stadium steps or bleachers for 1 minute.
  • Rest for 30 seconds.
  • Run up and down the stadium steps or bleachers for 2 minutes.
  • Rest for 30 seconds.
  • Run up and down the stadium steps or bleachers for 3 minutes.
  • Rest for 30 seconds.
  • Run up and down the stadium steps or bleachers for 4 minutes.
  • Rest for 30 seconds.
  • Run up and down the stadium steps or bleachers for 5 minutes.
  • Rest for 30 seconds.
  • Run up and down the stadium steps or bleachers for 4 minutes.
  • Rest for 30 seconds.
  • Run up and down the stadium steps or bleachers for 3 minutes.
  • Rest for 30 seconds.
  • Run up and down the stadium steps or bleachers for 2 minutes.
  • Rest for 30 seconds.
  • Run up and down the stadium steps or bleachers for 1 minute.

The hard sections total 25 minutes. You can adjust the pyramid based on your fitness level, extending it as your fitness improves. 

A person doing bleacher workouts.

#9: Stadium Strength Workout

This stadium stairs workout gets in your stair climbing and strength training in one.

Warm-up for 5-10 minutes jogging around the track or field and then run up and down the first section of stairs. 

  • At the bottom, do 25-50 bodyweight squats depending on your level of fitness.
  • After the second section, do 25 push-ups.
  • After running the third section, do 20 burpees.
  • After running the fourth section, do triceps dips on the steps.
  • After running the fifth section, do 25 forward lunges per leg.
  • After running the sixth section, do an up-down plank for 30-60 seconds (forearm plank then press up one hand at a time to a high plank, up and down between the two the whole time).
  • After running the eighth section, do 25 reverse lunges per leg.
  • After running the ninth section, do 15 V-ups.
  • After running the tenth section, do 20 step jumps, jumping with both feet up and down the first step like a box jump.
  • Continue this pattern starting back at the squats again for the entire stadium or duration of your stadium workout.

Don’t you just love these bleacher workouts? What’s your favorite stair workout?

Looking to add some strength training into your workouts? Check out our Strength Training For Runner’s Guide for ideas!

A person doing bleacher workouts.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, and contributes to several fitness, health, and running websites and publications. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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