Our Koko Adventure Team had another successful workout at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, MA last Saturday. We meet at the historic stadium every 4-6 weeks for a morning stair-climb challenge.
I have a long history of climbing the stairs at Harvard, going back to 1988. Two outings in particular will always be special: The first was when I put my workout date, who later became my wife, on my back and ran with her to the top of the stadium. The second was during a workout with my friend, Michael (who was with us on Saturday). In the middle of our workout we watched as a helicopter landed right next to the stadium. Out walks none other than billionaire Malcolm Forbes. He left his entourage, made his way over to us, introduced himself and asked what we were up to… Seems everybody wants to know about a good stair climb!
Harvard has 37 sections that include 31 steps, each about 18 inches high. The idea is to walk or run to the top of each section, then recover by walking down slowly. If it takes you 20 seconds to get to the top, you should take 40 seconds to walk down. If you are fit enough to complete the entire stadium, your total number of steps completed is 1,147. Depending on your fitness level, it could take 30-60+ minutes.
Committing to a date ahead of time for a stair climb (or any other type of workout) with a friend or a large group not only holds you accountable to show up and accomplish the task at hand, but also gets you outside with great like-minded people.
The beauty of this workout is that it offers something for everyone. If you’re a beginner, you can start by walking, completing fewer sets of stairs, or using the smaller staircases that divide each section. Over time, you can increase the intensity by climbing the bigger stairs or increase volume by doing additional sets of stairs. If you’re more experienced, you can run the stairs and add in some upper-body and core work between sections.
“I love stadium workouts because, to me, the possibilities are endless,” says Paul Romeo, co-owner of Koko FitClubs of Needham and Sudbury, MA . “I can create a sprint workout that’s fast and intense, or take it easy and treat it more like a hike over a longer duration; and I can always work in some strength exercises like push-ups and dips, or plyometrics like step-ups or box jumps to break it up and keep it interesting.”
Christine Johnston, co-owner of Koko FitClubs in Plainville, Mansfield and Walpole, MA, has been increasing her intensity over time. “The first time I went to Harvard Stadium, it was all about seeing whether I could do it. Now I go because I love the challenge, pushing myself to finish 2-4 additional sections each time. This past weekend was my third trip to Harvard Stadium and I completed 28 sections! Just awesome!”
Awesome, indeed. Why not find a stadium near you and give it a try?
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About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.