My Favorite Workout to Do at Philly’s Art Museum Steps

Because you can do better than trudging up and down.

Full disclosure: It took me a while to work up the nerve to actually do this workout, even though I’ve been envisioning it for months. Why? Because this workout requires that you endure puzzled stares from tourists and passersby while you do pushups and box jumps right there in front of the Art Museum. But trust me—it’s totally worth the momentary embarrassment.

I’ve done this workout three times in the past two weeks (including earlier today), and I’m already plotting when I’ll be able to work it into my routine later this week. What I like most about it is that it packs a lot of hard work into a 30(ish)-minute time frame, with little to no rest. I also like that it doesn’t require you to just go up and down (and up and down, and up and down) the steps the entire time. How boring. We can do better.

And so, Be Wellers, I give you my favorite workout to do at the Art Museum. Truth be told, any set of steps will do just fine. The Internet tells me there are 72 steps in front of the Art Museum, so if you don’t do this workout there, just make sure you have enough steps to work with to get the full benefit.

Ready? Awesome. Let’s go.

Workout: Art Museum Circuit

*Circuit: Do the cardio work followed by the strength work, and repeat until you have run up and down the steps 10 times. With a light jog to and from my house (I live in Fairmount), this workout takes me about 30 minutes to complete.

Cardio: Run the steps two times (count up and down as one rep)

1. Run up the steps, hitting every other step. Go for speed here. Practice hitting the ball of your foot on the step and springing up. Jog back down hitting every step.

2. On your second time up, hit every step. Go for precision here. No skipping. Jog back down hitting every step.

Strength: Complete 15 reps of each exercise below

1. Box jumps: Using the ledge of one of the fountains at the bottom (there are two—one to the left and one to the right), jump up with both feet, swinging your arms to propel you up. Step down one foot at a time and repeat. To modify the exercise, do step-ups with a knee drive. So step up with your left foot and, as you come to a standing position, drive the right knee into the chest. Step down and repeat, alternating sides.

2. Bench dips: Sitting on the fountain ledge, put your hands on the edge of the ledge with your fingers facing forward. Scoot your butt off and straighten your legs. Bend your arms and drop your butt toward the ground, stopping when your arms are at 90 degrees. Push up until your arms are straight, and repeat.

3. Incline push-ups: Perform push-ups with your hands on the fountain ledge and toes on the ground.

4. Incline pull-ups: Using one of the inverted-U-shaped bike racks (there are a bunch off to the left if you’re facing the steps), perform a set of incline pull-ups. Position your body underneath the bar, with legs straight, hands gripping the top bar (I use an overhand grip), and arms straight so your elbows are almost locked. Pull your body up toward the bar and use control as you lower back down. Repeat. (Here’s a visual to help.)

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