Monday, September 7, 2015

A Red Rocks Workout for Beginners

If you know anything about Denver, you probably know that it is home to Red Rocks Amphitheater, the beautiful, mostly-natural, music venue that has hosted the best musicians to tour the United States for decades. It's a stunning venue with views that reach to downtown Denver and far out into the eastern plains of Colorado. I've seen a lot of shows in my life, and if you're a live music fan, a show at Red Rocks should be on your bucket list. 

What you might not know is that during the day, the amphitheater and the park that it sits in, attracts hundreds of people looking to get in a good workout. Aside from the amphitheater, the park boasts two trails - the Trading Post hiking trail is a 1.4mile loop showcases an up close and personal view of the red rock formations while the multi-use Red Rocks Trail which connects into Matthews-Winters Park and the Dakota Ridge Trail. 

While trails are great, the big draw here is the unique access to the amphitheater. Every summer there are a number of large organized fitness activities, such as Yoga on the Rocks, and several bootcamp classes meet regularly for instructor-led torture fun, but anyone can just show up any morning and put together their own workout. 

There are countless exercises you can do here, but I thought I'd share with you the workout we did that got our hearts racing and lungs burning. Your quads will not be happy the next day, so don't plan on a long run or speed work the day after. Also, since the park sits at 6,400 feet elevation so if you're visiting, try to give yourself a day or two to acclimate to Denver's elevation (5,280) and don't give yourself a hard time when you start breathing heavy just walking up the steps from the parking lot! It's normal!

Run the Stairs Start near the top and run across a row, down the steps along the outside, across one of the front rows, and back up the other side. According to my Garmin, one lap = approximately .2 miles. I recommend at least two laps, but go for as many as you can handle!
Red Rocks Running

Red Rocks Running - Stairs

Red Rocks Running - Stairs

Tricep Dips
Red Rocks Workout - Tricep Dips

Planks & Push-Ups
Red Rocks Workout - Plank

Jump Rope
Red Rocks Workout - Jump Rope

Red Rocks Workout - Crunches

Step Ups
Red Rocks Workout - Step Up

Red Rocks Workout - Step Up

And after all this, be sure to take time to stretch because your muscles will need it!
Red Rocks Workout - Stretching

Red Rocks Workout - Stretching

Red Rocks Workout - Stretching

While this wasn't our typical workout and I didn't get in as many miles as I usually would on a Sunday morning, it was a tough workout and great to mix things up a bit.

A few tips if you do venture to Red Rocks to break a sweat:

  • Go early - it gets busy and hot
  • Wear sunblock (there's very little shade and the sun is potent)
  • Take lots of water
  • Everyone else is working hard too, so be mindful of others - don't block the row when others are coming through if you can at all help it, if you need music bring headphones, don't bring so much gear with you that you limit access, and watch out and move aside for people running the stairs
  • Don't limit yourself to just the amphitheater, take advantage of the trails and the steep inclines throughout the park for hill workouts
  • The visitors center has nice, large restrooms and there's also an onsite restaurant 
  • Watch out for tourists taking pictures and oogling over the view - they might not see you coming down
  • Rock climbing is not allowed in the park, be kind to our national landmark and don't leave a trace
Matt and Lisa at Red Rocks

Sweaty but smiling!

Do you make more time for workouts on holiday weekends? * Now that summer is "unofficially" over, what are you looking forward to most this fall?

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