My As-Seen-On-TV Stair Workout

I’ve been hitting the stairs hard. I have two big stair climb races coming up, and I want to be ready! Read about those races here, and support me by making a donation here or here (if I don’t make my fundraising minimums, I won’t be able to compete, and you don’t want to see me cry. I’m an ugly crier!).

Last month, I completed an awesome stair workout on stairways seen in classic Hollywood comedies. On Friday, I did another fantastic stair workout, this time on stairs that were just featured on TV! Have you seen the new NBC comedy “Welcome to the Family”? It premiered a few weeks ago, and on the October 10th episode, one of the stars, Mike O’Malley (who also plays Kurt’s father on “Glee”), was shown running up a big public stairway:


I’ve been TiVoing “Welcome to the Family” but I read about this stairway scene on Facebook before I had a chance to watch it myself. My stair racing friend Lisa posted about it, and she and Madeleine, another stair racing friend, determined that it was either the Swan or Redcliff-Cicero Stairway, both in the same part of Silver Lake, about 15-20 minutes from my house.

On Thursday night, I started planning my workout. I compared satellite pictures and maps to what was shown on “Welcome to the Family,” but it didn’t quite line up. An hour later, I figured it out: Lisa and Madeleine were mistaken, and it was actually the Landa-Redesdale Stairway that was featured on the show. The next afternoon, I was climbing those stairs myself! My friend Tavi came along for the workout, and he also served as official photographer:


Here’s another shot of Mike O’Malley on the stairs from “Welcome to the Family”:


And me in the exact same spot:


“Welcome to the Family,” by the way, is about two families dealing with an unplanned teenage pregnancy. Mike O’Malley plays the pregnant girl’s father, who doesn’t get along with Ricardo Chavira (Carlos from “Desperate Housewives”), father of the pregnant girl’s boyfriend/baby daddy. The stairway scene is short, and it ends with Mike and Ricardo’s characters simultaneously punching each other in the nuts. You can watch the episode on Hulu by clicking here (the stairs scene starts about 3 minutes from the end).

LATE-BREAKING NEWS: Due to low ratings, NBC cancelled “Welcome to the Family” after three episodes. The cancellation happened on the very same day we were running these steps.

The stairway they chose for filming purposes is fantastic. It has 84 steps, and boasts a great view of the Silver Lake reservoir from the top:


I had plotted a route that would take Tavi and I up and down 4 local public stairways, and brought along a map I drew that I shoved in my pocket.


Our workout began by running up the Landa-Redesdale Stairway. Then we ran a few blocks to the Swan Stairway, which is a monster. It has a total of 287 steps divided between flights that span three blocks. They’re up the side of a steep hill – so steep that two of the flights don’t even have landings to pause on. This section of of the Swan Stairway has 97 uninterrupted steps – it’s the longest uninterrupted stairway I’ve ever seen:


(That’s me at the top, by the way!)

Another section of the Swan has 70-something uninterrupted steps, and I felt every single one of them because at one point I tripped and fell down them all. Oof.


OK, I’m joking – I didn’t really fall. But that was a fun photo to stage!

One we got to the top of the Swan Stairway, Tavi and I continued running. A few blocks away is the Redcliff-Cicero Stairway (90 steps), which we ran down and back up. Then, we ran to the Effie Steps (82 steps), which we also ran down and back up. From there we headed back to the Swan Stairway, where we ran down two of the three flights, and then back to our starting point, running up the Landa-Redesdale stairs one final time.

All together, that run took about 25 minutes. We took a breather, and snapped some of the above pictures. Then we relocated to the base of the Swan Stairway for Part 2 of the workout. Remember how the Swan Stairway is divided into three flights? Tavi and I decided to run up the first flight, then back down, then up two flights, then back down, then up all three flights, then back down, and then up all three flights again, stopping at the top. That took 16 minutes, and it was downright exhausting. We caught our breath at the top afterward, and then took more photos. On the way back to the car, I tried sliding down the handrail (but didn’t make it very far):


Final Stats! Part One of the workout was a 1.6 mile run, and when you combine Part One and Part Two, Tavi and I climbed a total of 1,465 steps and descended a total of 910.


PS: Anyone know of any other Los Angeles public stairways that have been featured on TV or in movies?

10 Responses to My As-Seen-On-TV Stair Workout

  1. says:

    Wish I did that with you! Looks fun!!

  2. Holy cow—that’s amazing!!!

  3. Catherine says:

    Do you think you could map that out on something we can download or print out? Plus your other one?

  4. Catherine says:

    Ok I thought of something else. You should plan this stair run again and invite readers to join you. I would. I’m down in Orange County and could come up some Saturday or Sunday morning. That would be super fun.

    • David says:

      Thanks for the ideas, Catherine! I should figure out how to share my stair running routes – maybe through Google Maps? And inviting readers to join is another good idea. Hey – scroll down and read Nurse Karen’s comment – have you been to the Thousand Steps Beach in Laguna?

      • Catherine says:

        I have been down to Laguna. The steps aren’t very user friendly, but its different. Looking forward to a group stair workout hopefully in the near future 🙂

  5. Madeleine Fontillas Ronk says:

    Beast mode!! Looking forward to stairing with you David!!

  6. Nurse Karen says:

    Sometimes “NCIS: Los Angeles” films at Seal Beach or Laguna; you might ask our old exercise Slimmons former classmate, Barrett Foa, about whether or not they shot some scenes at this set of steps at Laguna: it is called One Thousand Steps Beach. They are steep and slippery; definitely a killer work-out! My son the surfer told me about them:

    • David says:

      Thanks for the tip, Karen! If access if only available via a steep, slippery staircase, I’m going to guess that a film crew isn’t going to bother lugging tons of equipment down there. But sounds like a fun (and beautiful) destination for a stair workout regardless! Fun Fact #1) According to the interwebs, the staircase only has about 230 steps, so while the name is an exaggeration, it’s still a formidable stairway! Fun Fact #2) I went to college with Barrett Foa. He was in a production of “West Side Story” (he played Action) and I was an assistant stage manager. It’s so fun seeing Michigan grads on TV! GO BLUE!

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