Try This Free, Foolproof Stairs Workout
“If you are a no-equipment-workout kind of guy or gal, you know that after a while, plain ol’ bodyweight moves can get a little dull.”
Ready to make it better? There is a set of stairs.
This stair workout is perfect for people who live near stairs in their home or for people who live in a park.
We have outlined eight things you can do using stairs and a 30-minute routine using just the stairs and your body weight. Are you ready to take on more responsibility?
Tip: Wear sneakers with a good traction and grip, especially if you’re using wood or marble stairs, to avoid slipping or falling.
- Warmup (3 minutes). Walk the stairs, taking them one at a time. Climb at a leisurely pace. “Walking” stairs is a great warmup for a stair workout, as you’ll be waking up all of those leg muscles — like your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves — as well as your hips and core.
- Run stairs for 1 minute. Pick up the pace here, running up the stairs, to continue loosening up your legs and getting your heart pumping.
- Strength and cardio. Complete three 30-second sets of each of the moves listed below with 30 seconds to 1 minute of rest in between. Complete as many reps as you can in those 30 seconds.
Taking the stairs two at a time requires a higher and deeper step up than one at a time. Your core will be working to help you as well because you are still moving forward and upward.
- Start at the bottom of the stairs and walk up two steps with your right foot.
- Immediately step up two more steps, leading with your left foot.
- For 30 seconds, repeat this sequence. Go as fast as you can.
- Return to the bottom of the stairs.
Pushups are a full-body exercise that requires a lot of strength. The stairs provide a good prop.
- Assume the pushup position when you face the stairs.
- If the stairs are steep and you can do it, place your hands slightly wider than shoulder- width apart on the first, second, or third step. The pushup will be easier if you have higher hands.
- Slowly lower your body, allowing your elbow to bend to a 45 degree angle.
- Aim to touch your chest to the step, then extend your arms back to the starting position.
- Start with 3 sets of 10 reps.
3. Bulgarian split squat
Challenge your balance and stability with the help of split squats. This exercise will uncover muscle imbalances by targeting one leg at a time.
It requires mobility in your hips. The more you do this exercise the closer you are to the stairs.
- Start at the bottom of the stairs, facing away from the bottom stair.
- Lift your left foot onto the second or third stair, it is at knee height.
- “Take a rest on the stair and then do a lunge. Lower your right leg to keep your torso straight. Ensure that your knee doesn’t fall over your toe.”
- You should extend your right leg.
- After 10 reps, switch legs.
- For each leg, repeat for 3 sets.
There are steps on the stairs. This exercise will help you with daily tasks by targeting your quads and glutes.
- Start by your right leg. The third step is knee height. Push through your foot and you will be able to see your right foot.
- If you are up for a challenge, lift the left leg behind you and squeeze the glute when you meet your right. Make sure you keep your hips square to the stairs to get the most out of this hip extension.
- If your left leg is not broken, repeat. If you can, you can lead with your left leg and add that kickback.
- 3 sets of 15 reps.
5. Side squat
If you want to move in the frontal plane, you should take advantage of the set of stairs in front of you and take your squats to the side.
- Turn so the stairs are facing the right side of your body.
- Keeping your body and foot in a sideways position, step up your right foot to the most comfortable step.
- Stand up, put your weight into your left leg, then squat down.
- You should do 10 reps on this side, then switch to the other side so your left foot is on the step.
- 3 sets per side is what you should do.
6. Mountain climbers
Get your heart pumping with mountain climbers. This is a great way to get a burst of exercise.
- If you face the stairs, place your hands on the second or third step, whichever feels more comfortable, to assume a high plank position.
- For 30 seconds, alternate driving each knee upward. Keep your torso and neck neutral.
- You should go as fast as you can.
- Rest for 30 seconds and then do 2 more sets.
7. Crab walk
“Have fun with this one! You will need to be in a reverse position on the stairs, but you won’t feel like you’re working out with it.”
- On the first step, reverse the position you had in the previous one.
- Begin by walking up the steps one at a time, then follow with your hands, moving your body upward.
- Your butt should be off the steps throughout the movement.
- Crab-walk up for 30 seconds, then slowly and safely descend to your starting point.
- Rest and repeat for 2 more sets.
“You don’t need a lot of equipment to complete this workout. Try to increase the reps you do during the 30-second sets when you execute this routine. You will know you are progressing and constantly challenging yourself. Keep climbing!”
Nicole Davis is a Boston-based writer, ACE-certified personal trainer, and health enthusiast who works to help women live stronger, healthier, happier lives. Her philosophy is to embrace your curves and create your fit — whatever that may be! She was featured in Oxygen magazine’s “Future of Fitness” in the June 2016 issue. Follow her on Instagram.