If you’ve ever ditched the elevator or escalator in exchange for walking up the stairs, then you likely know that healthy benefits come from moving yourself to new heights. Stair climbing exercise is a great way to burn fat, build muscle, and strengthen both your heart and lungs. When the midday slump comes, climbing up the stairs for a few minutes can also help give you a boost from the endorphins released with exercise.
But there are more fitness opportunities to stairs than just walking up and down them. Whether it’s at home, at work, or in a public setting near you, try these step-based exercises to take your exercise to the next level.
6 Stair Climbing Exercise Examples
Push ups: If you thought the stairs were just for the lower body, you thought wrong. Push ups are great to do on staircases, whether you’re just starting out or are an old pro. For beginners, keep your feet on the floor and choose a higher step to place your hands on, about shoulder-width apart. Hold your body in an angled plank, and lower your chest to the stair before returning to the starting position. As this becomes easier, choose lower steps for your hands, moving your feet out so that your body is in a straight line.
Looking for a real challenge? Turn it around. Place your feet on a higher stair and your hands on the ground. Lower your chest to the ground and push back up to the starting position.
Lunges: Place one foot on the first or second stair and step your opposite foot back so that you are in a lunge position with your foot on the floor. Make sure that the knee is in line with the foot on the stair, and not in front of your toes. Find your balance, then push into the stair and raise the knee of the extended leg so that it looks as though you are going to walk up the next step. Return to the starting position. If this is too hard, put your hand on the wall or the railing to help balance.
Stair Hops: Jumping is
an excellent way to build strength in your hips, which is a great source of power. Start with your feet hip-width apart and jump up to the first stair, landing on both feet. When steady, jump to the next stair. If you’re just starting, you can jump up and down on just the first stair if you’re worried about falling. If you’re more advanced, jump each stair as fast as you can, or try two stairs at a time. Again, just be careful to maintain your balance. When you reach the top of the stairs, run back down and start again.
Sprint: Who needs a track when you have a staircase? Run up the stairs as fast as you can taking each stair one at a time. When you reach the top, lightly hop down each stair, holding the railing if needed for balance. As soon as you hit the main level, turn around do it again.
Bridges: Get your core in on the staircase climb. Lying flat on the ground at the base of your stairs, place your heels on the first or second stair, so that your knees are bent and are above your hips. Using your core to do the work, lift your hips so that your butt comes off the floor. Hold this bridge posture for a count of five before lowering down to the starting position. If this is too easy, extend one leg straight, leaving only one foot on the stair. Alternate feet between reps.
Side Squats: Standing perpendicular to the stairs, place the foot of the leg closest to the stairs on the first step. Lower your body down as if sitting back into a chair. Keep a slight arch in your lower back and your chest up. Lower to below parallel before standing back to the starting position. For more difficulty, move your foot up a stair and hold the squat for a count of three. When all reps are complete, switch sides.
Sample Stair Climbing Workout
Beginner position: 2 sets of 20
Advanced position: 3 sets of 15
3 sets of 10
3 minutes of as many stair hops as you can.
5 rounds as fast as possible
Beginner: 2 sets of 12, each side
Advanced: 3 sets of 10, each side