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How to do a killer workout using stairs?

by Shilpi Singh
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For those who don’t want or like equipment workout or gyming, doing the same old plain exercises daily at home can get a little dull. The good news is that using just own body weight on a set of stairs can spice up a workout routine. Most fitness freaks who could not play sports or go to gym during COVID-19 pandemic found flight of stairs in their home, apartment building, or a non-public place as a safe, wonderful tool for whole body workout.

So, whether you are a cyclist, a runner, or seeking some new workouts, continue reading to know how to use stairs for a killer workout, why you must give it a try, and what cautions you must take while doing stairs workouts. [1, 2, 3]

Different Moves to Try for Feel, Fool Proof Stairs Workout

One can include these moves in their stairs workout by doing them for 30 seconds each in 3 sets:

  1. Every-others: Starting from the bottom step up two stairs at a time. This way the body moves upward and forward deeper and higher which strengthens the core.
  2. Push-ups: Push-up is the best exercise for full body workout but requires upper body strength. A staircase can be an effective prop to assist push-ups.
  3. Bulgarian Split Squat: This can be done to challenge glutes and quads as well as stability and balance. As this move focuses on one leg at a time, it helps uncovers muscle imbalances. It does need good mobility of the hip muscles.
  4. Side Squat: A set of stairs can be used to improve mobility by moving in the frontal plane or side by side in a squat position.
  5. Step-up: By stepping up the right leg first followed by the other on the staircase repeatedly, the glutes and quads are targeted. This way, one can get help for daily tasks and a well-rounded booty.
  6. Mountain Climbers: This is a great move for a cardio workout on a staircase using own body weight.
  7. Crab Walk: This move is fun! Here, the person moves and climbs up the stairs in a reverse position on all fours-meaning both hands and legs. This move does need some coordination to avoid tripping up the stairs. The butt must be kept off the steps throughout the movement and the core must be kept engaged. However, it doesn’t even feel like a workout and is like a playful move. [2]

Benefits of Doing a Stair Workout

The sweaty stairs workout can be a great approach to provide an individual following benefits:

  1. A Good Dose of Cardio– People who run or walk up a flight of stairs place more load on their lower body muscles, namely glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings. As they ascend the staircase, their muscles work harder to resist gravity that tries to pull them back down. It’s just the same intense feeling of heart racing after running, hiking, or biking up on a hilly road. Thus, with stairs workouts, people can increase their heart rate and cardiac stroke volume which can raise cardiac output and help them achieve cardiovascular benefits.
  2. Better Balance and Coordination– Walking or running up and down the stairs can even challenge the muscles of the lower half of the body to keep the whole body upright and work against resistance. To challenge coordination, one can go climbing stairs sideways in grapevine style. This involves facing the railing, holding onto it for balance, and then crossing one leg in front of another and then behind repeatedly. Furthermore, people get trained for serious balance and don’t feel zoned out during their stairs workout. This is because their base of support for the body is changing and shifting as they are moving which drifts all their focus on keeping their balance on point.
  3. Total-Body Strengthening– Just like heart health improves by stairs workout, the increased challenge on the muscles of the front and back thighs, butt, calves, and abdomen or core result in their strengthening. These workouts are versatile. Depending upon how fast and what intensity the stairs are climbed, the body strength can be emphasized.
  4. Explosive Power– Stairs can even be used best to train explosive power. Squat jumps can be done up the stairs which are similar to performing a box jump from one step to another in this regard. While doing squat jumps on stairs, the person must ensure that the steps they are using are wide enough and landing can be done easily with both feet firmly planted.
  5. All That Is Required Is the Body Weight– This workout does not need any equipment or ask the person to go to the gym. Furthermore, the person does not even need to wear workout clothes. [1, 3]

Tips and Cautions to Take for A Killer Workout Using Stairs

  • For carrying out one-sided exercises, take hold of the railing of the stairs for extra support and balance.
  • While stepping up and down the stairs, watch out for foot placement. The whole foot must be flat and placed on the step- without the heels of shoes hanging off the back edges. However, there is an exception if performing calf raises.
  • To reduce the chances of losing balance and falling over the steps, it’s important to move slowly, efficiently, and safely.
  • If the stairs workout is getting intense move it to the flat ground or just end the workout for that day.
  • Stay mentally engaged while doing stairs workouts otherwise, there is the likeliness of tripping while going up or down the stairs.
  • If anytime the stair workout results in acute, sharp pain, it’s an indication that something isn’t right. Don’t push through the pain and stop immediately after tweaking of body form or regressing the move is also not helping out.
  • Check out with a physical therapist or a doctor if having a history of knee injury or pain before doing a stair workout. If having compromised balance, skip this kind of workout altogether. [1, 3]


  1. https://blogs.webmd.com/food-fitness/20200820/how-to-get-a-killer-workout-using-stairs#:~:text=Warm%20up%205%2D7%20minutes,knee%20to%20protect%20your%20knee
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/staircase-workout-free
  3. https://www.self.com/story/stair-workout

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