If you’re interested in spicing up your normal fitness routine, consider using the stairs to work out. Outside of the typical StairMaster that you’ll find at your gym, regular stairs in your home or apartment building can offer a great way to exercise. You can do both cardio and strength training exercises that can seriously torch calories and keep you in shape. First, gauge your fitness level to decide if exercising on the stairs is right for you, and err on the side of caution when in doubt — falling on stairs or down stairs can be very serious. Once you’ve determined you’re fit enough to do stair exercises, find a set of stairs that you can use and swap a few of these exercises into your normal fitness routine.
CARDIO EXERCISES ON THE STAIRS
WALK OR JOG STAIRS
If you’ve ever had to climb up several flights of stairs, you know that walking stairs is a serious workout. It helps get your heart pumping and breathing at a faster pace. This is why it’s great for cardio.
If you can, try to find a long flight of stairs. This way you can walk up the stairs continuously for several minutes as opposed to only walking up one flight and having to come back down again.
Places like sports stadiums, apartment buildings or business buildings may have multiple flights of stairs you can use.
Start with five to 10 minutes or as long as you can. Take a rest period and either do some walking or strength training before trying another 5 to 10 minutes.
Take the stairs by two to increase the intensity and difficulty of this exercise. You can do this while walking or jogging.
TRY STAIR SPRINTS
If you’re in good shape, you can do a more demanding and difficult cardio exercise on the stairs — sprints. Again, this is a great form of cardio and really gets your heart racing.
To do stair sprints, run up the stairs as fast as you can for as long as you can. This may only be for a few short minutes.
To help you keep your pace, pump your arms back and forth. This helps keep you going and also works your body harder.
Avoid taking the stairs two at a time while doing stair sprints unless you feel really comfortable and safe doing so. Also, avoid this exercise if you have knee problems.
DO STAIR HOPS AND JUMPS
If running up and down the stairs isn’t your thing, or if you have just a short stretch or flight of stairs, try doing stair hops or jumps. These are plyometric exercises that will also get your heart pumping as a great form of cardio.
For this exercise, you can either use both legs or one leg. Using one leg is much more difficult than using both legs.
Start by standing facing the stairs on the floor or bottom step. Bend your knees slightly and push yourself off the ground and land on the next step up. Continue this all the way up the flight of stairs.
To do one leg jumps, start in the same position; however, focus on pushing off with one leg only and landing on that one leg. Continue as far as you can.
Make sure the stairs are deep and not shallow, meaning your entire foot should fit on the step. You want your whole foot to be able to land flat on the stairs and not hang off the edge.
MAKE YOUR OWN STAIR INTERVAL TRAINING
Many of the stair exercises, especially cardio exercises, you might not be able to do for 30 or 45 minutes all at one time. However, if you combine a few different cardio exercises, you can make a full workout.
Most people like to do cardio for at least 20 minutes. If you want to lengthen your cardio exercises using the stairs, come up with your own interval training program to help keep you moving for longer.
Regardless of what exercises you include, start with a five minute warm up. This could be slow walking up and the down the stairs.
Then, alternate between a few different exercises. Maybe start with five minutes of jogging up the stairs, one minute of sprints, five minutes of jogging and then resting for two minutes.
Also add in stair jumps and hops in between to really get your heart racing. Then restart with walking or stair jogging again for another few minutes.