You don’t have to leave the house, the stairs are always there when you need them, and there are a ton of different exercises you can do. Whether you’re looking to do some cardio or strength-training exercises, using your stairs is a great option to get fit.
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 and to get fit using those stairs.
- 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 five 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.
Take 4-5 stairs at a time.
o make your workout more challenging, lengthen your stride and try skipping as many stairs as you can on each step. That will work your leg muscles more than just walking on the stairs—especially your back leg. This is also a safer exercise than sprinting or jumping on stairs.
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. However, keep in mind that this can be very dangerous. Increase your speed gradually—you don’t want to risk an injury due to a fall.
- 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. However, jumping on stairs can be very dangerous—you could easily slip, so don’t try this unless you’re in great physical condition. Even so, it may be worth sticking to a simpler routine.
- 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.
Perform stair calf raises.
This exercise can really make your calves pop. It works the gastrocnemius, which is likely what you think of when you imagine a calf muscle.
- Start by standing on the edge of the stair. Only about the first fourth of each foot should be on the stair; your heels should be hanging off the edge.
- Rise up on your toes as high as you can. Keep your back, legs, and feet straight and don’t allow yourself to lean forward or backwards.
- Slowly lower your body as far as possible.
- Keep one hand on the banister if balance is a concern.
- Try doing this on one leg for an even more effective exercise, but only do so if you have a banister or wall to hold.