5 Exercises to Work a Flight of Stairs Like a Boss

By Stacy DeBruyn, PRO Club Group Fitness Instructor

We are all looking for ways to exercise without a gym and for most of us that means without any equipment. Stairs are a great way to get in a killer workout and most of us have easy access to a set of them. I prefer to do mine while walking my dog, so I kill two birds with one stone. And you better believe I will hurl stones like a minor league pitcher training for the big leagues if I can check two things off my list at the same time.

Most days I walk Murdoch, my 130 lb mutt, through the park by my house we fondly refer to as Narnia. It’s a beautiful walk with tall trees, a few hills, and a couple small wooden bridges over streams. At the end of one bridge is a set of steps. 14 steps to be exact. These stairs are the only equipment I need to turn a normal dog walk into a cardio spiking, legs crying, calorie crushing, lungs burning workout.

Assuming you do this on your walk too, by the time you get to your flight of stairs you should be warmed up. If not, walk up and down the stairs for about 5 minutes or do this series of exercises without a lot of effort the first time through.


#LikeABoss Stair Workout

Repeat each exercise 5 times before moving to the next one. Once all five exercises are completed that is one round. Repeat the round 2-10 times depending on how you feel and how big your staircase is.

  1. Step up 2 stairs at a time alternating legs as you step, walk/jog down
  2. Squat Hop with both feet 1 stair at a time. Walk or jog down. Work up to 2 stairs at a time.
  3. Run sideways up steps. Right leg leads up, left leg leads down. Try increasing the height of your knees to add intensity.
  4. Repeat side run on other side. Left leg leads up, right leg leads down.
  5. 20 mountain climbers on bottom stair then run up the stairs as fast as you can, walk back down. Try sprinting up 2 stairs at a time and adding 2 pushups before your mountain climber for added intensity.

Doing this with 14 steps takes about 6 minutes a round.


#PROTip Counting reps while working this hard is a challenge. To help keep count gather up 5 pinecones or rocks and put them in a pile at the bottom of the stairs. Squat to pick up one pinecone and take it with you to the top of the stairs. Squat again and place it at the top of the stairs. Do this every time you start heading back up the stairs. When all your pinecones are at the top squat and collect them all. Head down and start again with the next exercise.

More reps? Get more pinecones. You may find you need a little rest between rounds. March in place for 30 seconds at the bottom of the stairs or make the first exercise a slow easy walk up and down the stairs and start the second exercise with full effort.

Also, be sure to clear off the steps before you begin making sure loose pebbles, sticks, leaves and other things you can slip on are out of the way.

Remember those hills I walked on the way to the stairs? If I am looking for a little extra I will go to the steep long one and run up as fast as I can and walk down a few times. OK, if I’m being honest run is not an accurate description. It looks more like a slow jog through mud because after that stair workout… “PEANUT BUTTER!”. That is what I need to go with my jelly legs. If you have a hill near your stairs, the steeper the better, give it a try. #LikeABoss

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