Running Stairs Exercise to Build Strength and Stamina

A cat walking on a sidewalk

If you’re a no-equipment-workout kind of guy or gal, you know that after a while, plain ol’ bodyweight moves can get a little dull.

Ready to spice it up? Look no further than a set of stairs.

Whether you have a flight of stairs in your home or you live near some park or stadium steps, this foolproof (and free) stair workout will challenge your whole body, plus give you a good dose of cardio.

We’ve detailed eight you can do using stairs and outlined a 30-minute routine using just the stairs and your bodyweight. Are you ready to step up?

Tip: Wear sneakers with a good traction and grip, especially if you’re using wood or marble stairs, to avoid slipping or falling.

1. Every-others

A person sitting on a bench

Taking the stairs two at a time (every other stair) requires a higher and deeper step up than one at a time. And because you’re still traveling forward and upward, your core will be working to help you stabilize as well.

To perform:

  • Start at the bottom of the stairs and step up two steps with your right foot, bringing your left foot to meet it.
  • Immediately step up two more steps, leading with your left foot.
  • Repeat this sequence for 30 seconds. Go as quickly as you can safely here.
  • Return to the bottom of the stairs and repeat for 3 sets.

2. Pushups

A person riding a skateboard down a sidewalk

Pushups are a full-body exercise, but obviously require lots of upper-body strength. Stairs provide an effective prop to assist you here.

To perform:

  • Face the stairs and assume the pushup position.
  • Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the first, second, or third step, depending on the stairs’ steepness and your ability. The more elevated your hands, the easier the pushup will be.
  • Maintaining a straight line from head to toe, slowly lower your body down, allowing your elbows to bend to a 45-degree angle.
  • Aim to touch your chest to the step, then extend your arms, returning to the starting position.
  • Start with 3 sets of 10 reps.

3. Bulgarian split squat

Challenge your quads and glutes as well as your balance and stability with Bulgarian split squats. By targeting one leg at a time, this exercise will uncover muscle imbalances.

Plus, it requires mobility in your hips. The closer your stationary leg is to the stairs, the more this exercise will target your quads.

To perform:

  • Start at the bottom of the stairs, facing away about 2–3 feet in front of the bottom stair.
  • Lift your left foot onto the second or third stair so it’s at about knee height.
  • Rest your toe on the stair and assume a lunge position. Lower down on your right leg, keeping your torso straight and hips square. Ensure that your knee doesn’t fall over your toe.
  • Extend your right leg, then repeat.
  • Switch legs after 10–12 reps.

Try these three running stairs exercise for fitness.

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