Fitness: Step it Up with a Stair Workout

Looking for a workout that will burn fat and leave you with sculpted legs--just in time for summer?

Take the stairs!

I keep stair workouts in my routine because bounding up steps strengthens all leg muscles, from calves to glutes, keeping my legs toned for my mini-falda and strong for my first fitness love, distance running.


Natalie, I don't even like to walk up stairs! Won't going up and down get boring? Can't I just take the elevator?

To keep my workouts interesting, I create short routines with some variety.

This week, I channeled my inner Rocky and designed this combination for you:

  • Start with stair walks: walk up the stairs, walk down. Repeat 2 times.
  • Step it up with stair sprints: sprint up the stairs, walk down. Repeat 5 times.
  • Kick it up a notch with stair hops: with feet hips width apart, jump up, and plant both feet on the next step. Pause between each hop to keep your balance. Walk down. Repeat 4 times.
  • Finish with stair walks: walk up the stairs, walk down. Repeat 2 times.

Twenty-five minutes later, my legs were burning and my heart pumping. Although this workout is challenging, the low-intensity descent made it easier to storm up the steps. I was so concentrated on my foot placement (hoping to avoid a tumble down the stairs), time flew by.


Still not convinced?

Check out these 4 reasons to scale some steps:

4 Reasons to Step Up your Workout with Stairs:

  1. Climbing builds muscle, burns fat, and improves balance. It takes extra work for your músculos to work against gravity, providing a cardio workout that burns more calories than covering the same distance on flat ground.
  2. It’s free! No need for a gym membership. Climb the staircase in your casa or run up the bleachers at the nearest stadium.
  3. Stairs offer a variety of workout options.  Keep it interesting by changing up your location or routine and adding body-weight moves like lunges, tricep dips, and push-ups between climbs. Click here or here  for stair-based workouts and circuit routines.
  4. Prevent injury by strengthening more muscle groups. Health experts recommend cross training--performing workouts you don’t normally do--to lower your risk of injury in the sports you practice most. Stairs are great for all athletes, from runners to yogis, because they work core leg muscles.


Stair Workout Safety Tips

  • Watch your step! Be sure your foothold is solid.
  • Stop if you have any pain in your ankles or knees.
  • Remember to wear sneakers with good ankle support.
  • If doing lunges or stair hops, don't let your knees extend past your toes.

No time to run the bleachers? No problem. Skip the elevator and take the stairs during your work day. In 2 Ways to Keep PE on Your Schedule, I explain that mini-workouts can have big rewards.

Take your fitness routine to the next level with a stair workout. You'll feel strong with the extra before-summer-bonus of great looking gams.


A teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

How are you shaping up for summer?