There is no doubt that the interest in stair run training has increased greatly in recent times, especially during the period when the gym had to close during the pandemic. There has been a growing trend among personal trainers to add stair running in their clients training programs – and clients seem to love it!
It is not necessary to pay a lot of money to do stair climb training. The only thing you need, is a decent staircase and a pair of good shoes. It is even possible to use the stairs inside your own home, provided you have an indoor staircase that is. I am a big fan of workout without equipment, and stair climb training is an exercise I will reintroduce to my own training program for sure – starting next week.
Not Used to Stair Running?
No worries, you`ll get there. All it takes is some practice, patience and a positive mindset – You can do it!
It is important to take your time if you are not used to stair running. It can seem a little scary at first, especially when you start to feel tired in your legs, and out of breath. Take the time to get used to it, and gradually increase the level of intensity as you start to feel more secure.
Some people find it more safe to exercise with others, and it is not a bad idea to find a good training buddy. This makes it easier to motivate and push each other along the way, and the progress may come even faster than if you go solo. It`s important to keep in mind that overdoing is killing the joy and motivation to continue, so start gently, and increase when you start to get the hang of it.
You will get a good workout in a staircase that has 10 – 15 steps, but if you want to take it further as you do better, you simply find a staircase with more steps. This is a good way to improve your own results. Stair running is both an intense cardiovascular exercise and a resistance training exercise, and you can burn somewhere between 600 and 1000 calories an hour during this type of exercise.
Getting Started – Favorite Sessions
If you have never tried stair running before, it is recommended to start by walking up the stairs at least the first 3 weeks. Increase to a light jog towards the end of each session these first weeks.
Strength exercises for legs and the core muscles are advisable, as these muscle groups are most exposed in stair running. Those who struggle with knee issues should try this carefully and consult a physiotherapist or a doctor before starting. Stair running may strain the knees, so it is important to take proper precautions.
Like any other exercise it`s very important to warm up before you start. This way you will get the blood flowing and limber up. Here are some suggestions:
- Walk briskly for 5 – 10 minutes on a flat surface
- High heels to knee kicks (repeat this in some rounds with 30 – 60 sec duration each)
- Lunges (repeat this in some rounds with 30 – 60 sec duration each)
Now let`s get into the stair climbing. I`ve set up two favorite sessions to start with:
Long Stair Case Session:
This session will challenge and improve your shape. We call this the 4 x 4 sessions. You run as fast as you can to the top 4 times, and down again with a leisurely jog to the bottom. After doing this 4 times, you rest for 2 minutes. You repeat this session 4 times in a total. This is a very effective and challenging exercise, but it is also very fun when you get the hang of it. The biggest joy is the feeling you`ll have when completed the sessions.
Short Stair Case Session:
This session also challenges your shape, but you will also get some strength training included to the exercise – which is an extra bonus!
In high speed, run 2 times up and down the stairs. Then you do 4 strength training exercises between the stair climbing sessions, each with 12 repetitions. Some suggestions for strength training exercises; Bulgarian split squat, push-ups, mountain climbers and squats (this is of course just a couple of suggestions. You can choose any other exercise you like better). You repeat this session 3 times in a total.
Don’t forget to stretch after the sessions. Stretching helps the muscles to recover faster, increases your movement range and flexibility and helps to reduce muscle fatigue.
One Staircase – Many Possibilities
Why stop there? A staircase has so much more to offer. There are many stair exercises, and it`s only your own imagination that sets the limits. You can train much more than just legs and buttocks in a staircase, here are four exercises – two for the lower body and two for the upper body:
- Stairs Squat Jumps – Make sure you have 90 degrees in the knee joints. Push knees out and buttocks back. Jump one step at a time in the beginning. Muscles you are using: Front and back thighs, buttocks and abdomen.
- Bulgarian Lunges – Take a big step forward and have your hind leg up at least one step. Push your hips forward and keep them pointing straight ahead. Slowly lower yourself until the knee on the back leg almost touches the ground. Remember to have the weight on the front leg. Muscles you are using: Front and back thighs and buttocks.
- Push-Ups – start in the plank position and activate the abdominal muscles so that you do not collapse in the lower back. The body should be straight throughout the exercise. Push chest out. Gently lower yourself with the tip of your nose first. Go as deep as you can and push yourself up again. Muscles you are using: Chest, back arms and core muscles.
- Triceps Dips – Sit on the steps. Place your hands on the stairs right next to the sides of your body. Tilt your butt slightly out from the steps. Lower your body by bending your elbows. The elbows should point straight back and avoid sinking into the shoulders. Lower yourself until you have 90 degrees in the elbow joint before pushing yourself up again. Muscles you are using: The back of the arms (triceps).
Remember the stretching when your done. I hope this will inspire more people to try some new workouts. There are so much we can do without any equipment and without any cost.
Stair Running Benefits
- Strengthening your heart – The heart is getting better at moving blood and oxygen around your body. Stair running is a high intensity exercise, it makes the heart beat faster as you go on. Eventually the heart can’t beat any faster, and it will expand to be able to move the blood around your body faster – the more your heart expands the more blood it can pump through your body. The oxygen goes into your body and the carbon dioxide goes out the faster blood get pumped through your body. This can give you the benefit of greatly improving your cardiovascular fitness, and so on reduces the risk of high blood pressure, clogged arteries and weight gain.
- Improved balance – As you run the stairs your leg muscles repeatedly lift your body against the pull of gravity. In each step your body needs to stabilize and balance, and every little stabilizing muscle gets strengthened, and engages your core.
- Calorie burning – Stair running is a more advanced running activity than regular running, and this will result in more calories being burned. It`s also a much higher level of intensity, and you will burn more calories running in stairs. You burn twice the fat in half the time than if you run, and three times more than walking. If you want to lose weight, this is a great exercise to make that happen.
- Body toning – Stair running is a great way to strengthen your core muscles. It will tone and sculpt your body. It also engages every major muscle in your lower body – glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, abs and calves.
- Bone strengthening – This is a weight bearing activity, and it will help us build bone strength.
Stairway to Health
We know that stair running can give us several health benefits, and is a form of exercise that does not take up much of our time. Because this is a high intensity exercise, all it takes is 20 – 40 minutes – most people can squeeze this into their busy schedule.
It`s an exercise possible to do both outdoors and indoors. I`m personally very fond of outdoor exercises, but if the weather is bad it can be tempting to stay indoors – then hopefully you have a staircase at home 🙂
Stair running reduces the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes among other things. It is also said that it has positive impact on our mental health.
Last bur not least, stair running makes walking the stairs much easier and you might just choose the stairs instead of the elevator when your at work or other places. The energy level will increase and you will be able to do other sports for a longer time than before (running, walking, hiking, swimming etc).
Those who struggle with knee issues can walk up the stairs, and take the elevator down again. Walking down stairs puts more strain on the knees than walking up. Stair running makes everyday life easier. We should all try to squeeze in at least one session a week.
Choose the stairs instead of the elevator for a couple of weeks, and see if you feel any change. I`d really appreciate if you find the time to tell me how it went. Good luck!