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Is walking up stairs an effective exercise?

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At the moment I can't afford to do anything else, and I have an offbeat phobia of running/walking in front of people so that won't work either.

I walk up about 20 flights of stairs 4-5 times a week, some days 40 in different segments. It only takes about 10 minutes to do though.. and it's 450ish steps up. I've only been doing this for 2 weeks. I also have about three ten minute fast paced walking segments during the day..

Is this enough? I am trying to start doing squats, but I can't get motivated to do it for very long..

I only eat healthy foods, by the way.
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according to my activity long climbing stairs is over 500 calories burned per hour, so yes, i think it's a great exercise :-)

i sometimes do a few up and downs when i'm doign laundry at home (machines are in teh basement) every little bit helps i'm sure

it's also probably more effective if you do many at a time, like it seems that you do (20 flights!  goodness!)  instead of like one flight now and another flight in a few hours etc.

Before I started counting calories and regularly exercising, I would take the stairs at work (usually about 6 flights, but sometimes even 10 or 11), and count that as exercise. I have to say, it didn't work for me. At least not for weight loss.

Now, don't get me wrong - I wasn't counting calories, so that was a big problem - I had no idea what I was consuming compared to burning. And any effort to increase your activity is always good. But I think that for me, even with controlled diet, I need to burn an additional 2-300 calories a day to keep my deficit at 500 and still be eating enough, and when I used the excuse (at least for me it was an excuse) that stairs were my exercise, I wasn't burning that much.

But it sounds like you plan to actually exercise using the stairs, not just take them as opposed to the elevator whenever you need to change floors. So take what I say with a grain of salt. Remember that there are people who go to the gym and spend half an hour on the stair stepper, so it can be effective for increasing your burn.

exercising on stairs is a really really big deal for me personally.  I use to do it more often in college and when I was a runner.  I have several step exercises that I can give you if you want...

very very good for the entire body.


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Sure, I'd love some step exercises. Once I build up my endurance I'm going to try to skip one stair up but that's all I've got right now. exercises might be a bit tough then...I keep on thinking that everyone is freaking Bo Jackson or

just take these for now, and try to do a little less than it says...very beneficial though...good luck.

Steps Workout #1…Difficulty easy/medium

**Always walk back down the steps at a quick pace unless otherwise stated**


10 minute jog for warm-up

Stretch for 5 minutes

10 x Step run: run up the steps planting on every other step…slow jog back down

5 x step leaps: starting at the bottom of the steps, push off of one leg and land on the other. Try to skip three steps, then use the other leg and do the same.  Focus on a strong push off, and be careful not to miss a step.  Advanced people try to leap to 4 or five steps.

5 x Quick steps: starting at the bottom make both of your feet land on one step (one after the other…don’t jump with both feet at the same time) before moving to the next one…these must be done quickly and as intense as possible.

10 x Step Lunges: the same motion as the step leaps, but without a push off…. Simply walk up the steps skipping 3-5 steps at a time and jog back down. **Fighters** attach 2-5 LBS ankle weights to legs, and 2 LBS wrist weights to arms

5 x Step Breakers**Fighters** Get into a push-up position, and have a partner hold your legs.  Go up the steps (preferably concrete) using your first two knuckles…once at the top walk down and repeat.  This is for the development of a bare knuckle fighters fist.

6 x Leap Frogs: get down in a frog position with your hand resting on the first or second step.  Leap to the next two steps, and use your hands to keep you from falling incase you miss a step.  ***WARNING*** this particular exercise is a bit difficult when fatigue begins to set in.  Take a rest, and do this at your own risk.

3 x Calf Hops: start at the bottom of the steps with one leg and hop up each step till you reach the middle of the stair case then switch legs.  Once you reach the top…jog back down, and repeat.  **Fighters** when you hop on the first step, hop on the previous step, and then back again on the first step…keep going till you reach the center then switch.


Stretch for as long as you need it


10 minute run (not jog…faster pace…gradually slow down to a walk after 8 minutes of running then stretch again)





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wow these sound intense.. i don't know about jumping over three steps, especially five!

today i ran up 17 flights, then immediately following i jogged back down 25 flights, and ran back up 8. i plan to run up 20 before the days out.

thanks for your tips, i'll definitely try them, once i build up some more muscle :) problem...

This is the medium should see the hard step training workout I might cry just seeing it...I literally cry after that workout... because I just thank god that I actually got through it.

Eddie - How many steps/flights in each set? 

I'm probably a little masochistic, but this sounds fun to me!  LOL!  We used to run stadiums/horseshoes in volleyball and even though it kicked my you-know-what they were always one of my favorite workouts.  I actually like running stairs better than running, but I'm weird like that.  I'm curious what the other stair workouts you have are like.  I doubt I could even attempt them by the looks of the "medium" one above, but I can dream . . .

 Well, from reading that workout, I can tell one thing.

 I never, ever want to face Eddie in the Dojo, never mind a real bout :)

While the steps are a good workout, only doing it for 10 minutes is a problem.  Most cardio programs I see recommend a minimum of 20 and work up to at least 40.  Studies have shown that the amount of time spent doing the exercise is very important.  So walk, ride a bike or do something after your step work to increase the amount of time you spend with a higher heart rate.'s about 4-6 flights of step...stadium style.

Nahhhh I may be physically strong, but I still have flaws when it comes to fighting.  You'll feel my punches though.  I had 5 fights last night, and one of them was with a small Japanese girl...and she's very fast, and she told me to use 10% of my power, but she walked right into one of my punches to her liver, and I felt so bad...there is only one girl that I can actually fight with 40% of my power, and she's about 5'10 165LB...very pretty too.  I like fighting women, because it teaches me to use control, and work on speed.  One thing people do have a problem with though is keeping their hands up...I watch hands constantly, and if you drop any one of your hands for a split will pay for it...but you'll probably never do it

The steps I work on are 6 flights.  When I was living in N.Y. we had some steps that would take you from one street to was about 8 - 10 flights, and we had to do that for track practice...but just running up and down 10 times...very very tough.

this workout should take a little over an hour depending on how worn out you get and how fast you move.

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Very effective exercise I think, good cardio.  You can do endurance or "sprints", same as with running.

One thing I would like to caution, there is much less aerobic benefit from walking downstairs, and there is actually more risk of injury (immediate and over time) when coming down, so don't run or even jog down, just walk, or even take a lift down and then walk/jog/run up again. (Stadium stairs are different as the steepness of each stair is much less than regular building stairs)

You can also mix up your stairs by:

  • put your hands on your head (harder, and improves stability)
  • use weights, dumbells or even something heavy in plastic bags!
  • vary how you go up, i.e., cross your legs over each other with each step up, criss-cross
  • go up with legs spread wider than normal
  • even go up side-ways to the stairs, one way then the other


mmm...some of what you said is included in the harder workout schedule.

Oh my gosh, Eddie, I would kill myself!!..or at least land in the hospital! Sometimes I read posts and feel a little old...right now I think I should grab a walker and tottle on home....'s all in your like Nike...JUST DO IT!!!!!!

Original Post by eddiepotter:

Steps Workout #1…Difficulty easy/medium

**Always walk back down the steps at a quick pace unless otherwise stated**

That is really great advice but I don't have the stamina to do it. I climb stairs daily. I just walk up and take the elevator down mainly because of safety reasons.  I don't want to injure myself in anyway in case I tripped and fell down the stairs. Also running downstairs makes me dizzy. I do 12 floors, 20min in the morning and sometimes in the evening. But it has worked for me. So Sara, it doesn't have to be long and hard. Just be consistent and watch what you eat, like all exercises.

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