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Turn Your Stairwell into a Fat-Burning Machine

Stair Master

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A stairwell is one of the most overlooked, highly effective training tools—why else would anyone ever wait for the elevator? Not only are stairs ready-made for a killer cardio workout, but they can also be used for upper- and lower-body strength exercises. I love getting outside the gym to enjoy the fresh air so this full-body routine is one of my favorites to do at the beach or a nearby college stadium. If you don't have access to either of those, between your office, apartment building, home, or local park, you're never that far from a set of stairs. No excuses!

Do this workout three times per week to torch calories and sculpt a strong, lean physique. Do 1 set of each exercise back to back, and then repeat the full circuit 2 more times (3 times total).

Step-Ups

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Reps: 10 per side

Place your right foot on top of the stair. Without moving your foot, drive through the ball of your big toe to come all the way up to standing. Slowly lower down until your back foot touches the ground. Your front foot stays on the stair the entire time. Be sure to keep chest up and core engaged. Do 10 reps per side.

Split Jumps

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Reps: 5 per side

Place your right foot on top of the stair. Drive off the ball of your big toe as you jump as high as you can, switching feet in the air. Land with the left foot on the stair. Explosively drive off the ball of your big toe, switching feet in the air. Continually repeat the movement. Land softly and keep your chest up. Do 5 jumps each side.

Plyo Pushups

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Reps: 10

Place both hands on the stair and get into pushup position with wrists directly below your shoulders, feet hip-width apart. Engage your legs and core as you bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the step.

Keeping your body as still as possible, explosively push up so that your hands lift off the step, not compromising body position. Allow hands to return to the stair and lower back down into a pushup position. Repeat movement at a quick pace. Do 10 reps.

Lateral Step-Up

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Reps: 10 per side

Standing parallel to the stairs, lift your inside leg and place foot on top of the stair. Press through the ball of your big toe as you step up onto the stair. Bring both feet together and then come back down, still facing the same side.

Be careful not to collapse the chest or round your spine to come up to standing. Do 10 reps on each side.

Depth Jumps

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Reps: 10

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Bend both knees, shift your hips back, and explosively jump up onto the stair. Land softly with chest up. Jump off the stair back down to the ground. Quickly jump back onto the stair. Repeat the movement at a controlled pace. Do 10 jumps.

Plank with Knee to Opposite Elbow

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Reps: 10 per side

Place both hands on the stair and get into full plank position with your wrists directly below shoulders, feet hip-width apart. Engage your core to draw your right knee in toward your left elbow. Come back to center and draw your left knee in toward right elbow. Make sure to keep your spine straight and shoulder blades down and back during the entire movement. Do 10 reps per side.

Sprints

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Reps: 2

Run as fast as possible up the set of stairs by explosively driving out of the ball of your big toe, lifting knees, and swinging arms. Once you reach the top of the staircase, slowly walk down. Rest for 1 minute and repeat. Do 2 sprints total.