We’re not talking about StairMaster workouts, though they might have their place. We’re talking about a good old-fashioned set of steps, be they the zigzagging flights in your office building or the well-trod bleachers at a nearby stadium. A staircase workout is an incredibly effective way to improve fitness and overall health: One study found that simply walking up 200 steps twice a day, five days a week, for eight weeks, can cause a 17 percent increase in VO2 max, which is a common way of measuring someone’s aerobic fitness Training effects of short bouts of stair climbing on cardiorespiratory fitness, blood lipids, and homocysteine in sedentary young women. Boreham CA, Kennedy RA, et al. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2005 Sep;39(9):590-3..
Running up stairs brings even more benefits. Because the body is constantly being lifted upward with each step, it engages more leg muscles than running and improves vertical jump. Plus, according to Greatist Expert and strength trainer Jordan Syatt, running upstairs is easier on the joints than regular sprints while being better at improving athletes’ range of motion.
But the best thing about staircase workouts? They can be done on any staircase and, in a manner similar to our love, they don’t cost a thing. So find some steps and step on the gas, because Jordan Syatt has put together two incredible high-intensity interval training staircase workouts—one for beginners and one for the more advanced peeps. You shouldn’t need too many stairs for this, just enough that you can run continuously for 10 to 15 seconds (about two to three flights). Remember to keep your focus on the top of the steps ahead of you. You can do it!
What’s your favorite free workout? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet the author @ncjms.