Running Stairs For Fat Loss

I recently got this stair running workout emailed to me from Paul Becker and wanted to make it available. I’ve been waiting for the snow to melt so I can get back into stair running this spring. On the north bank of the Saskatchewan River here in Edmonton, there are a good number of different sets of stairs along the river valley trails. The stair running is perfect because of the varying angles. One set of stairs known as the Royal Glenora stairs has two built in rest points during it’s flight.

Running stairs is very taxing on the lungs and legs but is perfect for building endurance and ass. If you’re a regular reader of this blog and my posts, you’ll know that my trainer does not train legs, she trains ass. Running stairs is a perfect ass building workout as it burns fat and builds lung strength.

Running Stairs For Fat Loss

running stairs
One of the best ways of cardio training is to run stairs. Here is a training plan to get you in shape fast!

As with any workout, start out with a good warm up and stretch. You just may want to start by walking the stairs, then proceed to jogging and then to running.

It’s a good idea not to begin this stair workout until you get yourself in good physical condition by jogging 15 to 25 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week for at least 3 to 4 weeks. This will strengthen your heart and lungs so it won’t be too much of a demand on your body.

Sample Running Stairs Cardio Workout

Find a flight of stairs that has at least 20-30 stairs (a track with stadium seating at a high school or local college is ideal).
Walk up the stairs to the top and then down the stairs to the bottom 3-5 times. After this warm-up you will begin the workout.

1) Sprint from the bottom of the stairs to the top as fast as possible

2) Then walk down.

3) Repeat this routine for a total of three to five sets. Your legs should be pretty sore the next day. Work your way up to a total of ten sets.

As your conditioning improves you have many more options to continually challenge your anaerobic system.

Run more flights of stairs
Increase your sets
Use a weighed vest

It’s my intention to be running stairs 3x a week by June and to continue this until I leave for my Mt Everest base camp climb in October.

I have to say though, that if you’re new to stairs, begin by walking them. As I said in the beginning, running stairs is quite taxing on the lungs and legs.


  1. Hi, You look great! I just happen to be clicking around looking at different blogs. I have just started my weight loss journey. I am using Curves for the start of my program but do you have any suggestions as food diets. They all say they work.

  2. Hi Lisa, Thanks.

    Food diets? it depends on what it is that you want actually. I am in the first 1/4 of developing a 12 week program introducing people to whole foods that I’d love to tell you about (in about 8 more weeks, lol)

    I’d say join the weight loss forum and have a snoop around there.

  3. Stair running has been around for a long time, but I don’t hear much about it anymore. I remember my brother used to run stairs in the stadium when he was on the football and track teams — it was good conditioning for both sports. I’ve come a long way but it’s definitely not something I’m ready for yet!

  4. Can’t agree more.

    Stairs kick ass! I regularly do HIIT-style (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts as an alternative to my regular cardio. I either run a few times up and down this hill nearby OR I run the stairs in a nearby building which is 20 floors.

    Both of them are brutal when you give yourself 100%. The workout doesn’t really last longer than 5 minutes, but the afterburn is a killer.

    Another good HIIT method, which focuses less on the ASS and more on the arms and pecs, is the rowing machine (or whatever it’s called… English is not my native language). This machine definitely gets your heart rate up as well!

    Good you luck with your program.

  5. Former fat guy, you are truly an inspiration
    For those of us who travel alot, using the hotel steps if a gym is not readily available is such a viable option

  6. Thanks, yes, and to do a set of pushups at each landing or two while running stairs in the hotel stairwell is a good idea too.

  7. I just got back from my first stair climbing/running in a few years after reading your blog. Thanks for the helpful tips and good luck with your training. Wow! Everest!

  8. @Carrie – awesome. Yep, Everest (base camp anyway). Successfully got there all healthy and well (except for a nagging cough from altitude).

    Next up is Aconcagua in Jan of 2012. Gotta start training for that now

  9. Find 20 -30 steps your say? My set of steps here are called the Black Street Steps. There are 220 steps, yikes. I recently had a bet with a buddy that I could not get my lard arse up and down 10 times in one hour. I did it in 47:52 and the eleventh in 52 something…then I almost died. Yep steps are tough. So now the new bet is I can’t do it 15 times in one hour. I think my buddy has taken out a life insurance policy on me!! Does anyone have a suggestion for a good training that I can work on so I can destroy these steps on February 4, 2011. By the way I’m 61years old.

  10. I’ve been weightlifting for a few years (only 17 years old), and I can’t seem to get that six-pack. I do plenty of ab workouts, about 3 times a week (P90X’s Ab Ripper X), but I can’t shed that layer of fat that’s right over my 6-pack! Will running stairs burn away that abdomonal fat, and also not lose the muscle I’ve acquired? Thanks

  11. I have recently discovered stair running and it beats the heck out of my previous, boring Arc Trainer routine. I used to sit on that thing for 60 minutes a day, 6 days a week, and it did help me lose weight, but it’s just too steady and boring for me. I decided to run on my campus and while running, I started running to the tops of a bunch or random stairwells on campus, whether it was a parking garage or a dorm building or even a classroom building. After every ten flights of stairs I would do ab exercises or pushups. I continued this routine until I had reached 80 flights up and down. All I can say it WOW! My heart was pounding and I was so exhausted afterwards, but it’s totally worth it. I feel great now and my legs are getting more muscle tone!

  12. I really enjoyed coming across your blog today:) I’ve been running the Glenora stairs for a few years now… Sooo taxing on the body, but you’re right about the ass! Haha… When I’m running/walking/jumping them I know if I can just push myself there I can wake up the next morning and really feel my hard work!
    To UpNorthYukon… Have you tried nit running up the steps, but hopping sideways one at a time? Pop squatting stair by stair? Inspiring to hear you’re doing so well at 61!!!
    To Jake… What is your diet like? You are still pretty young, but how much and what kind of protein are you taking in?

  13. I know just the stairs up to my apartment kick my BUTT! Especially when I have a baby on one hip and groceries on the other! :)

  14. Back when I played lacrosse running stairs were the worse part of our practice. I dreaded it. lol. It is very effective though. I think I need to get back to it.

  15. I totally agree the best way to run in up some stairs or a hill. I think interval training is a great workout routine as well.

  16. I’ve recently switched running every second day to running up stairs every day. The first 2 weeks were tough, now I can run further on land than I could before!

  17. I like that idea about the running on the stairs..,
    the running on the flat service is quite boring…
    Running stairs and uphill is really good workout for the but and legs.., flat running cant do the same…
    Not to mention that the stress on the joints is not as much.!

  18. The best way to loss your fat . Do exercise everyday early in the morning.

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