Running Stairs Workout Program: The Fastest Way To Burn Fat

If you have been struggling to find the fastest way to burn fat and want an effect way to keep your muscle gains I highly recommend running stairs. Some athletes run stadium bleachers or hills to get the same results as running stairs but for the sake of doing something convenient we will do a running stairs workout that you can even do at home.
Running Up Stairs v1
Photograph courtesy of Grey Barklay

Why A Stairs Workout Is So Effective For Fat Loss

A running stairs workout program applies much of the same principles of interval training.  By using stairs you are activating the fast twitch muscles in the legs which help build leaner and muscular thighs.  Going up and down stairs helps in activating fast twitch muscles due to the constant explosive force that is required to go up stairs.

One of the principles of interval training or burst training, as it is also called, requires doing an activity at high intensity for a brief time and then slowing down or resting in short periods.  When using stairs as a workout you will find yourself doing the high intensity portion on the way up and resting or performing at less intensity when going up stairs.

Although most cardio programs emphasize doing long and steady state cardio in order to lose fat, the truth is these types of workouts are not the best.

Although steady state cardio like long distance running will help you burn calories and burn some fat the results you will achieve are not like interval training.  If you compare a long distance runner to a sprinter you will see the difference in physiques.  A long distance runner will look thin but without a lean body type.  On the other hand, a sprinter is lean and muscular with very little fat.  Who would you rather look like?

A Stairs Workout You Can Do Today

Stairs workouts are one of the workouts I highly recommend.    The calories burned running up and down stairs is one of the benefits along with the fact that you are building muscle in your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves.

Follow this sequence to get great benefits from running stairs.

  • Warm up with a slow 5 to 10 minute jog.
  • Jog/ Run up stairs but go up every other step on the way up.
  • Slowly jog down taking each step.
  • Go up and down the stairs a total of 5 round trips.
  • Do a 3 to 5 minute cool down.

The point of taking every other step on the way up is to get the most out of the glutes, hamstrings and calves.

After several workouts you will probably be able to do more than 5 trips. Aim for as many as 10. If you are able to do more than 5 trips switch it up by running every other step on the way up one trip and every step the following trip.

Ideally you want to find a flight of stairs that is longer than one story. Work with what you have is my advice to you.  For best results pair this workout with strength training with weights, bodyweight routines, kettlebells or resistance bands.  It does not matter which type.  You can also do this workout either before or after lifting weights, it is dependent on your preferences.

If you want to add a higher degree of difficulty and make this a full body workout then do push ups when you reach the top and crunches at the bottom or vice versa.

Do not feel discouraged if you can not complete this running stairs workout. Start off slow and you will get to your goal. Do not be afraid to try different types of interval training and conditioning workouts. Remember that the calories running up and down stairs is one of the fastest ways to burn fat.

Try this easy workout and tell me how it worked for you.  Feel free to comment below.


  1. I tried running stairs which is a great workout but I get scared that I will slip so I stick to hill sprints on grass.
    However I do 3o min walking up on stairs as a regularly workout and that’s more than enough for me

    • Sam Munoz says:

      Believe it or not that was also in the back of my mind years ago. I have never had that problem thankfully. But you are right, hills are a great option. Some people prefer this method as they see it easier on the knees. Walking is also very effective. Just goes to show that anyone can get creative with their workouts.

  2. What a great resource!

  3. You made some clear points there. I did a search on the issue and found most guys will go along with with your site.

  4. I’ve been trying to get into shape and so far it has been a fairly difficult task T.T

    • Sam Munoz says:

      It can be challenging in the beginning. The important thing to do is follow a program that works for you and be consistent.
      It doesn’t have to take hours in a gym. Your workouts can be brief and you will achieve better results than doing long workouts.
      Feel free to look at other articles I have written in my blog so you can find tips that will get you closer to your goals.
      Stop by soon.
      Hope this helps.

  5. DunnyMega says:

    Hey Sam – I have been running the stairs of my building for the last 8 months now – trying to tone up and maintain gained muscle. I compared photos of myself now and when I used to ONLY run the treadmill a couple years ago and I look like a BEAST now!

    Running the stairs has made me look type Gorilla, like a Jersey Shore juice-head, in oppose to a smaller more less-intimating ladies man. I like being built, but I feel like I have gained weight – not fat, just muscle – and that I am not as flexible as I used to be. Don’t get me wrong, I feel very healthy and my heart is in very good health and I recommend this type of workout to anyone who is looking to increase endurance and performance.

    My question is, if I continue running the stairs, increasing reps and intensity – will I loose weight making myself a bit slimmer?


    • Sam Munoz says:

      I am glad to hear that stairs running has worked for you!
      In order to get slimmer you will need to take a few factors in to account. The first one is diet. Make sure the number of calories you eat is not too high, but rather create a deficit if you want to slim down and look lean. Also make sure the the quality of calories you eat are high quality. It doesn’t help if you eat 3,000 calories of junk (you will put on fat) vs. 3,000 high quality calories which will help your body look lean as long as you stay active.

      With respect to reps and intensity- I feel that around 15 minutes of stairs followed by 15 minutes of moderate intensity cardio like jogging or a brisk walk is sufficient. If you are doing more, let’s say 30 minutes of stairs, you don’t need to add more to your cardio session. My advice is to do stairs workouts 2 or 3 times a week on non consecutive days. To get leaner feel free to add 2 or 3 three days of moderate pace cardio type activity- this could be in the form of jogging, elliptical or walking for 20 to 30 minutes. It is good to stay active as much as possible.



  1. […] Stairs workouts are very much like interval type cardio.  The intensity is always heavier than if you were simply jogging.  Going up a flight of stairs is the intense part and the “rest phase” is when you are going down the stairs.  Although it is considered a rest phase in reality you are always in motion. […]