Benefits of Running Stairs – The Ultimate Workout For Stronger Legs And Core

Running stairs is one of the best workouts that you can do to develop stronger legs and a more stable core. In this post, we take a look at the benefits of running stairs and give you some awesome inspiration.

Benefits of Running Stairs – The Ultimate Workout For Stronger Legs And Core

India Lewis
  • Post by India Lewis
  • Last updated: February 28, 2018

A couple of winters back, my busy work schedule saw me traveling… A Lot!

While the some of the hotels I stayed in had gyms and treadmills, many of them didn’t.

Given the temperatures and conditions outside, long runs outdoors weren’t an option.

If I wanted to run, my only option was to improvise.

Learning To Take The Stairs

After speaking to a colleague, he suggested that I take advantage of the low occupancy of the hotel and run the stairs.

I thought he was mad!

Always keen to try something new, I grabbed my kit, pulled my running socks up, laced up and headed into the stairwell.

Now I consider myself a pretty fit runner and thought that running up five flights and then recovering on the way back down would be achievable.

I was so wrong.

After sprinting up the first two sets, my heart rate was through the roof, my legs were screaming and I was struggling to catch my breath.

I was hooked!

Over the course of that winter, I repeated the sessions, gradually building up the number of sets and flights covered.

The result? My 5K and 10K time came tumbling down and I can only put this down to running stairs.

3 Benefits of Running Stairs

Running stairs is a great form of exercise that conditions the body’s cardiovascular system, builds muscle in the lower back and legs, and burns more calories in less time than traditional running. Here are some of the benefits you can look forward to experiencing after running stairs becomes a normal part of your exercise routine.

Stronger Legs

When running in the traditional style, your body moves in a horizontal motion across the ground. When you run stairs, your body moves vertically, which demands more work out of your lower body. This increases the ability to build muscle and burn more calories.

When your legs have to work twice as hard to continuously push your body up the stairs, your muscles have to adapt to the demand. This leads to increased ability in stabilization and stronger legs. To increase the intensity of the workout, try taking two stairs at a time! If you don’t have a lot of time, no problem! Running stairs can burn up to 65 calories in 15-minutes.

Increased Cardio development

Stair running is a cardio building exercise used by varying athletes around the world. (Remember Rocky Balboa and his infamous stair climbing scene?) Just as there is an increased demand on your legs when adding stairs to your running routine, the same applies to your cardiovascular system. Echocardiographic studies show that the hearts of runners work more efficiently than the hearts of those living a sedentary lifestyle.

The average runner has a lower resting heart rate and their bodies can consume more oxygen, more efficiently. Increasing your cardiovascular strength can lessen your risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks. It can also lower your blood pressure and level of triglycerides.

Lower Impact

If you are overweight or have joint problems, stair running is a great way to build muscle, lose weight, and gain cardiovascular strength all while lessening the stress on your joints. Running on a road or sidewalk can place a lot of unwanted pressure on your hips, knees, ankles, and feet.

The range of movement you use when climbing stairs allows for more circulation and less impact. Correct for will also prevent injury and provide more support for your joints.

The correct form for stair climbing is as follows:

  • When walking up the stair lean forward slightly,
  • Let your arms pump in a way that feels natural, but can help propel you forward
  • Push off of the ball of your foot, allowing your leg to fully extend
  • Focus on using all of the muscles in your leg to lift your body upwards, and drive your foot down

It is important to descend the stairs with correct form as well. Simply shift your weight from your legs and knees to your glutes. You can also walk down at an angle, lessening the impact.

Running Stairs is for Everyone

You don’t need a gym membership or any special equipment to get in shape. If you are a beginner, try walking up the stairs first to determine the intensity level you should feel comfortable starting at. As your body becomes more conditioned you will be able to use your walk as a warm-up for more intense exercise.

A Little Inspiration

If all this wasn’t enough to get excited to start adding running stair to your weekly workout schedule, check out this video below:

Brooks Running