The best way to burn a lot of calories is to run up the stairs.
It’s a fact that running stairs is one of the most effective ways to burn fat and lose weight. Running stairs is also one of the most challenging workouts, as it involves a good cardio workout, strength training and flexibility training all in one.
Running stairs burns more calories than running on a flat surface. In fact, running up two flights of stairs at a moderate pace can burn as many calories as jogging on a flat surface for 15 minutes at 6 mph (10 km/h).
Running up stairs helps you lose weight by increasing your metabolism, which means that your body will burn more fat even when you’re sleeping or resting. It also helps improve muscle tone and strength as well as increase flexibility in your ankles, knees and hips.
Does Running Up & Down Stairs Help Lose Belly Fat?
If you can remember ever having to run stairs during high school football or track practice, you know that it’s no joke. It’s a tough, intense workout that exercises nearly every muscle in your body. Even though it doesn’t directly target the abdominal muscles, running stairs can help you burn belly fat, and fast. It’s a type of high intensity interval training, or HIIT, which studies have shown is effective at helping to burn away belly fat more efficiently than traditional steady-state exercise, such as jogging.
HIIT Blasts Away Belly Fat
Several studies have shown HIIT is effective at burning subcutaneous and visceral fat – the fat just below your skin and the stuff deep within your abdomen, respectively. A review published in the Journal of Obesity in 2011 investigated several of these. The evidence showed that abdominal fat was reduced by as much as 48% after eight weeks of HIIT. Other studies found participants lost anywhere from six percent to 44 percent belly fat doing a similar type of HIIT regimen. So results can vary, but the moral of the story is that yes, you can lose belly fat by running stairs.
How to Do it Effectively
To maximize your fat loss results, it’s important to design your stair workout around the general guidelines of HIIT. First off, it’s best if you can use a large set of stairs, 30 or more works well. If not, try to at least find a set of 10 or more stairs. After warming up for about five minutes by doing some light jogging and stretching, prepare to work hard. Sprint up the stairs at near maximal speed and then walk back down the stairs. It’s about a 3:1 ratio between recovery and sprinting. For example, you sprint for 10 seconds up the stairs and walk back down for 30 seconds before sprinting back up. Do this recover-and-sprint cycle at least 10 times per workout. If it seems too intense, walk the stairs as fast as possible instead of sprinting.
A 200-pound person burns about 550 calories per 30 minutes of running stairs at a fast pace. This can vary depending upon your intensity level and number of stairs you’re running. Just in terms of calories burned, this example would lead to nearly a one pound loss of weight every two weeks assuming three 30-minute workouts per week. But looking exclusively at the number of calories burned with this workout would be selling it short. The other benefits of HIIT include improved insulin sensitivity, hormonal response and increased fat oxidation. These are all beneficial when it comes to burning excess belly fat.
Before tackling a huge set of stairs like you’re Rocky training for his next fight, it’s important to get a little practice running stairs at a smaller scale. One way to do so is by using a stair stepper machine at the gym. It simulates running stairs, and you can get a good workout doing so at a more moderate pace. You can also try running stairs in your home or at your apartment if they’re between 10 and 15 steps. Start slow and work your way up to a near dead sprint over a period of weeks. If you experience knee pain, you should stop and consult your physician. Running stairs isn’t a low-impact exercise, so it’s not right for everyone. If it is right for you, have fun trimming your waistline one step at a time.
Climbing stairs is a great work out.
Image Credit: lzf/iStock/Getty Images
If you crave muscular glutes, toned thighs and calves, and a kick-butt cardio workout, then it’s time to climb some stairs. Everyone from elite athletes to weekend warriors to beginners can climb stairs, making it an effective overall workout for all fitness levels.
Not only are stairs a fantastic cardio workout, but stair exercises for abs can also shred the fat around your waist and leave you with that flat stomach you’ve always desired.
Climbing stairs to lose belly fat isn’t a magic cure. In order to achieve the flat stomach of your dreams, you’ll need a multi-prong approach of diet, cardio and strength training.
Understand Why Stairs Work
When you walk or run upstairs, your entire body is utilized. From your calves and glutes to your arms and abs, every muscle is activated to propel your body upward. There are multiple ways you can climb stairs — slowly, quickly or in intervals. For optimal fat burn, it’s recommended that you climb stairs in high-intensity intervals.
According to an article published in the June 2015 issue of Kinesiology, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is more effective for removing abdominal fat than moderate-intensity continuous training. If you don’t have access to outdoor stairs, you can use a stair-stepper to mimic the movement, as demonstrated by ExRx.net. Set the speed on slow and avoid using your hands as much as possible.
Stair workouts can be an intense interval workout. As you walk or run up the stairs, your lungs and muscles are taxed. In order to climb more stairs, you must walk back down the stairs, allowing your lungs and muscles to recover during that time. Because of this type of intense work followed by recovery, stair workouts act as a high-intensity workout.
Climbing Stairs to Lose Belly Fat
Stairs are an exercise that almost everyone can do. If you’re a beginner, start by walking up stairs right in the comfort of your own home. As you progress, you can skip stairs and climb two stairs at a time.
For the intermediate to advanced athlete, try running stairs one at a time and two at a time. As you increase your speed, your distance and your repetitions, you’ll increase your heart rate and burn more fat.
To burn calories even after you’re finished with your workout, incorporate high-intensity intervals into your training. These HIIT workouts activate “EPOC,” or excess postexercise oxygen consumption, which means that you continually burn calories even after your workout is finished, as explained by the American College of Sports Medicine.
That means if you complete a HIIT workout and then watch your favorite show afterward, you’ll continue to burn calories while watching your show.
Proceed With Caution
Because HIIT workouts and sprints can be more intense on the central nervous system and the body overall, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you begin with just one HIIT workout a week. As you progress in your workouts, add a second interval workout a week.
Do not complete HIIT workouts back to back as your body needs time to recover in order to grow. Working out is catabolic, meaning it breaks your muscles down. Proper recovery time is needed for your muscles to repair and be ready for the next exercise day.
This 20-Minute Stairs Workout Burns Fat and Builds Cardio
Stairs workouts are among the quickest, most accessible, and straightforward ways to get in shape, fast. No, you don’t need a gym’s stair climber to do them. Find some stairs, run, jump, and step up them, come down, and repeat — that’s all it takes to burn a ton of calories, and, if you keep it up, lose weight. It’s an effective workout for a number of reasons: For one, it’s a heart rate exercise that’s equivalent to a sprint-style running session. Second, stair work adds up. Research has shown that taking just 200 steps a day, five days a week for 8 weeks, can improve cardio fitness by almost 20 percent. An added bonus: it’s a leg day workout that puts a minimal impact on your joints.
The biggest downside to stair workouts is that they get, well, boring. The workout below aims to solve this. It features 10 moves to shake it up and is intended to be a 20-minute sweat session. The faster you do each sequence, the higher your heart rate and the more calories you will burn. But it’s more important to practice good form than it is to be fast: Keeping your back straight, shoulders back, and knees over toes as you climb will build strength in the right muscles so you’ll be stronger the next time you tackle a stairs routine.
Stand at the base of the staircase. Raise your right leg and place your right foot one the second step (skipping the first step). Push off the floor with your left foot and shift your weight onto your right as you step up. Swing your left leg in front of you, bending your left knee, while swinging your right arm forward for counter balance. Step back down to start position. Perform 10 step-ups with your right leg, then switch sides. Do 3 sets total.
Mini Box Jumps
Stand at the base of the staircase. Bend your knees and swing arms behind you, then swing them forward as spring off the ground and propel yourself onto the second step. Land on both feet. Jump back down using both feet. Do 10 jumps x 2 sets.
Starting at the base of the staircase, sprint to the top as fast as you can, moving your feet rapidly like a football drill. Do the equivalent of 5 flights of stairs. That means if you only have a single flight to work with, you’ll sprint to the top, sprint back down, and repeat 5 times.
Sit on the second step, knees bent, keeping feet on the floor below the stairs. Place hands at either side of your hips on the edge of the second step, palms facing forward. (Note: If you are tall, sit on the third step instead.) Slide your hips forward until your butt is off the step, using your arms to support your weight. Bend and straighten your arms, feeling the burn in your triceps. Do 10 reps, 3 sets.
Stand at the base of the staircase. Work your way to the top taking three steps at a time. Pause in the lunge position between each step, allowing maximum load on your front quad with every step. Do the equivalent of 5 flights of stairs, jogging back down to the start and repeating if you only have one flight to work with.
Stand perpendicular to the staircase, right hip closest to the stairs. Bend right knee and step up onto the first step, bringing your left leg with you. Quickly step up onto the second step. Work your way to the top using your right side to propel you. At the top of the flight, work your way back down using your right side to lead you again. At the bottom, reverse and jog sideways up the stairs using your left side to lead the way. Jog back down left-side first. That’s one set. Repeat 3 times.
Incline Clapping Push-Ups
Stand at the base of the staircase. Place hands on the third step, arms straight. Keeping your back straight and in line with your legs, bend elbows and lower chest to the stairs. Hold for a second, then explosively push off the stairs and clap your hands together before landing in the extended push up position. Do 10 reps, 3 sets.
Stand with your back to the base of the staircase. Using caution, walk up the stairs backward, engaging your glutes and hamstrings with every step. Note: This moves requires a bit of balance and coordination (more than you might think!). Use the side wall for support with one hand if needed. For those more advanced, try this exercise at a slow-jog pace. Complete the equivalent of 5 flights of stairs.
Stand at the base of the staircase. Shift weight onto your right leg, lifting left foot off the floor. Bend right knee, swing arms behind you, then swing them forward as you push off the floor and jump onto the first step with the right leg. Hop back down, keeping left foot off the floor. Complete 10 jumps on right side, then switch legs. (Note: Use side wall for balance as needed.) Do 2 sets total.
Squat facing away from the stairs and the base of the staircase. Place your hands on the floor in front of you and shift your weight forward so your arms arm supporting your body. Keeping hands on the floor, walk your feet backwards up the stairs behind you until they are on a step that allows you to create a straight line from your extended arms to your toes (probably the third step). Keeping your back and legs straight, bend your elbows and do a push up. Note: Decline push ups are hard and it’s normal that you can’t go as deep as you would on a flat surface.) Do 10 reps, 2 sets.