THE STAIR WORKOUT

No matter where you are, you can squeeze in this kick-butt high-intensity workout. All you need is a set of stairs.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
No matter where you are, you can squeeze in this kick-butt high-intensity workout. All you need is a set of stairs.
 
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It’s no wonder that stair workouts are a coach fave – they make for exceptional conditioning. And the beauty is that you don’t need skyhigh flights or bleachers to net their magic. “You’d be surprised by the highintensity training you can get on a flight of stairs,” says Hannah Davis, a strength and conditioning coach and the creator of Body by Hannah online fitness programs.

“You can add a challenge to almost any move you do on flat ground, improving your power, cardio capacity, and agility,” she says. Simply bounding up steps is a hit of plyometrics, which burns an unreal 484 calories in half an hour, while the tiered levels let you go super low for things like single-leg squats (since your raised leg can go down below your platform).

And switching things up from your usual gym drill to see some sky can make this recharge all the more potent. A recent study published in PLOS One found that taking a brisk walk outside instead of on the treadmill was more effective at decreasing anxiety and fatigue, and boosting happiness and calm.

Hannah created an allin-one cardio and strength workout for Shape using just three stairs. You’ll get that burst of plyometrics, plus the built-in core tightening that comes from taking total body exercises to a whole new level.
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HOW IT WORKS

Find a set of stairs with at least three steps. Repeat each mini circuit three times before moving to the next one.

CIRCUIT 1

A HOPSCOTCH JUMP

Standing on ground facing steps, jump onto first step, landing with right foot. Then jump both feet out, landing in squat on same step. Repeat, jumping to second step, landing with left foot. Continue to top, alternating sides. Walk back to start. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 reps.

B DIPS AND REACH

Sit on bottom step with knees bent, feet flat on ground. Place hands on edge of step with fingertips pointed forward, then lift butt so it hovers just above and in front of step. Bend elbows to lower butt towards ground. Push back up. Straighten left leg as you reach right hand to tap left foot. Return to start. Repeat left. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 reps.

Repeat Circuit 1 three times.

CIRCUIT 2

A BULGARIAN LUNGE

Facing away from steps, place top of right foot on first step. Bend both knees until back knee almost touches ground. Return to start. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

B TRAVELLING PLANK

Start on ground in plank on palms with steps in front of you. Walk one hand at a time up to first step, then second, maintaining plank position. Reverse movement back down to ground, one hand and one step at a time. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 reps.

Repeat Circuit 2 three times.

CIRCUIT 3

A UNEVEN CURTSY DEPTH LUNGE

Stand on first step, facing right. Step left foot onto third step, coming into uneven squat. Push through right heel and lift left leg, landing left foot on ground behind and diagonal to right foot, coming into curtsy lunge. That’s 1 rep. Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

B STEP JUMP WITH DEAD LIFT BALANCE

Balancing on right leg, hop up to first step. Hinge at hip, extending left leg behind you and reaching down to second step with left hand. Return to start. That’s 1 rep. Do 5 reps, continuing up steps. Turn so right side is facing stairs and do high knees laterally down steps to ground. Switch sides; repeat.

Repeat Circuit 3 three times.