How to Exercise with a Staircase on a Two Story House

by Annie on March 22, 2009 · 11 comments

in Exercise & Injuries,Healthy Living

spiral-staircaseEven though I have been too busy to workout with my dvds, I have been using my Stairmaster. When you live in a two story house, you have a built-in Stairmaster at home. There is no need to travel to some distance gym to get a cardio workout when you have a fully functional staircase at home. Yep, I fully intend to wear out my newly installed carpet on the staircase before any other part of the house. My husband thought I was joking when I announced my intentions a couple of days ago. This post discusses some exercises we can do at home with our staircase. And yes, we can work out most of our body with just a little bit of imagination.

Cardio workout on the staircase

As I unpacked, I find myself walking up and down the stairs, taking things out of boxes downstairs and putting things in the upstairs hall cabinets. It dawn me after the fourth trip that I am slightly breathless. My first thought was “gosh, three weeks of inconsistent exercise and I am ready out of shape!” Then I realized that I do not get on Stairmaster holding 10 pounds of stuff and quickly running down to reload. Of course, I am breathless. I am exercising!

After that realization, I started taking one item at a time, still at a brisk pace, but over a 45 minutes time period. Boy, was I sweating when I done.

However, my husband not too happy with the fact that it took me 45 minutes to unpack 3 boxes. But after my first incident, he just move a few boxes closer to the staircase when I announce that I am going on the Stairmaster after dinner. He rolls his eyes and gives me his amused smile. Who cares! I am exercising!

Step aerobics exercises can also be modified to work on a staircase for cardio. Examples include:

-repeater knees

-toe taps

-alternating knees

Strength training on the staircase

Upon my realization that I can get my cardio workout on the staircase, I started thinking about what other creative ways to exercise with my staircase. Here is a list of what strength exercises I am doing (let me know if there anything else you can add to the list). I am including links to YouTube videos on exercising with a staircase.

Upper Body

-incline pushups.

Like most women, I am weaker in my upper body than my lower body. Doing pushups on the stairs allows you to control how much of your body weight you put on your arms. The steeper the incline, the less of your body weight you feel on your arms.

-tricep dips.

Say good-bye to bat wings when you wave. You should feel this exercise on the back of your upper arms. Your butt should be only an inch or so away from the edge of the stair.

Lower Body

-leg extensions

Do not arch your back. You want to feel this on the back of your upper thighs and on the butt.

-calf raises

Don””t forget to stretch after doing these calf raises.

-lunges with bicep curls

Even people with knee issues often find lunges on a step manageable.


-Reverse plank with leg lift

You can slowly build up to left lifts. Holding the reverse plank is enough of an ab workout. Also consider holding the plank pose.

-Side plank

I love doing the side plank. To make this more challenging, once you are in the pose, consider lifting up one inch and holding.

Thoughts on Exercising on a Staircase

The thing about exercising on a staircase is that it can be quite boring. No sounds or windows to stare out at. And day dreaming could result in a tumble down the stairs if I am not paying attention to my footing. It would be embarrassing to have to explain to my doctor, while she is casting my leg, that I was trying to stay healthy by walking up and down the staircase. I can just imagine the ironic lift of her eyebrow while she glances at my cast.

Listening to an audiobook on my ipod and using my new Mio Motiva heart rate monitor helps with combating this boredom. But the great thing about exercising on a staircase is that I only need to do it in 15 minutes block of time. Once I start to zone out, it is time to get back to unpacking. And when I am feed up with unpacking, I get back on my staircase exercises. Yes, I can see this being the perfect workout for me until I get settled.

Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.

Photo by: Alistair young.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips March 24, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Wow. A very novel way to work out. Think my flatmates would get quite annoyed with me hogging the staircase though :-)


asithi March 26, 2009 at 8:10 pm

@Tom – Just make them think that you are doing it all for them. That is how my get my husband to let me do crazy things around the house by telling him: ‘Honey – I am only wearing out the new carpet for you. I want to stay healthy for you. Really it is all for you!”‘ Although with flatmates……hmmm…you will be to mighty creative to spin it.


Sagan March 26, 2009 at 7:14 pm

GREAT advice- this is the kind of stuff I love to do.

Sagans last blog post……Product Review: POM Juice


asithi March 26, 2009 at 8:32 pm

@Sagan – That is the only way to make a healthy lifestyle sustainable. We got to look for physical activity whenever the chance present itself. Thanks for the comment.


Brian April 1, 2009 at 5:47 am

I just posted about a nice stair workout so this post is a big help for more awesome improvements! Added you to my blogroll, thanks for the good post!


asithi April 1, 2009 at 6:56 am

@Brian – Thanks for the add. I cannot believe that you are running the Great Wall Marathon. That is awesome! I cannot believe that you are willing to run on a cobblestone like surface with uneven widths and rises on the stairs. Hopefully, no twisted ankle for you. :D


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