The 20-minute Stair Workout to Light up Your Legs

Dave and Les Jacobs

Can’t get to the gym but need to get some cardio in? Chances are you already have a great option right in your house—or a nearby park or track.

Stair climbing is one of the most effective ways to work your lower body while building cardio endurance and burning fat,” explains Ariane Hundt, founder of New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp.

Plus, regular stair workouts will up your VO2 max (how much oxygen your body uses during exercise) and boost your metabolism for up to 36 hours after you’re done, she adds.

This 20-minute workout put together by Hundt burns more than 200 calories while it targets all the major muscles—especially legs and glutes. Do it on a staircase with at least three flights, or about 50 stairs. (If you can’t find one this big, just turn around at the top of a flight and repeat.)

Finish the routine with a few minutes of stretches.


Duration: 5 minutes
Why it’s effective: Activates glutes and legs

  1. 20x Squat: Keep feet hip-width apart, stretch arms in front; push heels into floor, and squeeze glutes as you come up. Finish with a 30-second squat hold.
  2. 15x Stationary Lunge: Complete 15 reps per leg, and finish each set with a 30-second lunge hold.
  3. 20x Squat Jump: From squat position, jump up, then land in a deep squat position.
  4. 20x Reverse Lunge: Complete 20 reps per leg.
  5. 20x Curtsy Lunge: Complete 20 reps per leg.

20-minute stair routine

Directions: Rest 20 sec. between rounds.

Round 1
Run up 3 flights (about 50 stairs) at a modetate pace, 1 stair at a time. Jog back down, then hold a 60-second wall squat.

Round 2
Run up 3 flights at a faster pace, taking 2 stairs at a time. Jog back down, then hold a 60-second plank.

Round 3
Jump up 3 flights (with legs together, starting and landing in a squat), taking 1 or 2 stairs at once. Jog back down, then do 20 pushups.

Final push
Repeat all 3 rounds, but double the flights from 3 to 6.

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!