in: Featured, Fitness, Health & Fitness

• Last updated: June 1, 2021

Burn Off That Pie, No Equipment Necessary: The Stair Workout

Rocky Balboa running on stairs in rocky movie.

Editors note: This is a guest post from Chad Howse.

Did you wake up with a pumpkin pie-induced hangover this morning, feeling more like a butterball than a man?

You’re ready to slough off that tryptophan haze and get yourself moving again. You want to do a full body workout that’s really going to make your muscles burn. But maybe you’re a college student home for the holiday or visiting a place far from your local gym. What to do?

72 stones steps.

Remember those 72 stone steps Sylvester Stallone made famous in the Rocky movies? “Gonna fly now” comes to its apex as Rocky reaches the top of the stairs at the entrance to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. That image shows you don’t need any equipment to get a killer, heart-pounding, lung-burning workout. All you need is a set of stairs and a fighter’s mentality.

For this stair workout, we’ll be doing much more than simply running up the stairs. We’ll really train on them. Today, stairs are our universal gym, our incline and decline bench. They’ll provide the obstacle and the resistance, and I’ll provide the method to make a simple set of stairs the only piece of exercise equipment you need.

The Stair Workout

The Set-up

Find a flight of stairs with at least 20-30 steps. Follow the workout chronologically, resting only after each set is finished — I’ll clarify this in the video below.


Jog up the stairs at 75% of your max speed for 5 sets — one set should equal 30 steps. If you only have 20 steps, that’s fine, just do 6 sets instead.

Rest 60 seconds, then begin the circuits.

Circuit #1

Start at the base of the staircase.

A1. 20 push-ups

A2. Sprint (5 flights)

A3. Decline Push-ups (feet on 3rd step)

Rest for 60 seconds, repeat 2x


B1. Bounding – Jump to highest stair possible – 6 reps (start from base)

B2. Jumps – start from 1st step, drop down, jump to second – 10 reps

B3. Mountain Climbers – 30 reps

Rest for 60 seconds, repeat 2x

Circuit #3

C1. Bulgarian Split Squat – 20 reps each leg

C2. Sprints – 5 flights

C3. Split Squat Jumps – 20 reps each leg

Rest for 60 seconds, repeat 2x


Start by doing 15 push-ups on the ground, flat. Then immediately do 15 push-ups on the first stair with your feet on the ground. Then the second, third, fourth, and finally 15 on the 5th stair.

Watch for how to do the workout:


1. To make your push-ups more difficult, take a look at this quick video:

2. Take your time on the larger stair jumps where you’re bounding from the bottom, to the highest stair possible. Always try and improve, but don’t get over-ambitious — concrete stairs and shins don’t go well together.

3. By using a wider hand-placement with your push-ups, you focus more on the outer chest and shoulders. When you bring your hands closer together, you not only focus more on the inner chest and the triceps, it makes the push-up more difficult as well.

Rocky Balboa standing near stairs and showing his victory.

This is how you will feel when you are done.


Chad Howse, author of the PowerHowse Challenge and founder of Chad Howse Fitness, is a former skinny guy and amateur boxer. Chad created his company to help men become their own hero. Check out Chad’s site: Be Legendary: Unconventional Tactics for Life, Fitness, & Work.

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