How to Prepare for Stair Climbing

Athletic woman running up bleachers

Stair climbing is both an intense cardiovascular exercise and a resistance training exercise. According to, you can burn between 600 to 1,000 calories per hour climbing stairs. Choose to either climb a set of stairs in your house, several flights of stairs in an apartment or office building or use a stair climber exercise machine at your gym. Several flights of stairs or an exercise machine are preferable to a single flight of stairs because you won't burn as many calories running back down the stairs and there is a greater risk of injury associated with running or walking down stairs.

Warm up your body for five to 10 minutes before starting your stair climbing exercise. To warm up, walk or lightly jog in place, on a treadmill or around the block.

Perform dynamic stretches to increase your range of motion and reduce your risk of injury. Save the static, longer-held stretches for after your workout when your muscles are warm and limber. Dynamic stretches include side bends, leg lifts and high-knee marches. To perform leg lifts, stand up tall and shift your weight over your left leg. Swing your right leg forward, raising the leg as high as possible. Swing the leg back through center and behind you, lifting the leg as high as you can. Continue to swing your right leg back and forth, gaining a little more height with each repetition. Perform 20 to 25 repetitions before switching sides.

Perform strength training exercises regularly to prepare your body for stair climbing. Stair climbing can be taxing on your muscles, so the stronger your muscles are the less fatigue and stress you'll feel. You'll need to target your quadriceps, calves and glutes to strengthen your stair-climbing muscles. Some exercises that target these muscles include squats, lunges and calf raises. To perform a squat, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower your hips until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Do not let your knees slide beyond your toes in this position. Press your feet into the floor firmly and straighten your legs back to the starting position. Perform 12 to 15 repetitions, working your way up to three sets.


Perform two to three days of strength training per week and schedule at least one day of rest in between strength training sessions. Feel free to perform other exercises like stair climbing or running on your strength training rest days.

Climb the stairs for at least 25 minutes, three times per week to satisfy the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's physical activity guidelines. You can also break your sessions down into several five- to 10-minute chunks spread out over the week.

Breathe deeply and evenly in each exercise. Do not hold your breath.


Speak to your doctor if you are new to exercise or have an existing medical condition.