Workout of the Week: Stairs

Speedskaters run stairs to work the legs and build cardiovascular fitness. For runners, this workout builds leg strength and helps give you a more explosive stride.

Rear view of a woman running up stairs at an outdoor stadium

Base training for short track speedskating occurs in the early spring and summer months, which means a lot of training outdoors before the hours on the ice ramp up. Mostly this involves cycling, but once a week my team would train with hill sprints. And on particularly hard weeks, we’d run the stairs at the football stadium.

Stair workouts are a type of plyometric movement that can build leg strength and give you a more explosive stride in your run. They are a great session for the end of a hard week or training block.

The goal is to run through each rep without stopping: as soon as you reach the top, use the descent as your rest. Once you get to the bottom of the stairs, it’s time to go back up again. If you do need to take a breather—especially if you start tripping from fatigue—take a few seconds at the top.


The number of stairs will be dependent on what’s available to you. Sport stadiums, outdoor concert venues, or the stairwell in your apartment complex are all good options. It should take about 2-3 minutes to get from the bottom of the stairs to the top when running up one step at a time. You want these to be fast, but paced well enough that you’re not completely burned out before reaching the top. If you feel the length of stairs is too short, add a third round to the main set.

After you’ve warmed up with the jump rope, prime your legs by doing single-leg lateral hops up each step. Do 10 on one leg, then switch legs and do 10 more facing the same direction. Turn to face the other way and do 10 on each leg in the other direction. Focus on control rather than speed so you don’t catch yourself on a step. Keep moving up as you go and use the descent as the rest before the main set.

Workout of the Week: Stairs


3 × 1 min. on/1 min. off jump rope
10 × single-leg lateral hop, 1 step at a time (4 ways)

Main set

2 sets:

3 × stair run as

  • First rep, run up every step
  • Second rep, skip 1 step
  • Third rep, skip 2 steps

Set rest 5-7 min.


5 min. easy jog on a flat surface