Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stair Training

I was at a bit of a loss as to where to train with stairs for the Climb to the top event but then I remembered that when Hoboken Boot Camps was at a studio upstairs at the Monroe Center he had us running up and down a back staircase.
The staircase is a little creepy because I don't think it's used too much but I think it would be a good place for me to start working out with stairs.
Here is what I found about training and the benefits of stairs. I know I'm alone in the event itself but if anyone wants to pretend they are doing the climb and come and join me on the stairs, I'm going to start training in the middle of December. I'm going to start with two days and as the event gets closer try to do 3 or 4 days.

Stair Climbing

Five 2-minute sessions of stair climbing can give you a heart-pumping workout equivalent to 36 minutes of walking, according to a new study. When researchers tested 15 healthy but inactive young women (average age 18) for 8 weeks, those who worked up to climbing 199 steps in about 2 minutes, five times a day, posted a whopping 17% increase in cardio fitness levels compared with women who did nothing. The climbers also lowered their bad LDL cholesterol by 8%, an improvement that can cut heart disease risk by up to one-quarter. In a follow-up study, 29 older men and women (average age 40) did even less stair climbing (145 steps in 2-minute bouts, three times a day) and boosted their cardio fitness by 8%.

"I believe on average six weeks of running the stairs at least two times a week will do, if you're on a regular fitness program," she said. "Just to make it up to the top, start now and begin at least once a week on stairs and build a 10 percent weekly increase. Work your way to three times a week on the stairs and continue to cross-train on other days."

Benefits of Stair Climbing

Stair climbing burns about twice as many calories than any other sport or activity.
Because it is a grueling sport, stair climbing requires less time to do the same intensity of a workout. For example, if you run 30 minutes per day, the same workout intensity could be achieved with 15 minutes of stair climbing.
Stair climbing is a total body workout. It makes the arms stronger with the use of the arms pulling you up with the use of the rails (or banister) which is allowed and encouraged. Stair climbing especially builds muscle mass in the legs, including the quadriceps and calfs.
It is an aerobic sport as it works the cardio-vascular lung package.
Stair climbing becomes an anaerobic event after about 10 to 20 flights of stairs as it strains your aerobic capacity to hold an intense load on the cardio-vascular package to the top of a very tall building.
Since the contest is vertical, even a 70 story race up is not a total sprint and requires endurance, sprint, and muscular strength to complete in a fast time.
Stair climbing is excellent for cross-training. Runners, swimmers, cyclists, rowers, soccer (or football), and others find stair climbing to be helpful with its total workout. Cyclists, skiers, and rowers are especially attracted to the muscle mass in the legs which can be developed with stair climbing.
Stair climbing does not require the purchase of any expensive equipment. It can be done almost anywhere. You could practice stair climbing at any public place that has many flights of steps, including, but not limited to: your apartment building, condominium building, your house stairs, the stairs leading to a public building, the library, or at a gym.


Do a sufficient warm up by stretching out the legs, calves especially. Only go up 8 to 10 flights of stairs MAX. The method I used was referred to as "marching up, running down". Going up the stairs, plant your entire foot on the stair, don't just put half of your foot on the stair with your heel off the stair. Pick a pace and stick to it, although this is tough at the beginning and even tougher at the end when calorie intake is low etc.... With your arms at your side comparable to how a runner holds their arms, march up the stairs. On the way down hold onto the rail and run down. Don't go so fast that you could trip and fall - it's not a race. There is no stopping at the top or the bottom of the stairs; when you get to the bottom immediately turn around and march back up, when you get to the top immediately turn around and run back down. I used to keep a bottle of water at the top (eighth floor) and hurriedly grab a sip before heading back down. You get into a groove after a while and don't seem to miss a beat. I also wore a pouch around my waist to put my keys in and hold my walkman. Stair climbing without music will cause you to lose your mind, guaranteed.

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