Stairs Running To Get Fit: An Overview
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Stairs Running To Get Fit: An Overview

11th Oct 2012
Training

Running stairs is an exercise with many benefits. It can be done anywhere, at home, work, the gym. It’s a workout by itself or an excellent addition to fitness training. Strengthen the core, lose weight and develop endurance simultaneously.

Running stairs melts fat. It’s used by track athletes, martial artists, basketball and soccer players. It increases endurance and helps make short distance sprinting easier.

The ABCs of Stairs Climbing

Find Your Rhythm

Some say it’s better to run stairs skipping every other step. While it can ensure a decent stride frequency and maximize speed, hitting every step doubles the exercise, helps develop balance and increases muscle development. It’s excellent for the quadriceps, the front of the thighs, as well as the buttocks.

Outside of leg muscles, it’s also an outstanding exercise for the heart as you carry body weight against gravity.

Good Climbing Posture

It shouldn’t be only legs getting the workout. Engage the entire body. Lean forward slightly from the hips and keep the back straight. Never round the lower back area. Arms should be in full motion. Keep them semi-flexed. Elbows in and shoulders down. Don’t let your chin drop. Your line of vision should be focused on the top of the stairs while keeping an eye on the stairs. Avoid bending the head throughout the exercise. Push with your thighs and avoid extending your legs. That will put too much strain on the knees. Run with the legs semi-flexed and slightly bent as you hit each step.

Use the Toes

Step on the toes, specifically between the toes and mid-foot. Remind yourself constantly to not land on the heel.

Use the Toes

The Role of the Posterior Chain

The posterior chain is a series of tendons, muscles and ligaments located at the back of the body. Many of them are important to running stairs. When running, expect the calves, hamstrings and glutes(the buttocks) to handle the majority of the movement. The glutes, or gluteus maximus, make up the appearance and shape of the buttocks. All these muscles should be in play. Don’t push through the knees alone. Use the posterior and extend the hips.

Posterior Chain

Mental Preparation

Running stairs is an easy and challenging method for staying in shape. If not done properly though, there’s the possibility of injury, everything from sprains to broken ligaments.

Going Up!

When a bodybuilder pushes weight, they imagine it as a power move. Every step run has to be viewed the same way. Actively put every part of the body into the climb. Drive yourself to the top step and beyond. Produce the force that creates what is called a triple extension of the knees, hips and ankles.

Triple extensions require preparation. Run in place in front of a full length mirror. Are you extending at the ankles, hips and knees? It could seem like a minute detail, but a professional athlete is aware that properly straightening the ankles by itself has a tremendous impact on not just safety, but power. Done right, the move can increase your workout’s potential boost by 5% to 15% per session.

Going Up

You also want to look out for appropriate landing on the feet. For each step, pull the toes toward the shin. Landing on the toes with the heel turned up can cause pain and damage to the shin, hamstring, hip flexor and knees. In time, it can produce back problems and other core issues. Try to take each step with the toes up, weight on the balls of the foot, pushing through the leg.

Coming Down!

A lot of problems occur when we reverse direction. This is mostly because we’ll pay less attention to form as we experience fatigue. This can lead to less focus, allowing simple momentum to guide us. We run the risk of losing power that will be needed to get back up effectively and efficiently. Also keep in mind gravity and poor biomechanics can aggravate tightness and will cause muscle soreness.

There are ways to avoid this. On the way down, we tend to let the knees take most of the impact. It should be going to the hips. Decrease the possibility of injury by focusing on letting the glutes absorb the impact and not dropping that foot.

Do keep the knee aligned with the second toe. Also, as stated in the previous paragraph, let the hip work with the feet. We naturally hike the opposite hip side as we step. Your hips should be behind you, maintaining the posture you used going up. The hand rail can be utilized going down until you’ve gotten comfortable using the hips correctly.

When In Action...

Have a light meal. There’s no need to overdo the carbohydrates, as this isn’t an endurance race. A good protein shake with perhaps a banana is more than enough energy.

Start out slow: walk the stairs. Or jog. The most common mistake new climbers make is going too fast too soon, burning out early. They end up pushing too far and getting physically ill. You need to develop momentum. Up, down, rest a half to a full minute and do it again. Gradually increase speed and repetitions. Up and down once is the equivalent of a rep. How well you’re doing should be gauged by time. The longer you can do it with the most reps. This should include a cool down, which is essentially walking down at the end.

Drink water during and after the sessions. If you’re getting red faced, feeling dizzy and nauseous or disoriented, etc., those are signs of hyperventilation.

This video shows you how to properly do a stairs running workout for maximal results.

Running stairs is one of the most effective and easy ways to get in shape. This drill is inexpensive, requiring no equipment or membership fees. Start small, increase difficulty at your pace and marvel at the results. Watch your body strength and mental confidence grow utilising running stairs as a heath tool.

And if you’re able to follow these simple tips and rules consistently you’ll be well on your way to getting to the top of Swissôtel this November!

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