Stair or Hill Climbing

What makes you a better runner? Well, besides running? Stair climbing is actually a great help - it’s the same plyometric motion that works your heart and lungs, and strengthens the same muscles as lunges and squats. You are increasing the strength and power you need for running as you work against the force of gravity. It even works out muscles that are neglected on a typical run, like the gluteus medius, because you are working one leg at a time.

What To Expect From Stair Climbing and Hill Climbing

Some races, like the Empire State Building Run-Up, make it a point to include stair climbing as a part of the race. Whether you are racing or just exercising for yourself, stair and hill climbing have a massive impact on your body and how you run. It helps you reach your anaerobic threshold, which means your body creates more lactic acid than it can process, and you’ll be able to increase your speed. Some people actually prefer to go up stairs slowly and race back down, to work on their calf muscles as well as build mid-distance endurance.

How to prepare for Stair or Hill Climbing

Warm up for 10 minutes pre-workout, to stretch out your muscles and prevent injury. If you are using a stairmaster at the gym, set a steep incline but don’t set it to the same speed as you would when jogging normally. A quick-paced walk will still make you feel the burn and may already push you to your limits with the steeper angle.

The Advantages Of Stair Climbing or Hill Climbing

Because you are going upwards and accelerating your heart rate, you begin to breath more rapidly as your body requires more oxygen. This increases your Vo2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can convert into energy as you exercise. As your Vo2 increases, you are able to run longer, and faster, so it is a great way for runners to push themselves. In a study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, young women were found to have increased their Vo2 max by 17% when they added stair-climbing to their exercise routine five days a week for eight weeks.

Tips for Success in Stair or Hill Climbing

Stair climbing is typically a bit steeper than hill climbing, so you could begin with hills and work your way up. There are different ways to utilize climbing: you can run hard up stairs or a hill for 10 minutes, which will help increase your endurance as your body pushes through it fatigue. Or you can run up for 20 to 30 seconds before coming back down, and repeat that for 20 to 30 minutes for short bursts of explosive power.

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