We have teamed up with Body Logic Health, experts in running fitness and technique to bring you a range of training programs for those working towards a stair climb event this summer. The Broadgate Tower Run Up, anyone?
Before you jump into training it is important to note that undertaking any new challenge is not something to be taken lightly, Understand the scale of the challenge and assess your current fitness levels against the requirements of the task.
You may exercise regularly, you may even have competed in stair climb events in the past, and so have a good appreciation of what lies ahead. Alternatively it may have been some time since you attempted anything new, and so will need to work to build up your fitness levels and mobility to get the most out of your stair climbing experience. If you are unsure if you are fit enough to begin a training plan take a look at this sample health questionnaire for reference, but please check with your doctor.
Demands of stair climbing
Although ascending stairs is something most of us do daily, sustaining the effort for an extended period of time takes it to another level. It could be considered a moderate to highly skilled activity requiring multiple muscles and joints to coordinate with agility, endurance and efficiency. These working muscles need oxygen and fuel to perform; therefore the demand on the heart and lungs is increasingly significantly. Working against gravity only amplifies this demand.
If you are a complete beginner, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts and reduce your rest periods gradually too. If you are already fairly well conditioned from regular exercise or sport this principle will still apply due to the unique demands of stair climbing. For example, if you are a regular 5k runner your body is efficient at running but may not be familiar with the loads and ranges of movement associated with lifting weights or the demands of having to ascend stairs at pace with the frequent changes of direction required. It will take time to adapt your physiology accordingly.
Training for the stairs.
We have developed 3 training plans that will cater for the vast majority of participants ranging from people who are looking to start their fitness journey, through to those who are now just looking to change focus and adapt their training to be more stair focused. You will have a good idea of where you are on the fitness scale and so you can choose the plan that matches you. Whilst the plans provide structure, they also retain flexibility. Being realistic everybody has busy lives and so it won’t always be possible to follow the plans to the letter, but aim to get at least 3 sessions completed per week, ensuring that you include the prescribed cardio and at least one stretching session.
This is a key part of any workout where you go through the process of preparing your body for the rigours of your exercise session. In order to help you perform to the best of your ability it is well worth taking on an incremental cardiovascular warm up designed to safely increase your heart rate, blood supply to the working muscles, breathing rate and blood pressure. Light cardio is the best way to prepare the body – a gentle jog on the spot, or a static bike in the gym is perfect.
Clearly ascending stairs will be the most specific cardio training you can do, so try to include stairs where you can whether at home, at work, or on your commute. However, any form of cardio training as long as its done regularly and in a progressive manner over weeks and months will help to condition your cardiovascular system and improve your fitness. Power walking, running, cycling, swimming, 5 a side football, gym cardio machines are great examples.
Strength & Core
Strengthening legs and core will pay dividends when you get on to the stairs, and so each program incorporates relevant exercises to focus on these areas. A squat for example will recruit your glutes around the hips, erector muscles in the back, abdominal muscles in the trunk and compressional muscles in your deep abdomen – a fantastic all round strengthening exercise.
Additionally calf raises, sumo squats and lunges will add length strength. For the more advanced you may add in jumping lunges as well as burpees and jumping knee tucks over time if you feel strong enough, building fitness and strength.. Press-ups and tricep dips will also help your upper body prepare for assisting with the banisters. Your core exercises can include sit-ups, (reverse) crunches, planks, mountain climbers, or your own preferred exercise. Keep it varied for the best results here.
Rest days are essential to allow your body to recover and regenerate so there are a varying number of rest days across the plans. If you feel you would like to stay active on these days then please do so, but keep intensity light, or stick to a session of stretching.
Your training should be challenging, but enjoy it too, perhaps by undertaking the plans with friend. Training together and offering each other encouragement can be a great way of staying motivated. If you can, come and join The TotalMotion Towerrunners for Tuesday night sessions at Broadgate Tower. Remember the plans are a guide, don’t get disillusioned if you miss a session, just keep looking forward and keep your eye on the bigger picture. Good Luck.
Beginner Training Plan
Intermediate Training Plan
Advanced Training Plan
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