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Stair Climbing - Tabata-esque?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 29, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Hi all, wondering if someone could shed some light on this for me..

Going to start including some stair climbing into my weekly routine, I live in an apartment complex and I used to climb stairwell last year to great results and wan't to reincorporate it as I have noticed my lung capacity and endurance playing rec soccer each week is starting to take a rapid dip..

I do a Starting-Strength routine twice a week, on a Tuesday/Thursday usually around 30mins or so. I play rec soccer of a Monday and Wednesday night, total on pitch time tho is probably 20-30 mins.

Anyways last year when I did climb the stairs I would climb all 20 floors 5-8x a few times a week. Quite taxing on my breathing and took around 4-5mins to get from 1-20 each time and then ride the elevator down (as I read the impact going down would be bad on knees). All in all 5x would take 30-35 mins depending on elevator time.

I am wondering if simple climbing again would be good or reduce my # of climbs to say 2-3 and up the intensity instead.. so sprint 2 floors, climb two. Workout would probably be reduced to <20 mins maybe even less at around 15mins. Would this style be better than simple climbing and why?

Alternatively I was thinking of loading up a backpack with 20-30 lbs and climbing.. any thoughts on this?

Also if I simply walk down the stairs is the impact on knees that bad? As I was thinking I could just sprint two floors walk down 2, then sprint two floors again keeping the momentum going instead of going to the top and waiting for the elevator..

Thx

Also what is the impact

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on August 30, 2011
at 01:09 PM

I don't recall how often I was doing it when I started, maybe 2-3 times per week. I started with 13 floors, then 16, 19, 24, and finally 29, which took me 11:35. So about 2-3 weeks. I was going to start more slowly, but egging on by my coworker (with whom I was doing most of my early climbing) convinced me to push myself a little harder than I originally intended. After a few months, I could do 29 floors in 8:12 or so without sprinting, amidst a set of 125-130 floors at my peak.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on August 30, 2011
at 03:26 AM

wow! how long did it take to work up to 29 floors non-stop?

698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on August 29, 2011
at 10:37 PM

I like this idea.. I could start at 1 sprint 2 walk down 1 bringing me back to floor 2 then sprint 2 walk back down to 3 then sprint 2 more... would make the one climb take much longer but climbing a lot more and not wasting the 10-15 mins total elevator time. Ill experiment with this.. thx

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3 Answers

1
07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on August 29, 2011
at 09:57 PM

I've done it both ways. At my office I have access to a stairwell of 29 floors. I worked my way up to climbing 4 times in a lunch break. I'd do that 3x per week, sometimes all 5 days. It was great for building up my cardiovascular capability.

Later on, I started doing sprints. I'd climb the first 5 floors, and then do sprints of 4 floors a piece. I'd double-step while running and get up the 4 floors in about 20-22 seconds. I'd then wait until my heart rate came down to ... something. Usually 125 or so. Then another set of sprints, repeat until I got to the top.

As far as which is better - what's your goal?

I was doing IF and fasted stair climbing throughout, and I think I lost more fat with the steady climbing. But then again, I had more to lose when I started. And after all, the total time in the stairwell was easily 50 minutes or so when I was climbing 4x29floors vs. 15 minutes (including all the rest time) for the sprints.

And I've descended a lot of those flights of stairs with no damage to my knees detected. (I could only get in and out of the stairwell at the 1st and 24th floors, and I used to like to increase my floor count in increments of 5 (because I'm nerdy like that) so I'd have to do a lot of descending some days. To do another whole set I'd descend from 29 to 24 and take the elevator back to 1.)

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on August 30, 2011
at 03:26 AM

wow! how long did it take to work up to 29 floors non-stop?

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on August 30, 2011
at 01:09 PM

I don't recall how often I was doing it when I started, maybe 2-3 times per week. I started with 13 floors, then 16, 19, 24, and finally 29, which took me 11:35. So about 2-3 weeks. I was going to start more slowly, but egging on by my coworker (with whom I was doing most of my early climbing) convinced me to push myself a little harder than I originally intended. After a few months, I could do 29 floors in 8:12 or so without sprinting, amidst a set of 125-130 floors at my peak.

1
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on August 29, 2011
at 07:36 PM

i used to run stairs on my lunch break at work. i would do 3 sets of 5 stories up and down with 40 pushups at the end of each set every weekday. i walked down, being mindful of fighting gravity with each step. i never experienced any knee pain.
when i first started, i employed a strategy of 2 up/1 down- 3 up/1 down till i was able to do the entire 4 flights up at one run. then i worked on speed going up.
be careful with the added weight. i wouldn't attempt it till the stair run itself is no longer a challenge.

698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on August 29, 2011
at 10:37 PM

I like this idea.. I could start at 1 sprint 2 walk down 1 bringing me back to floor 2 then sprint 2 walk back down to 3 then sprint 2 more... would make the one climb take much longer but climbing a lot more and not wasting the 10-15 mins total elevator time. Ill experiment with this.. thx

1
7c9f81d68c78de1a31eab9c91c17b4b8

on August 29, 2011
at 06:45 PM

(Answered this since nobody has and I felt bad! Hopefully some of the seasoned people on here will chime in. Below is my experience with stairs...)

In the past I worked for a bodybuilding company and we ran the stairs at Red Rocks in Colorado. I remember not being able to walk in between very well. I don't do that anymore since I'm older now and I prefer less pain.

I think you'll have to experiment for boredom/results. I have done two different things in the last year...

--Perform my entire lower body lifts and finished off with 5 floors up and down. It kills me.

--Randomly get up from my desk every couple of hours and do 5 floors up and down on top of my regular weight workouts.

Anyway...more frequent stairs (2nd example) did hurt my knees but I noticed a lot more soreness in my calves, ankles, knees--both anabolic and tendons/joints soreness.

I prefer just doing the stairs now once a week after lower body weight training--I think it fatigues the muscle more and gives me tabata/HIIT-like results without having a catabolic effect (leaning out.)

I would say the weighted stair climbing is just pretty freakin' cool and studly. Your quads will hate you.

In any of the scenarios I would say less is more...coupled with some weight training and slow walking or sprints.

If you are just trying to increase your athleticism for soccer then I say more sprinting stairs but you may sacrifice some muscle.

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