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How to Train for a Stair Climbing Event

by
author image Beth Rifkin
Based in San Francisco, Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis," "American Fitness" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.
How to Train for a Stair Climbing Event
Young woman running up stairs. Photo Credit lzf/iStock/Getty Images

You need excellent strength, endurance and stamina whether you're training to run to the top of the Empire State Building in New York or the John Hancock Tower in Boston -- which is 61 flights of stairs and the equivalent to running a 5K race. Similar to running marathons, stair climbing events are not only a fun group activity, but also force you to whip your body into shape; few other forms of exercise are as demanding as climbing stairs. Your body is used to moving forward, not up, which creates a challenge for your leg, glute and core muscles. Train right and you’ll have an easier time getting to the top.

Step 1

Acclimate your body to moving vertical by taking the stairs whenever possible throughout your day. Even one or two flights can help with conditioning and muscle memory. Skip the elevator at work, the department store or your apartment building and opt for the stairs instead.

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Step 2

Increase the amount of stairs that your climb during your training sessions gradually. Injuries often take place when people become over-ambitious in their training and attempt too much too soon. Include stair climbing sessions in with other types of cardio activity, for example, jog for 10 minutes, climb stairs for five, jog for another 10 and finish with another five-minute stair session. Gradually increase the amount of time that you are on the stairs.

Step 3

Climb a large number of stairs at a slower pace. Train on bleachers or a tall building that allows you to continually climb stairs for 15, 20 or 30 minutes, depending on your ability. Keep the pace moderate, as the point is to increase your endurance. Pick your pace up over time.

Step 4

Spring up a flight of stairs, taking the stairs two at a time, then recover for 30 to 60 seconds by walking. Complete 10 to 15 repetitions, shortening your recovery time as you become stronger.

Step 5

Incorporate other training exercises to increase the strength in your legs two to three times per week. Examples include squats, lunges and jumping rope, all of which have a vertical element to them and are effective at creating power from the waist down.

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