Fitness

How to Increase Your Speed for Running Up the Stairs

How to Increase Your Speed for Running Up the Stairs


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Running up stairs can improve your speed.

Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Stair climbing isn't just great exercise, it's also a competitive sport. Sometimes called "tower running," stair climbing events are becoming increasingly popular, with more than 100 events held each year in the U.S., according to TowerRunning USA. Whether you're planning to compete in a stair-climbing event, or you just want to beat your friends in a stadium workout, include interval training, strength training and tempo training in your weekly routine to see a big boost in speed.

Sprint Interval Training

To climb faster, you have to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, which is the ability of your heart and lungs to use oxygen. According to a 2017 study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, doing short, intense spurts of stair climbing is an effective and time-efficient way to improve VO2 max, a measure of how effectively the body uses oxygen. In the study, 31 previously untrained women performed three sets of 20-second stair climbs at maximum effort three days a week. At the end of six weeks, VO2 max had increased 12 percent.

Strength Training

While stair climbing itself builds strength, the American Lung Association recommends that participants in its annual Fight for Air Climb perform strength training two days a week as part of a training program. The stronger your legs, the more effective they will be at producing force to propel you up the stairs.

After warming up and stretching, do a few sets each of wall sits, squats, forward and backward lunges and calf raises. Hold the wall sits for up to 60 seconds, and do 12 to 20 reps of the other exercises. A strong core will also help you generate more power, so include exercises such as planks, mountain climbers, bridges and Russian twists. Also, don't forget to do exercises for your upper body, such as pushups, rows and pullups.

Longer Tempo Climbs

In running, a tempo workout helps improve speed by developing the anaerobic or lactate threshold. The lactate threshold, during intense exercise, is the point at which lactate accumulates in the blood more quickly than the body can remove it. In association with the increase in lactate production, there's an increase in hydrogen ions that can interfere with muscle contraction and performance, according to world-renowned physiologist, Dr. IГ±igo San MillГЎn, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Tempo training consists of longer steady-state workouts at or near the lactate threshold. Over time, this improves the body's ability to clear lactic acid so you can climb longer and faster. To perform a tempo stair climb, climb steadily at a comfortably hard pace you could maintain for 30 minutes. According to Dr. Len Kravitz and Dr. Lance Dalleck of the University of New Mexico, maximal steady-state training should make up not more than 10 percent of your weekly training volume to avoid overtraining.



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