Stair climbing is a great sport that improves the fitness level of each participant and burns more calories than walking or running. To climb successfully, the American Lung Association strongly urges all participants to train before embarking on the ascent.
To help you prepare, we’ve assembled a Fitness Training Guide with tips, exercises, and a complete training schedule to help you do your best. Below are a few tips to get you started:
Always warm up your muscles and stretch before you begin.
- Pick a tempo that feels right to you and stick with it. Once you get the steps down, you can begin working with a quicker pace.
- Place your entire foot on the step each time you climb. Keep your arms by your sides or hold onto the handrails.
- Keep a bottle of water at the top of the stairs so you don’t have to carry it with you. Have a snack available if you feel low on energy.
- Listen to music! It will help propel you up the stairs.
- Cool down. Take a quick walk and stretch major muscle groups.
- Build a foundation of fitness and an aerobic base (cross training is always advantageous).
- Find activities that tax your lungs and legs such as running, walking, or biking a steep hill.
- For those of you that work out at a gym, a Step Mill and/or Stair Master are also good training. Climbing stairs on a machine delivers a lower impact workout than actual stairs. If you are using a machine, try not to hold onto the rails, avoid leaning forward, pump your arms like you are running and try to keep your feet flat.
- More serious stair climbing should commence about six to eight weeks prior to the event. Keep in mind that there is no replacement for climbing actual stairs.
- Gradually increase your stair climbing days, while continuing to cross train on off days. Any stairwell will do - work, home, parking garage, mall.
- To help build lower body strength, climb every other step.
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