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Climbing Stairs

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Climbing Stairs

Postby aemter » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:33 pm

So I live in North Dakota and I'm training for Rainier in April. The old saying about "train to climb by climbing" doesn't work here as we don't have any climbing opportunities. So I've been humping up our state capitol building with a light backpack. I started out doing 36 flights and I'm now up to 54 flights in about 20 minutes. I do about 3x/week with other light weight training/cardio mixed in.

Are there any reasons why I shouldn't be relying so heavily on stair climbing in my training regimen? I haven't noticed any bad vibes from my body, even though I have had a minor knee sprain. As for amping it up, should I add more weight to my pack or just keep it light and do more flights?

Any other advice for training ideas not requiring close access to mountains? Thanks!! :D
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Postby mstender » Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:45 pm

At some point I exercised a lot on a stairclimber with a progressively heavier pack. Even though I did really improve my fitness I also messed up my knee and stopped doing it. I also belive that it is better to mix up things in the gym (biking, elliptical, uphill on treadmill etc.) and go for an occasional hike with a pack on the weekend, even though it might be flat around where you live. Instead of working with a pack on a stairclimber, I believe it is better to spend some time working on core and leg strength.
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Postby aemter » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:01 pm

Thanks for the input, guys. I forgot to mention one of the reasons I like climbing stairs is that I can step up using the front of my foot which focuses more on my calves and I can step flat-footed to focus on my quads. I started out walking down the stairs too, but have since switched to only walking down 18 flights on my final set instead of the entire 54 flights.

I have been XC skiing a bit and hope to amp that up. I'm pretty poor and I would rather spend $ on gear rather than a gym membership, so I'm trying to do things outside. It is pretty challenging in ND during the winter. :)
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Postby WileyCoyote » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:16 pm

aemtr,

How far from the Black Hills are you? If it's not too far a drive or bike ride across the state line that might be an option for better terrain to train?
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Postby aemter » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:20 pm

WileyCoyote wrote:aemtr,

How far from the Black Hills are you? If it's not too far a drive or bike ride across the state line that might be an option for better terrain to train?


I'm about 5 hours from the Black Hills. Wish I were closer!
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Postby WileyCoyote » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:30 pm

Maybe there's a hiking or climbing club/group out in ND that goes across the border to SD for those activities?
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Postby sidhayes » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:59 pm

I do not know why all you guys are dogging stairs! He's not going down them and there seems to be plenty of flights to climb at one time; better than "stadium stairs" Better than most of those silly stair steppers at the gym. I say, keep at it, just train in a progressive way.
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Postby lowlands » Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:15 pm

Sounds like a decent training method, part of a greater plan of course. I think you should dress in all of your gear and carry a radio with you, then constantly get on the radio, "staircase to base camp!" I'd get a laugh if I worked there.
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Postby MoapaPk » Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:21 pm

I live in a two-story house, and just go up and down the stairs about 120 times, in bare feet. 30% of the time I do presses or curls with two 10 lb dumbells -- adds cardio and increases the weight. When not using the weights, I take the stairs 2 at a time and sort of run up.
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Postby RayMondo » Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:48 pm

I too would go for mixing it up. Though I like stairs and repeatedly roared up 17 floors in minutes to go anaerobic when I was in training for racket sports. But stairs are quite different to hills because the foot remains on a flat plain. The lower leg action is quite different and so then heading for the hills you could feel it in the calves or hams. I'm not expert on that, only that there would a difference. Ksolem would know that. He might jump in here.

Stairs also don't cause side load to the ankles. So anything you can add to achieve that would strengthen and protect (to prevent sprained ankles in the hills). In the house you could flex the ankles over while holding on the kitchen worktop (careful with that one, it's easy to overstrain, so do start with a few). When doing stairs, make sure your shoes are not too grippy, otherwise with all those many turns, the knee could feel it.
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Postby bird » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:54 pm

As long as you are not hurting anything, stairs with a pack are great. The DC/Emmons routes on Rainier are walking up a hill, so if stairs are as close as you can get, great. 20 minutes at a time is another story. An hour at a time is much better. Be sure to get some long days (6 hr+) before you go. I'd also add in some bodyweight exercises, push ups, sit ups, pullups as often as possible. What training method you use is not as important as safely getting in the best shape of your life.
You are going to be climbing for 12 hours a day for 2 or 3 or more days. In April, you can expect full on winter conditions. IMO, 20 minutes of stairs with a light pack along with some light cardio will not cut it. You need to be training friggin hard. Check out some of the guide services and see what they recommend for training, check out www.mtnathlete.com, even read this chick's comments...http://trainingformtrainier.blogspot.com/ As long as you don't get hurt, you can't "overtrain" for rainier (As in "darn I was in too good shape and it was too easy...never happens).
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