## Climbing Stairs

Ze

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BigMitch wrote:This is how I got my number:

Sin = opposite/hypotenuse

(sin)x(hypotenuse) = opposite

[sin(15 degrees)] x [(5280 ft/mile) x (3 mile/hr)] = opposite

sin (15 degrees) = 0.2588

[0.2588] x [15,840 ft/hr] = opposite

4099 ft/hr = opposite

Therefore, 4099 ft/hr are climbed at 15 degrees at 3 mph.

Q.E.D.

I think the grade on treadmills is measured in % not degrees...which would be vertical / horizontal.

y / x = 0.15 = inverse tangent (angle of incline)

if x is 3mph, then y = 3 * .15 = .45 mph. 0.45 mph * 5280 ft / mile = 2376 ft / hr.

Actually the hypotenuse is moving at 3mph (not horizontal) , although this doesn't make much of a difference at this grade. (2350 ft / hr would be more accurate)

Ze

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As for training, I agree to mix it up, but you should have it centered around the exercise that is most specific to your muscles when you climb Rainer.

IMO, that is hiking up steep stuff. If that is hard to access / hard to get time, get a treadmill and put something underneath the front (cinder blocks) and jack that grade up to something steep (30-50%?). Start with bodyweight and build up gradually to the weight of the backpack that you will actually need on the climb.

This will be more specific than running, cycling, and even stairclimber...although you should mix those in too.

BigMitch

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Ze:

Thanks for setting me straight on this! My assumption that the setting 15 meant 15 degrees apparently was all wrong.

Apparently, you have to measure the exact angle that your treadmill gives at a given setting.

I have been doing too many Runnervals workouts where Coach Troy barks out the change of incline in degrees.

I can buy that 2300 ft number, It is a hard workout, but not that hard.

Day Hiker

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BigMitch wrote:Apparently, you have to measure the exact angle that your treadmill gives at a given setting.

The answer given in that link is quite detailed, but there is one error.

6A. The 'percent grade' incline is the ratio h/r as a percent. For example, if the belt is 50 inches long between the marks and the difference, h, is 2 inches, that is a 2/50 or 4% grade.

6B. The angle of inclination is arcsin(h/r)

Length "r" here is denoted as the hypotenuse (per 6B), but the true definition of grade is rise over run, not rise over hypotenuse. This will make no measurable difference in the small angles pertaining to the treadmill application, but the way they defined it is technically wrong.

nhluhr

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Exercising on stairs (if it's all you really have) will be a huge benefit to your chances on Rainier but will neglect a lot of other things that you'll need, such as ankle stability, lower leg strength, etc. If you were to only climb stairs before going to rainier, you'd end up with tendonitis in your shins and calves when you do Rainier. In other words, try to get your feet on some inclines to work those crucial muscles that will be needed when your boot follows the contour of the land.

I think the MOST EFFECTIVE forms of training I did when i first decided I wanted to climb Rainier was a combination of lunges with weight (either a 20-40lb pack or a couple 10-20lb dumbells in your hands) and treadmill/hiking with a heavy pack.

Doing lunges with a loaded pack will have far more benefit for core strength/balance than just using dumbells. If you don't have all the gear for your Rainier climb and can't load up your pack (like, if you intend to rent or something), just get sacks of seed/corn/feed/etc and put those in your pack. They come in various sizes like 10, 20, 40lbs.

If you have access to an incline trainer or treadmill with incline, you can use that with your loaded pack and go at a walking pace with 15% or more inclination. (15% gradient is roughly 13.5 degrees...) Do not use the handrails on the treadmill!

You'll gain the most strength/power by going hard when you work out. Don't blow your top, but definitely try to workout with intervals of up around 90% of max heart rate.

If you want to combine anaerobic strength training with aerobic cardio work, always do the cardio AFTER your strength training. The reasoning for this is what your body uses as energy. Muscle fiber in an aerobic state (working only as hard as the bloodstream can supply oxygen) can burn glucose or fat but typically the glucose will go first. Anaerobic exercise however needs energy at a faster rate than can be metabolized so it will burn glucose quickly and when the body runs out of that, it will being to catabolize muscle fiber, which will be counterproductive. If you do cardio first, followed by weight training, you will have exhausted your body's glucose supply, not burned as much fat (if that's a goal), and ended up catabolizing your muscle fiber to supply the short term energy needs. By instead performing weight training first you will exhaust most of your glucose/ glycogen stores so when you hit the aerobic exercise your body is lacking in it's preferred fuel source (glucose) so now it'll be more apt to release and burn fat (again, if that's a goal).

You also need to mix in some long-slow-distance workouts... In other words, long (most of the day) hikes with your pack. Start with just the things you NEED in your daypack and add more crap as you build up your training. This is to toughen your tendons, joints, feet, shoulders, and get your body used to being worked for a long period of time.

Do these things and your jaunt up rainier will be ENJOYABLE with little or no physical problems.

nhluhr

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to further reinforce the above, check out this little infovid that Whittaker Mountaineering released:

Notice they show [Melissa Arnot] doing a combination of strength training (lunges, thigh extensions, leg extensions/curls, rubber-ball situps, etc) incline/step training (stairmill, treadmill with pack, stadium running), and actual long-slow-distance training (hikes).

Keep in mind, step-mills are NOT the same as actual steps because you're only pushing against a moving step to support your weight instead of actually lifting your weight with each step. The work you do will be drastically lower per step on a mill than on actual stairs. Also, don't be afraid of impact while training. Real activity that we train for is high-impact (walking on packed snow, rocks, down inclines, etc) so to train at low impact and then throw your body into the shit is just asking for pain.

Day Hiker

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nhluhr wrote:Keep in mind, step-mills are NOT the same as actual steps because you're only pushing against a moving step to support your weight instead of actually lifting your weight with each step. The work you do will be drastically lower per step on a mill than on actual stairs.

Hmmm. This is incorrect. There is no difference, unless you are holding the handrail. Simple physics dictates that pushing down on stationary stairs as your body goes up is identical to pushing down on moving stairs as your body remains stationary (except for the negligible amount of air friction on your traveling body in the former case). In either case, the forces of your feet on the steps and the total work performed are the same.

MoapaPk

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I would also take issue whether one needs impact exercise. An elliptical trainer set on a 20% grade, and high resistance and with no hands on the rails, can give you a real workout. That was my main source of exercise at a time when even a treadmill irritated a severe ITB injury. After 4 months, the ITB injury was cured, and I was able to start climbing immediately, with no ramping-up period.

nhluhr

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Day Hiker wrote:
nhluhr wrote:Keep in mind, step-mills are NOT the same as actual steps because you're only pushing against a moving step to support your weight instead of actually lifting your weight with each step. The work you do will be drastically lower per step on a mill than on actual stairs.

Hmmm. This is incorrect. There is no difference, unless you are holding the handrail. Simple physics dictates that pushing down on stationary stairs as your body goes up is identical to pushing down on moving stairs as your body remains stationary (except for the negligible amount of air friction on your traveling body in the former case). In either case, the forces of your feet on the steps and the total work performed are the same.
Perhaps you need a little less simple physics. The difference is equal to the potential energy gained by the change in height and is quite significant (approx 0.6 kcal per flight of stairs for an average man). Not to mention the additional benefit of core-stabilizing exercise that you get from actual motion.

Ze

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nhluhr wrote:Perhaps you need a little less simple physics. The difference is equal to the potential energy gained by the change in height and is quite significant (approx 0.6 kcal per flight of stairs for an average man). Not to mention the additional benefit of core-stabilizing exercise that you get from actual motion.

Day Hiker is correct. You have to switch the reference frame to that of the moving stairs. Relative to the stairs, the person is moving up. Also, gravity (potential energy) is still acting on the person. And whatever stabilization, since there is still the same relative motion between person and stairs.

nhluhr

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Ze wrote:
nhluhr wrote:Perhaps you need a little less simple physics. The difference is equal to the potential energy gained by the change in height and is quite significant (approx 0.6 kcal per flight of stairs for an average man). Not to mention the additional benefit of core-stabilizing exercise that you get from actual motion.

Day Hiker is correct. You have to switch the reference frame to that of the moving stairs. Relative to the stairs, the person is moving up. Also, gravity (potential energy) is still acting on the person. And whatever stabilization, since there is still the same relative motion between person and stairs.
Arbitrarily changing a frame of reference does not allow you to ignore the change in potential energy... which I specified above. This is the simplest of physics: PE gained = weight * height gained. If you don't go UP you're not doing that work to store PE.

Yes, you still have resistance and yes it is pretty close to actual, but it's NOT EQUAL and the difference in work output can be offset if you just use the stepmill at a faster rate but on a per-step basis, each step of a stepmill is less work performed than an actual step, not that it matters for the guy who started the thread, because he has actual flights of stairs to climb.

drjohnso1182

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nhluhr wrote:
Ze wrote:
nhluhr wrote:Perhaps you need a little less simple physics. The difference is equal to the potential energy gained by the change in height and is quite significant (approx 0.6 kcal per flight of stairs for an average man). Not to mention the additional benefit of core-stabilizing exercise that you get from actual motion.

Day Hiker is correct. You have to switch the reference frame to that of the moving stairs. Relative to the stairs, the person is moving up. Also, gravity (potential energy) is still acting on the person. And whatever stabilization, since there is still the same relative motion between person and stairs.
Arbitrarily changing a frame of reference does not allow you to ignore the change in potential energy... which I specified above. This is the simplest of physics: PE gained = weight * height gained. If you don't go UP you're not doing that work to store PE.

Yes, you still have resistance and yes it is pretty close to actual, but it's NOT EQUAL and the difference in work output can be offset if you just use the stepmill at a faster rate but on a per-step basis, each step of a stepmill is less work performed than an actual step, not that it matters for the guy who started the thread, because he has actual flights of stairs to climb.

Day Hiker's right. Determining where the energy goes is left as an exercise for the reader.

On topic, I agree with the experiences of those earlier who said that stair-climbing is a good workout but rough on the knees. It's also really boring, so try to convince some friends to work out with you; misery loves company and all that.

nhluhr

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drjohnso1182 wrote:Day Hiker's right. Determining where the energy goes is left as an exercise for the reader.

On topic, I agree with the experiences of those earlier who said that stair-climbing is a good workout but rough on the knees. It's also really boring, so try to convince some friends to work out with you; misery loves company and all that.
Well, you don't have to agree with me.... but if you for instance looked up a calorie counter that shows stairclimbing machines vs walking up stairs, you'd see the difference is around 20%...

But yeah, climbing stairs is extremely boring (only eclipsed by climbing stair machines). The majority of the impact however is on the downclimbing so you can just take an elevator down (if available) to avoid a lot of the impact.

Ze

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nhluhr wrote:Arbitrarily changing a frame of reference does not allow you to ignore the change in potential energy... which I specified above. This is the simplest of physics: PE gained = weight * height gained. If you don't go UP you're not doing that work to store PE.

Yes, you still have resistance and yes it is pretty close to actual, but it's NOT EQUAL and the difference in work output can be offset if you just use the stepmill at a faster rate but on a per-step basis, each step of a stepmill is less work performed than an actual step, not that it matters for the guy who started the thread, because he has actual flights of stairs to climb.

No.

What do you think potential energy is? It's due to gravity. Why don't you go ahead and draw a free body diagram, indicating all the forces acting on the human in both cases and compare. Relative to the stairs, in both cases, the person is moving up against gravity.

Calorie counters? You mean those crappy websites. Who knows what their estimates are based on.

Oh, given your stance you must also believe that running on an incline on the treadmill and running outside are drastically different (well they are different in the surface under the feet). However there is research showing the similarity between the two.

I'm not saying these things are identical, but they differ at more specific levels, not the general 'potential energy' level.

nhluhr

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Ze wrote:
nhluhr wrote:Arbitrarily changing a frame of reference does not allow you to ignore the change in potential energy... which I specified above. This is the simplest of physics: PE gained = weight * height gained. If you don't go UP you're not doing that work to store PE.

Yes, you still have resistance and yes it is pretty close to actual, but it's NOT EQUAL and the difference in work output can be offset if you just use the stepmill at a faster rate but on a per-step basis, each step of a stepmill is less work performed than an actual step, not that it matters for the guy who started the thread, because he has actual flights of stairs to climb.

No.

What do you think potential energy is? It's due to gravity. Why don't you go ahead and draw a free body diagram, indicating all the forces acting on the human in both cases and compare. Relative to the stairs, in both cases, the person is moving up against gravity.
<slaps forehead> why don't YOU draw the diagram.

Your weight is generated by the earth's gravity, not the steps on the machine. If you don't move through this field relative to its center, your potential energy is not changing. The only work you're doing is the kinetic energy it takes to move the step-mill around and scrub off that movement as heat.

Quite simply, if you don't move relative to the gravitational field, you don't change potential energy. This is a relatively simple definition and it does NOT allow for arbitrary frames of reference other than the gravitational field. I'm sorry you don't get it, but I'm not going to waste my time drawing diagrams for something that is EASILY visualized.

A step-mill is likely to provide a smoother force curve throughout the step but do not be fooled into thinking it is in any way the same as real motion (which, after all, is the end goal here anyway).

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