Five facts about stair running

Posted: December 23, 2013 in News
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1. Stair running is a low-impact form of exercise that is easy on the joints. It is, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, a suitable training method for people with problem knees and is enjoyed by people well into older age. Many of the world’s top-level tower runners are in their 40s.

2. Flat level running doesn’t have much crossover benefit for tower running, but stair climbing has great crossover potential for running. We have found this to be true in our own experiences. Having taken time out to train exclusively for stair running events, we returned to flat-level racing for a one off pair of 5k and 10k races and clocked PBs in both.

3. Stair climbing is one of the best, and quickest ways, to improve your cardio endurance. In terms of the benefits you get, a 15-minute session of tower running is equivalent to about an hour of flat level, steady-state running.

4. Vertical training provides a balanced workout for the legs, engaging the hamstrings and glutes more effectively than many other forms of cardio. Overemphasis on the naturally stronger quads, which is common in some forms of exercise, can lead to imbalances and injuries. Stair climbing can help combat this.

5. Stair climbing burns more fat than most other forms of training. PJ Glassey from Seattle’s X-Gym explains it like this: “If you push hard when you train and don’t let up when your legs and lungs tell you to, your body will assume you have moved to a very hilly area with lots of saber-toothed mountain goats and you must be running away from them for survival. It therefore adapts by making you lighter. It also realizes that you need stronger muscles for faster escape, so it selectively chooses the fat to burn off since that is a non-contributing tissue when it comes to retreating from the saber-tooth mountain goat attacks.”


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