Stair Workouts

Can Stair Workouts Help Runners Improve Their Running?

If you have reached a plateau in your training or looking for other ways to increase strength and power, stair workouts can be the next best thing for you.

Stair running has been shown to build power speed, and cardiovascular fitness, as well as strengthen the main muscles used in running.

In this article, we look at the benefits of stair running and whether or not, stair workouts can help runners get faster.


The Benefits Of Stair Workouts For Runners

Just like running hills, there are lots of benefits to running stairs. Some of these include; improved V02 max. This is because running stairs will help the body use oxygen more efficiently. This means faster paces on the flat will feel more comfortable.

Another benefit to stair running is that stair running can also help strengthen the quadriceps, calf, hamstrings, lower back, and arm muscles. These are all beneficial to the runner looking to strengthen muscles before moving into a more intense training cycle.

Research shows that running 60 steps three times a day for 6 weeks improved their peak oxygen uptake and peak power output.

While running stairs three times a day isn’t the best choice for runners, it just shows the benefits of adding stair running into your training program.

Because you need to push off each stair, this type of training can help build speed and power. It also helps the body recruit muscle fibers more efficiently. This means your energy expenditure will be lower, and you will be able to run faster and longer without fatigue settling in.

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Last but not least is running form. Running stairs is a great way to teach better running efficiency. Running stairs helps shorten your stride and emphasize your forward lean. These both can make your technique more efficient when running on the flat.


When Should You include Stair workouts In Your Training?

While there are many benefits to stair running, they should only be done through certain periods of training. First stair running should only be performed when you are not fatigued. This means they should be a solo session and not after another type of running workout or the day after a hard interval session.

Secondly, they should be incorporated into your training during or after your base training phase. IF stair running is incorporated during the most intense part of your training plan, you may not be able to complete your more important sessions.


Does Running Stairs Help You Run Faster?

In short, running stairs will make you faster if done correctly. Performing stair workouts twice a week for 8 weeks can help build foot and leg speed while improving your sprinting speed and overall strength.
Depending on what type of runner you are, stair workouts can be used in different ways to improve your overall speed and fitness.

A sprinter is more likely to benefit from more intense short stair workouts, while an endurance runner will benefit from longer repetitions.


Best Stair Workouts For Runners

There are many types of stair running workouts you can utilize in your training. These include:

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Pyramid Stair Workout
– Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes.
– Run up and down stairs for 2 minutes.
– Rest 60 seconds.
– Run up and down stairs for 3 minutes.
– Rest 60 seconds.
– Run up and down stairs 4 minutes.
– Rest 60 seconds.

Stability Stair Workout
– Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes
– Perform 3 x 100 stride-outs (walking back as recovery) to wake up the muscles and increase your heart rate.
– Do 6 x 15 single-step sprints
– Do 6 x 15 double-step sprints
– Do 4 x 40 single steps with lateral bounding
– Do 6 x 10 double-leg jumps
– Warm down for 10-15 minutes

Endurance Session
– Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes
– Perform 5 x 100 stride-outs (walking back as recovery) to wake up the muscles and increase your heart rate.
– Run up the stairs for 5 minutes
– Jog down as recovery
– Run up the stairs for 5 minutes
– Jog down as recovery
– Run up the stairs for 5 minutes
– Jog down as recovery
– Run up the stairs for 5 minutes
– Warm down for 10-15 minutes


Final Words

Stair workouts generally fit into the category of plyometrics or neuromuscular training. Because of this, regular stair workouts can decrease injury rates, improve speed and agility, improve your vertical jump height, and improve your ground contact time.

Just remember running stairs can also be dangerous. Make sure you perform workouts on stairs when dry, and take your time running back down the stairs. Otherwise, you may find you may actually increase the chances of injury.

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If you are susceptible to calf problems, make sure you are 100% healthy and have no underlying calf problems before introducing these types of workouts into your training.

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