Becoming Stairclimb Ready

Firstly, a big thank you to G-Rex Fitness for giving us this information, hopefully you’ll find it useful in the lead up to the big day!

To Consider Before Exercise

Before starting any type of new activity, it’s always important to ensure that you’re going to be ready for what you’re going to do. Although exercise is a healthy and advisable activity to do, you may want to get advise from your GP to ensure that no harm can be caused, especially if you have any underlying injuries. My view is that you’re better  losing a couple of days training through injury management, rather than do further damage and put yourself out of action for a couple of months (something that I know all too well). Look after yourself, we’re all here to enjoy the experience and have a good event. 

Warm Up:

To prepare the body for exercise, it’s important that you warm up the fluid around the joints, as well as the muscles themselves. My method of choice is to run through movement patterns. The easiest way of doing this is to work through bodyweight squats, lunges, and shallow squat jumps (feet leave the floor a matter of inches). Work through this for around 5 minutes and that should raise your heart rate enough to start the session.

Main Session Strength Work

For the first 20-30 minutes of your sessions I’d like you to have a strength bias where you’ll be working with uneven, heavy objects. This doesn’t have to be specialist equipment, anything will do (lifting the side of a desk, a heavy box, a chair, placing a heavy object on a shelf etc.). The addition of these strength exercises will help strengthen joints, increase bone density and stability, as well as increase the bodies metabolic rate keeping calorie burn at its peak for longer. Start each of your sessions with a different movement so you’re covering all bases, and keep your rep ranges low and weights high (with good technique of course!), I personally wouldn’t go any higher than 12 repetitions on any of the movements.

  • Deadlift (picking up something from the floor)
  • Shoulder Press (taking something from shoulder height to over head ie placing something on a shelf and taking it down)
  • Prowler Pushing (placing something heavy on wheels and pushing it)
  • Ground to Overhead (taking something heavy from the floor and lifting it over your head ie a chair)

Main Session Circuit Training

For the following 20-30 minutes of your session spend it doing a circuit based activity. There are two main types of circuits that I’d like you to run through which are:

  • AMRAP – This stands for “As Many Rounds As Possible” and does exactly what it says on the tin. Choose a few exercises and a time frame, and work through the circuit as many times as you can in that time bracket. As soon as your time is up stop the activity.
  • For Time – To work “for time” you want to choose a series of exercises, and work through the exercises as fast as possible. It’s up to you if you want to do one round or more, but make sure that it’s going to last at least 5 minutes so we’re getting the desired effect.

I would advise going no higher than 10 repetitions on an AMRAP so that the intensity can be at its highest. It’s important to stress that technique is everything here, form over function, so ensure that you’re doing the movements properly first, I’m always here as a helping hand if you need it. Example exercises could be:

  • Press Ups (with or without knees) – lay on the floor, place your hands at shoulder width, press your body off the floor until you’re arms are straight, lower and repeat.
  • High Pull (broom handle) – place a broom handle across two equal height chairs at approx hip height. Sit under the broom handle and hang from it using your arms, whilst keeping them straight. Pull yourself towards the bar and touch it with your chest, this is basically the opposite to a press up.
  • Pull Ups OR Jumping Pull Ups – hang from a pull up bar and pull yourself up, ensuring that your chin passes your hands.
  • Full Depth Squats – imagine you’re sitting in to a low chair. Ensure that you keep your feet flat, knees wide and body as upright as possible throughout the exercise. If you struggle to do this then press your arms straight above your head and try again.
  • Walking Lunges – stride forwards as far as you can. Keep the front foot flat throughout the exercise, and lower the rear knee to the floor until it touches. Follow through with the rear leg so you are stood upright, keeping your upper body upright during the whole movement.
  • Cobras – lay on the floor on your stomach with your arms straight and out in front of you. Keeping your arms and legs straight, slowly raise your hips and shoulders off the floor, it’s important to keep this slow and controlled.
  • Sit Ups (touching toes) – lay on your back with you knees bent approximately 90 degrees. Using your stomach muscles, sit yourself up and touch your toes on every repetition.
  • One Legged Toe Touches – balance on one leg with the other leg behind you. Keep the rear leg off the floor, and bend down to touch your toes.
  • One Legged Squat – balance on one leg with the other leg in front of you.  Lower yourself down as low as possible, keeping your grounded foot flat throughout. Use the table to help balance if needed.
  • One Legged Plank – lay on the floor and place your elbows on the floor beneath your shoulders. Raise your hips off the floor until your body becomes parallel with the floor. Hold this for as long as possible, rest, then repeat.
  • One legged Squat Thrusts – start in a press up position with your feet together. In one movement, bring one knee to the opposite elbow, as close to it as you can. Take the moving leg back to the starting position, and repeat on the other side.
  • Stair runs – pretty much what it says on the box… start at the bottom of your stairs and run to the top as fast as you can. If you want stair runs with a difference, try doing an exercise at the bottom, running up the stairs, then doing an exercise at the top. This will work perfectly within an AMRAP!

Cardiovascular Work

It’s important that as well as resistance training, we’re getting in sufficient cardio gains also, after all stair running is going to work your heart pretty hard. Resistance training in itself is a form of cardiovascular training; try telling me that your heart rate isn’t elevated whilst lifting something heavy for a few reps!

It’s best for us to keep your training sessions at a high intensity; this is where our main calorific after burn is going to come from, so intervals are the plan of action. Examples of interval training can be found below, but this list isn’t exhaustive so keep mixing it up. Above I have mentioned training on your stairs, it would also be a good idea to get yourself outside in the fresh air, try giving the following a go…

  • 300m sprint/45 seconds rest
  • 500m sprint/45 seconds active rest
  • 20 second sprint/10 seconds rest (‘tabata’ training, not for the faint hearted!)

Endurance training will do you some good too, so heading out for brisk walks, maintaining a fast pace, or heading out for a steady run with build a good level of cardiovascular fitness. Set yourself a time/distance, and no matter how many times you need to stop get it done. If you stop 3 times on your 40 minute run for example, try and only stop twice on your next outing, keep pushing yourself.

Cool Down

After exercise you have a higher ratio of lactate and hydrogen in your muscles, this doesn’t take long to flush out so you’ll want to do a short distance walk at a steady pace, a couple of hundred metres should do the trick.

I hope the information that’s above has been helpful in some way, and that it’ll help you prepare yourself for the up and coming event. It’s going to be a fantastic day, and don’t forget, where all here to enjoy ourselves, so get yourself off that sofa, do what you can, and think about Andy and myself having to recky the stairs on multiple occasions leading up to the event…!

Gary