Stair Running for Power

The foundations for successful riding

Stair Running for Power

Postby colafreak » Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:55 am

For those of you who use stair running as part of your regime, I'd like to hear your program.

We have a gym below our office tower and we were talking about how convenient that is. But how much more convenient is it that the building itself has 20 flights of stairs (10 stories)!!!

So today I'm starting a stair running campaign.

My intention is to increase my sprint power and also my ~5 minute power.


Any suggestions on intensity/repetition/duration???
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by BNA » Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:19 am

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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby tripstobaltimore » Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:19 am

I do hill running as part of my training, I guess the principles are pretty similar. I generally do a number of reps - say 4 x 2 minute, or 2 x 4 minute, or maybe 1 x 3, 2 x 2, 3 x 1 minute set with a warm up and warm down on top.
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby sogood » Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:29 am

I assume this is beneficial for RUNNING POWER. So what does it have to do with bike training?
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby colafreak » Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:25 pm

The muscle groups used are quite similar, particularly when doing the stairs 2 at a time.
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby RobRollin » Fri Nov 06, 2009 12:41 pm

Shin Splints anyone? I know not everyone suffers from them but I would rather be sore from riding hills than being sore from shin splints.

Although i do like running up hills when I go for a run.
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby sogood » Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:06 pm

colafreak wrote:The muscle groups used are quite similar...

Is similar ideal? What about those dissimilar groups? :wink:
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby RobRollin » Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:08 pm

I thought that resident coach Alex has said they don't use smilar muscle groups......I could be wrong though :?
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby casual_cyclist » Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:55 pm

RobRollin wrote:Shin Splints anyone? I know not everyone suffers from them but I would rather be sore from riding hills than being sore from shin splints.

Although i do like running up hills when I go for a run.

:lol: . I got my shin splints from riding up hills, so...

sogood wrote:
colafreak wrote:The muscle groups used are quite similar...

Is similar ideal? What about those dissimilar groups? :wink:

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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby ni78ck » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:16 pm

once every couple of weeks, i do stairs training. up and down a set of 220 steps for half an hour. my heart rate is at about 85% most of the way! im not sure if it is good for cycling, but a sore bun is guaranteed the next day :wink:
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby colafreak » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:54 pm

sogood wrote:
colafreak wrote:The muscle groups used are quite similar...

Is similar ideal? What about those dissimilar groups? :wink:


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I did a search of Alex's posts for stair and stairs but couldn't find anything about how similar/dissimilar it is.

If anyone would know, it would be him though.
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby BrisBoy » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:05 pm

Of course, even if it doesn't equal more bike power some higher impact excercise is good for your bones, even if the joints suffer for some. I can see it having at least some benefit to bike power but of course climbing hills on a bike is going to be better for actual bike speed.

just my 2c
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby tripstobaltimore » Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:13 pm

sogood wrote:I assume this is beneficial for RUNNING POWER. So what does it have to do with bike training?



not all of us limit ourselves to bike riding y'know... :wink:
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby justD » Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:31 pm

BrisBoy wrote:Of course, even if it doesn't equal more bike power some higher impact excercise is good for your bones, even if the joints suffer for some. I can see it having at least some benefit to bike power but of course climbing hills on a bike is going to be better for actual bike speed.

just my 2c


+1 Surely variety must be good?

2 weeks before I cycled up to the Gold Coast, I happened to be at a conference up there and stayed in a hotel. Not feeling quite fit enough for my cycling trip and missing out on 1/2 a week of training, I decided to run up a couple of flights of stairs in the hotel one morning. I almost died!!! I reckon it must be a brilliant form of exercise and would add it to my training if I had some stairs close to home or the office.
As for shin splits, I would have thought running up stairs puts less shock on your legs than running on a flat surface/road, don't know about the constant turning though.
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby sogood » Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:39 pm

tripstobaltimore wrote:not all of us limit ourselves to bike riding y'know... :wink:

Errr... This is the Training sub-sub-forum under 'Road Racing and Touring' sub-forum. Moving it across to tri section may make more sense. :P
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:50 pm

I wouldn't think the mechanics are the same...that is what matters even if you are using some of the same muscles.I can ride up a hill for an hour or so at a steady pace no problems...run or jog up a steps for a few minutes I would be suffering.
Might be good for bone density etc and maybe if you are training for a technical mtb course or cyclo-x but of limited use if you want to improve your road racing...and if you are like me and injury prone then likely detrimental.I would be taking the lift down each time :lol: .
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby sogood » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:00 pm

toolonglegs wrote:I wouldn't think the mechanics are the same...that is what matters even if you are using some of the same muscles.I can ride up a hill for an hour or so at a steady pace no problems...run or jog up a steps for a few minutes I would be suffering.

That logic isn't closed. All it showed is that you, as a cyclist, is not "strong" enough to run or jog. We need to know if the converse is also true ie. If a good runner can ride up a hill for an hour.
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:06 pm

Last week I went on a mtb ride with a couple of mates...one of them hasn't ridden for months but is a national level cross country runner...I crucified him.
Or as a national level swimmer when in my teens I entered a triathlon in Auckland...out of a couple of hundered I was about 3 or 4th out of the water...after 20 or so km bike ride I was last on the road.Will never forget that one. :lol:.Hadn't ridden a bike for a while.
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby brendancg » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:19 pm

Step ups (a step climbing exercise) is aimed at strengthening the quadriceps. Assisting or synergists for this are the gluteus, adductor, and calves. Stabilising this move are the hamstrings of both and the calves of the lower foot as you step up. Also to a lessor extent the effort is transferred up the muscles in the spine.

Now pedaling uses the following muscles; gluteus, hamstrings, calves and some upper body muscles through the core to the arms.

The difference I see is the stabilising required. Generally the bike you can isolate the muscles targeted as the setup on the bike, your shoes etc take away or reduce the need for other muscles to assist the action. That is why a pure cyclist who does a stair run might find that they tire quickly (more muscles being used). Other then that I can't see why stair running wouldn't be good for your cycling. It provides a cardio workout, uses many of the same muscles, synergists and stabilisers more so.

My two cents anyhow.
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:40 pm

Paul Crake would be the man to ask...not sure how much cycling he did when he was running.But he switched over fairly easily to the top level of cycling.
Very bad luck followed thou :cry: .
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby tripstobaltimore » Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:09 am

sogood wrote:
tripstobaltimore wrote:not all of us limit ourselves to bike riding y'know... :wink:

Errr... This is the Training sub-sub-forum under 'Road Racing and Touring' sub-forum. Moving it across to tri section may make more sense. :P


Tri's are raced on roads... :D
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby colafreak » Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:36 pm

Did a couple of sets. Three sets of 10 stories, flat maggot. Bounding steps, burst up to the landing, burst up the next set, repeat.

I noticed quads weren't mentioned as a cycling muscle... Looking at pictures of track cyclists, I'd have to question that.

Having done it once now, I feel like the exercise is going to be helpful. I mean it's explosive use of the quads and calves. I was hoping for some guidance on the way to do it, but I think what I'm doing is pretty well suited for helping my sprint.

Also, due to the quick n easy nature of ducking into the stairwell for 20 mins, if I wasn't doing it, I wouldn't be able to replace it with anything else, I certainly don't have time to get out on the bike. So from that perspective, I think it's worth continuing with.
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby casual_cyclist » Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:05 pm

colafreak wrote:Did a couple of sets. Three sets of 10 stories, flat maggot. Bounding steps, burst up to the landing, burst up the next set, repeat.

I noticed quads weren't mentioned as a cycling muscle... Looking at pictures of track cyclists, I'd have to question that.

Having done it once now, I feel like the exercise is going to be helpful. I mean it's explosive use of the quads and calves. I was hoping for some guidance on the way to do it, but I think what I'm doing is pretty well suited for helping my sprint.

Also, due to the quick n easy nature of ducking into the stairwell for 20 mins, if I wasn't doing it, I wouldn't be able to replace it with anything else, I certainly don't have time to get out on the bike. So from that perspective, I think it's worth continuing with.

If you pull up a bit sore, jump on the bike and see if the same muscles are sore. Could be a rough guide. In any case, stair running is a fantastic cardio workout.
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby brendancg » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:08 am

I noticed quads weren't mentioned as a cycling muscle


Sorry typo, was on the list but I can't read. If your looking for sprint power what your doing is better than weights. Weights work of slow twitch muscles, stair climbs and biometric jumps both work on the fast twitch muscles. To see if it is helping, go out to a flat course with a friend, where you can measure a distance, set up a couple of sprints and time. Test this once a month for three months whilst doing your weekly stair climb exercise. That will tell you if you are getting a result. I am sure there are many here that would love to hear the results.

I guess another way of seeing if there is any improvement is get yourself a power meter.
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby colafreak » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:26 am

brendancg wrote:
I noticed quads weren't mentioned as a cycling muscle


Sorry typo, was on the list but I can't read. If your looking for sprint power what your doing is better than weights. Weights work of slow twitch muscles, stair climbs and biometric jumps both work on the fast twitch muscles. Exactly what I was thinking To see if it is helping, go out to a flat course with a friend, where you can measure a distance, set up a couple of sprints and time. Test this once a month for three months whilst doing your weekly stair climb exercise. Way ahead of ya. That will tell you if you are getting a result. I am sure there are many here that would love to hear the results.

I guess another way of seeing if there is any improvement is get yourself a power meter. I know, want one so bad!!!



Thanks for the input.
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Re: Stair Running for Power

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Mon Nov 09, 2009 11:54 am

colafreak wrote:I did a search of Alex's posts for stair and stairs but couldn't find anything about how similar/dissimilar it is.

If anyone would know, it would be him though.

I wouldn't consider myself sufficiently qualified to speak in detail about a comparison of the biomechanics of stair climbing vs cycling. Other than to state the bleeding obvious, i.e. it's different and nothing is better for cycling training than cycling. But it's not clear to me this thread is about enhancing cycling performance.

If you can't use a bike to work on cycling sprint and 5-min power (which BTW are physiological worlds apart), then anything that engages the major muscle groups in a meaningful (aerobic or anaerobic) matter is better than doing nothing.

Even so, don't expect a cross over performance improvement when you change exercise modality since it's more than just using the same muscles. It needs to be with the same joint angles, velocities and forces. That's where it goes off the rails a bit.

As with everthing like this, the untrained or under-trained will likely see a benefit. They will from doing just about any meaningful exercise. Trained cyclists far less likely or possibly detrimental or at a rate of change far less than would be attained by performing relevant training on a bike (for either sprint or 5-min power).

Presumably people like doing it for fun, general fitness, other benefits (e.g. bone density), a diversion from their other training or they are training for stair climbing competitions.
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