Exercise Tips for Harvard Stadium Stair Workout

1It was great to get back to Harvard Stadium this morning especially since it has been a few years since I last ran them. This morning was not about trying to run them (for me anyway) but simply trying to maintain a walking cadence mixed in with a few sets of running. Like anything else with exercise though it comes down to specificity of training and the importance of building up slowly; not trying to do too much too soon. We even had some younger members in our group who could have probably done more but it was their first time trying stadium stairs or like me, it had been a while. Instead of trying to do the full stadium (37 rows/30 big steps/1,110 total steps) we did only 20 rows. In terms of volume it was about 600 steps (up), which is basically half the stadium plus obviously working our muscles eccentrically on the small steps coming down (i.e. recovery). We also did some circuits of pushups/dips in between sets of stair walking/running or in the case of some, bounding or jumping up (i.e. plyometric). Next time (4/27/13) we can try increasing the number of stairs or maybe even go for it all. It was years ago (1988) when I first tried the stairs and I admit they were a lot easier but age may have a bit to do with it. But like anything else find activities that you enjoy doing and make them part of your own customized plan.

A Few Important Points to Remember When Stair Climbing:

  • Fatigue sets in quickly and it’s important to maintain good form. Completing 500-1000+ steps using bad form will stress/overload your body that much more and could put you over the top in terms of a potential injury.
  • Good form = placing the entire foot onto the step, engaging your core, a slight lean forward without “caving in” at the waist.
  • Remember to use a strong arm drive to help move you upward, especially as you start to fatigue.
  • It becomes a mental game at some point when your body starts to become fatigued and overloaded…you need to be mentally tough and stay focused! This is a huge part of it.
  • Use the small stairs when coming down and angle feet slightly left or right as opposed to keeping toes pointed straight.
  • Remember if you’re new to this activity, take your time coming down, give yourself plenty of recovery before the next set.
  • Make sure you’re properly fueled up pre/post workout.
  • DOMS may set in 24-48 hours post workout depending on your fitness level, if you’re feeling it the next day or two – go for a long walk or an easy bike ride.




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