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Old 08-17-2009, 07:57 PM   #1
Leslie Powell
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Strength/Power in Stair Running

This summer I've discovered a really nice set of outdoor stairs in a park near my house that take about a minute for me to run full-speed from bottom to top when fresh.

What I'm wondering is if anyone has ever seen numbers that attempt to quantify (obviously vaguely) how much power and/or strength one can develop just by running stairs.

I recall reading on Rippetoe's site that he suggested high-rep sets of box jumps as a last-ditch sub for squatting. He didn't like them for regular strength development for a number of reasons, one of which was that it's hard to progress.

With a staircase, though, where you're essentially doing 1 leg jumps over and over, you kind of can progress it by keeping track of how long it takes to get to the top.

Anyway, long rambling post, but I'm trying to hone in on whether there's a chance in hell that my (intermediate) squat numbers might stay solid if I take a few months off and just concentrate on the stairs (which have just grabbed my interest) and then add some back specific work on off-days? I was thinking of doing 5 sets of stair runs with enough rest in between that I'm able to keep the speed of my last set within 90% of the first.
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Old 08-17-2009, 09:02 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Re: Strength/Power in Stair Running

Pistol jumps/verts/broads?

I mean stair/hill runs are decent...

I don't have any specific info though
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:15 AM   #3
Andrew Saltz
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Re: Strength/Power in Stair Running

You assume there is only one way to run up stairs!

Try:
Two legged jumps as far as you can
1 legged bounds as far as you can
Up 2, down 1
Squat jumps
etc.
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:49 AM   #4
Rachel Y. B. Lindsay
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Re: Strength/Power in Stair Running

It seems to me that the time it takes you to get to the top is related to a number of factors, not just power/strength. There's plenty of great reasons to run stairs in my opinion, but I'm curious if you're trying to get better at squats...why don't you just squat?
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Old 08-18-2009, 10:06 AM   #5
Leslie Powell
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Re: Strength/Power in Stair Running

Fair enough question...

It's really fun running the stairs (they're in a pretty location) and I'm enjoying taking a break from working out indoors this summer. I'm not trying to get better at squatting per se, just hoping I won't lose too much before the weather gets cold and I move back inside.

I'm definitely thinking of adding jumping variations on the stairs to the mix.
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Old 08-18-2009, 05:45 PM   #6
Cormac O'Connor
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Re: Strength/Power in Stair Running

By all means do it, and let us know how it pans out. My gut feeling is that your back squat numbers will drop pretty fast though. Although it might help your O-lifting, assuming you'll be using your quads more on the incline?

If you do black box this, i'd certainly benchmark a few things before and afterward - back squat, clean, vertical leap, max pistols, tabata squats...
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Old 08-19-2009, 07:41 AM   #7
Leslie Powell
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Re: Strength/Power in Stair Running

I'll come back to this in the early winter (when the temperatures drop, so probably late October) with an update. It won't be pure black-box, as I'm doing some stuff that will confound the results. But in general, I won't be squatting back or front or deadlifting until then. I will be cleaning, but only for form (like 70%).

Exercises will be running the stairs (long rests, to emphasize speed over endurance, taking them 3x3 to emphasize the leaping aspect). Stair run takes about 50s when fresh. I'll be doing 5 runs, trying to keep rest/work ratio to 8:1 or less, trying to keep time within 10%.

Other (lower body) things I'll be doing are KB swings/snatches/cleans, occasional high box jumps, jumprope, some short trail runs. Power cleans or snatches 2x a week to work on form.

My best numbers for major lifts (in February, last time I tested them) were BS260, DL345, PC181, PSn120, 500MRow 1:28.8, Box Jump 42". BW185, 40y/o. I probably won't do max efforts on squat or dl when I come back, as my back is my weak point, but will hope that my 5RM's don't reflect too much loss. We'll see!
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Old 08-20-2009, 11:41 AM   #8
David Michelson
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Re: Strength/Power in Stair Running

No useful info coming, but just had to chime in. I do stair runs when i can't get to the gym. Like you, i do 5 with pretty much full recovery in between (tho i do also add 20 pushups for each stair run). I've been crossfiting (both on my own and at an affiliate) for almost 3 years, and the only time i've really thought i was going to hurl is doing the stair run workout. If you go full blast, it's really rough. I'm pretty sure it helps your sprinting. Not sure about squat--no data there. But yeah, do it!
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Old 08-20-2009, 03:27 PM   #9
Stanley Walter
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Re: Strength/Power in Stair Running

Probably a good idea to address the exercise you want to get stronger at by actual DOING that exercise.

Stair running is awesome.....God knows I love it....but if I want to get better at squats, I squat.

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Old 08-21-2009, 01:27 PM   #10
Leslie Powell
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Re: Strength/Power in Stair Running

Just a request: can anyone who's planning on posting something along the lines of the previous please read the whole thread before posting. I think I've already addressed, several times, the fact that this isn't about getting better at squatting.
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