My favorite use of stair climbing is anaerobic conditioning. As with any workout start off with a warm-up and stretching. I suggest you use one round of walking up the stairs and then proceed to the anaerobic work. In my own workouts I prefer to run up the stairs for anaerobic work but you could also walk very fast. I also prefer to climb every 2 steps but you could use every step. Experimentation will help you decide what works best for you. In my own anaerobic workouts I usually climb 6 to 12 flights at full speed and then rest for 2 to 3 minutes. During my rest period I usually continue to walk up a few flights. I find this allows me to recover faster. Experiment to find what works best for you. I usually perform anywhere from 4 to 10 sets. As your conditioning improves you have many options to challenge you further.
You can climb more flights
Reduce your rest intervals
Increase your sets (rounds)
An anaerobic workout can look something like this:
Note: in this work-out I had access to 20 flights
Round 1: warm-up: walk up 20 flights at slow pace (4 to 5 minutes)
Take elevator or walk down
Round 2: warm-up: Run up 10 flights (every other step and go half speed),(1 minute)
Rest 2 minutes
Round 3: Run up 10 flights (full speed and every other step), (30 to 45 seconds)
Rest 2 to 3 minutes
Round 4: Repeat Round 3
Round 5: Repeat Round 4
To start this may be enough for most people. As one’s conditioning improves you can add rounds, add flights or reduce intervals to continue improving.
Another great anaerobic conditioning tool is an all out sprint to the 20th floor (that’s if you have 20 flights of course). By the 18th floor your legs can barely move. You’ll be forced to walk but your body will still be in an anaerobic zone. When I’m pressed for time I use this as a workout. Just do 1 or 2 warm-up rounds of 20 flights and then use the third round as the sprint to the 20th floor.
Another fun way to do anaerobic training is to race up flights of stairs. One person uses one stairwell and the other the opposite. An all out race to the top will challenge even the best conditioned people. With the high school student/athletes I’ve worked with we had access to 12 flights and racing up those stairs proved to be one of the best ways to condition them. They didn’t see it as a workout but just a race. So just calling it a race really motivated them.
There are many ways to do anaerobic conditioning in stair cases. Just remember to be safe and what you’re trying to address. Anaerobic work should have you breathless. To get an idea of how you should feel, run a ¼ mile track at full speed and you’ll see what I mean.
I think the main reason I like anaerobic conditioning so much is because it gives you more bang for your buck.
Both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning are great ways to lose weight, get in great shape, look and feel great.
Note: As with any exercise program consult a qualified medical practitioner before beginning any exercise program. You owe it yourself.