Stair training: a good way to progress

While in containment, a stair workout is perfect for cranking up your cardio and shaping concrete legs. Presentation with Thierry Blancon, physical trainer at INSEP.
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These American stadiums with incredible bleachers are a benchmark for Westerners. And yes, the technique of staircase training was created across the Atlantic before making its appearance in France.

“Americans have always used the steps as part of their physical preparation. We, it declined later in different forms, ” immediately raises Thierry Blancon , physical trainer at INSEP.

Both uphill and downhill


As you know, climbing stairs requires minimal physical effort. You are the first to take the elevator at work because you are “lazy” to take the stairs. And you are wrong! Climbing stairs brings many benefits, which is more when it is used as a real circuit training. “Going up the stairs works the muscles in a certain way, different from going down”. Yes, but what’s the difference? Does this mean that the same muscle groups are not working?

“If the muscle groups involved are the same, but on the ascent, we will work more in concentric and on the descent, eccentric. The thighs and calves have a braking component which will be useful on the descent. The motor muscles are the quadriceps, the triceps sural (calf) and the hamstrings, which balance and slow down the descent ”.

With or without the arms?


Beyond the lower train, stair training also allows you to work on the abdominal strap. “The bust or the pelvis must not escape. It requires a strong abdominal strap ”. Add to that a good work of the arms to be able to perform the exercise correctly.

On the other hand, if you cross your arms at chest level, over your head or in the air, you work harder because your arms no longer ease the climb. “In this case, the legs are going to do the job. You can also take a medicine ball in your hands to make the exercise more difficult ”.

 
To work on endurance, speed and strength


“It’s both light and heavy bodybuilding work because going up and down steps makes the lower train work on tonic and rapid supports, but we can also offer very ‘muscular’ work that develops strength. If we want to go further, we can say that it is an exercise which allows to develop the power of the lower gear ”. To summarize, staircase exercises can be the subject of a complete session but can also be a complement to a specific sport session. We grant you, you will have a lot of stiffness the next day, the first times!


The advantage of the staircase technique is that it is very varied. You can juggle the height of the steps, the amplitude, the frequency … “You can walk, run, jump up and down and in both directions: climb the steps sideways or normally”. Moreover, we can bounce back on one foot or two feet together. “You can also weight your ankles (with scratched dumbbells) to make the exercise more complex”. Here are some exercises depending on the objective of the session:

 
The skipping rope to burn calories


In endurance: The objective will be to provide, with regularity and over time, an effort of pedestrian locomotion which requires strength and liveliness, while maintaining a consistent quality of movement. Manage your breathing as well. In order to perform the movement correctly, remember to keep the torso vertical, using the forward / backward balance of the arms to lighten the body in its effort and by growing with each push.

Exercise : For 3 to 6 minutes, do 3 to 6 sets of 24 steps (as far as possible) climbed at a low pace but without breaking the pace of execution. Walk down the stairs back down, the descent time being twice the ascent time . “A beginner can do the same with more recovery between brisk climbs. For example, it can be equivalent to 4 times the rise time or we can insert a small calf stretching exercise ”. The key is to be able to maintain control of speech throughout the exercise. “No longer being able to speak would be a sign of difficulty for a young person, a novice or a sedentary person”.

In speed:
In the same spirit as the endurance session, the goal will be to climb the stairs as quickly as possible. Put a maximum of liveliness and speed in the arms and legs so that the climb only lasts a few seconds. Take at least 1.5 minutes of rest between sets.

 
Push the sheathing further


The exercise: Try to perform the exercise on short stairs, to be able to link them without having too much risk of falling. Perform the streak a dozen times, or double, or even with less rest when you are really trained! The rules will be identical between confirmed and beginners but we advise the confirmed athlete to perform two to three sets of twelve passages.

In strength: Stato-dynamic: The objective is to develop the strength and more particularly the power of the lower gear. Climb the stairs one at a time, two by two or three by three, marking a two second downtime on each floor. We will talk about stato-dynamic work because for a few seconds, the individual remains in static balance in flexion of the legs before propelling on the upper step. The same exercise can be done downhill for “braking” work. The foot pose is done on the point but can also be done flat feet to engage more the strength of the thigh. Accompany the leg work by working the arms and shoulders in the direction of the lifting movement.

“For beginners, the same thing should be done but without going down excessively during the bending! The angle between the leg and the thigh must always be much greater than 90 °. Take one, two or three minutes of rest between each climb in order to favor the quality of muscular contraction rather than the endurance of strength ”.

Build up the “pecs” without equipment


Explosive: The objective is to maintain the qualities of explosive and plyometric strength of the extensor muscles of the lower limbs without causing fatigue. Make 3 to 4 jumps with feet together from 3 to 4 stairs, for a total of 9 to 16 steps. Keep in mind that you should always stay balanced when landing on the top step.

Here, it will be necessary to chain the jumps, unlike the stato-dynamic. Recover about 1 minute 30 minutes between each climb to favor speed and liveliness. “Here again, for beginners, little trained children or sedentary people, the same thing should be done but without going down excessively during the flexion. The angle between the leg and the thigh must always be very much greater than 90 ° ”. In fact, you have to bounce back and have very tonic support!

 
Depending on the subject’s level, it will be necessary to play on three parameters: the intensity of the effort put into the exercise (in terms of force or speed), the working time and the rest time. “From a cardio point of view, you can juggle pulsations, rhythms and rest times”.

And to end a session properly, don’t neglect recovery. “Joint mobilizations, stretching and a hot shower are recommended! », Concludes the specialist.

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