Once you’ve settled into a workout routine, after awhile it can become stale, boring and lose its challenge. That’s why it’s important to switch things up from time to time and one way to do that is by stair climbing. No I don’t mean using the stair machine at the gym (although that still helps), I’m talking about climbing the stairs of a building to get your workout on. Sounds crazy? Not to the 650 participants of this year’s Empire State Building Run-Up.
The event features some of the world’s top athletes in an emerging sport known as skyscraper running, tower running, or competitive stair climbing and the events are held in some of the world’s tallest buildings like Taiwan’s Taipei 101, Chicago’s Willis Tower and the Menara Tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. So what makes this workout a must try? Stair climbing helps power the muscles in the lower body such as your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves and a stair-climbing race is a roughly comparable to a 5K or 3.1 mile run. Cindy Harris, an Indianapolis accountant who has finished among the top three women for the last 13 years, trains in the stairwells of 15-story and 30-story office buildings twice a week and admits that it’s tough, even for a seasoned pro like her.
“It’s pretty intense and you’re breathing hard for almost the entire time,” admits Harris. “Your legs get heavy and you feel it in your quads.”
Clearly this is not your traditional workout, but you know what they say, no pain, no gain. Think you’ve got what it takes?
Would you try ‘skyscraper’ running?
A few years ago I did the CN Tower climb in Toronto and it was an amazing, intense experience. I would train 2-3 times a week on the stair climber and in tall buildings. It’s a great workout, I highly suggest it to anyone wanting to do something challenging and different!