Saturday, 24 December 2005

Stair Stepper - an evaluation

Posted by speedygeoff on Saturday, December 24, 2005 with 1 comment
This year I have been doing some running on a stepper machine at the CU gym. Probably not enough to give a full report. But my feeling is it has been of some value.

The advantages?
1. As in all cross training, it enables me to exercise more often without increasing the risk of injury. With a bad achilles it is something I can do which seems OK for the achilles, although I am not totally sure of that, because the calves, knees, and hamstrings are adversely affected on occasion. Still, it is less damaging than uphill sprints, because the uphill slope is absent.

2. It has addressed a specific need of mine - very weak and inflexible quads. Although again I am not sure, because the eccentric effect of downhill running can strengthen quads too and is needed probably as much as uphill work.

The disadvantages?
1. I cannot run with as much tempo and I cannot burn as many calories in a given time on the stepper compared with real running.

2. Running training should be specific. The best training for running is running. I know I can improve my stepper performances by training on the stepper as the levels I use get harder, and I know my general fitness may increase, but I am not sure that converts to better running pace on the track or road, since my general underlying fitness is good anyway, and for most of the training year it is more specific fitness which needs working on.

I will persist with this training in 2006 and see how it goes. But if I become injury free, I will devote the time to purely running.

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting to read your comments on the stair stepper as I've been doing some cross training on a similar cross trainer. Going backwards on it is good strengthening for the quads and glutes if you want to try that!

    Have a great Christmas and a very happy 2006.