Burn Those Calories
Stairs are a great form of cardio, and some offer some toning benefit as well. So winter is coming and you may be indoors more since the temperature is dropping. Walking up and down stairs is part of most peoples daily life; at work or home you may go up and down numerous times each day. You may even choose stairs as part of your fitness routine. Since you are moving your body weight your butt might grow slightly walking up the stairs, but significant muscle grows with targeted resistance training exercises. Even though you don’t see it it’s there. Your buttocks or gluteus maximus, is the largest muscle in the human body, according to the Library of Congress. It originates on the ilium, sacrum and from the fascia of the lumbar area of your back. It inserts on the gluteal line of the femur and into the IT band which runs down onto your tibia. In stair climbing it assists with keeping your body erect as well as hip extension as you push your body up in the climb.
Watch It Grow
Muscle hypertrophy is also known as muscle cell enlargement, or growth. When a muscle grows it appears bigger. In general, it is easier for men to grow their muscles than for women due to genetics and hormone (testosterone) levels. To elicit growth you need to overload the muscles with resistance training exercises, and this can take weeks or months to see results. Men and women that train for hypertrophy choose numerous exercises per muscle group. They may do three or four that hit the glutes. They also perform three to six sets of six to twelve repetitions per exercise to overload the muscle. Initially, your own body weight may be challenging enough to stimulate growth in your glutes. However, it will quickly become too easy and you will need to add weight to stair climbing. Here are some ideas to increase your stair climb: 1. Hold a pair of dumbbells. 2. Hold a pair of 1 gallon water bottles. 3. Wear a backpack loaded with weights/books. These are just a few ways that you can add resistance to promote greater overload to your glutes while you are walking up the stairs. Make sure you protect your spine by contracting the muscles in your core when doing any stair activity. Also make sure you take each step carefully so that you do not trip and fall, especially if you are carrying items.
Keep On Climbing
Another purpose of stairs in terms of fitness is cardiovascular exercise. You use your legs to propel your body up, which will raise your heart rate for an extended period of time. This will improve your heart and circulatory health, lower your risk of disease, decrease your body fat levels and improve endurance in your lower body. As you become more fit you may do the stairs for longer, and at a faster pace to increase intensity.
Clench The Prize
As you are walking up the stairs, to challenge yourself a little more making sure you squeeze your glutes as you are moving up. This will recruit more fibers as you move gracefully up the stairs. Don’t worry about that burning sensation that you feel. It is all part of the process. Don’t worry about the soreness you may feel the next day or two because that is just delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS that comes from when you really stimulate muscles in a challenging manner. We will make sure you are stimulating as many fibers as possible if you need more help. Call us at 855-734-4878 for additional insight.