On Friday August 7, 2009, I turned 40. To celebrate, I completed 40 flights of stair lunges. Here is what I learned from the experience…
Humans can sense weakness, even over the Internet. Of the three challenges listed in the poll, 40 flights of stair lunges was the one that I was least prepared for. I hadn’t actually done any stair lunges, before throwing that one in the mix. It was the challenge that required the most preparation. So, of course, it was the most popular choice.
I also learned lots about lunges. From a guy’s perspective, lunges, (particularly stair lunges) are a great way to improve hip flexibility. Every time you drop down into a lunge,you are stretching your hips. In men, as we age, loss of power in athletic performance can be correlated to tightening / loss of mobility in the hips. Stair lunges are one way to work on hip flexibility, while building strength.
Ladies, stair lunges will shape and tone your butt. It’s true. Which explains why every time I see a workout designed for women, lunges are prominently featured.
I trained for this challenge, by doing stair lunges at least three times per week. This is a rough schedule for the five weeks leading up to the challenge:
Week One: Ten flights of stairs twice during the week and a 20 story session on the weekend.
Week Two: A ten story climb with a medicine ball, a 20 story climb, and a 30 story climb on the weekend.
Week Three: One 10 story session with a medicine ball, a twenty story climb, and a 35 story climb on the weekend. The 35 story climb on the weekend was the most that I did during training.
Week Four: I started to taper with one 20 story session and a 10 story session with the medicine ball.
Week Five: One ten story session with the medicine ball and the 40 story challenge.
The ten story mark was easy, because from the gym to my apartment is ten stories. So, I could finish up a gym workout and head to the stairs to lunge my way home. With the longer climbs, I stretched in the apartment, then warmed up by walking down the stairs. From my apartment to the lowest basement (B3) is fifteen flights. Once at the bottom, I was warmed up and ready to tackle 20, 30, and ultimately 40 flights of stairs.
I found that I enjoyed doing the lunges and liked the stairwell environment. It was nice to be alone after working out in the gym. I also felt a bit like an explorer going from level to level. From a practical standpoint, I now have a really good idea of how the stairs are set up (a few of the flights are shorter and a few floors have extra steps on the turn). I am much better prepared to find my way out of the building in the dark using the stairs.
There were other surprise too. On the day of the challenge, I had planned to go from B3 to floor 39, just to make sure that I covered at least 40 full flights of stairs. When I got to what I thought was the top, at floor 39, I discovered two additional flights of stairs. They led to PH1 and PH2. I was baffled by the floor designations, until Eileen pointed out that PH likely meant Penthouse. Who knew, secret levels of luxury hidden within the building.
I will definitely stick with doing stair lunges. Particularly coming back from the gym with the medicine ball. For a whole ebook of stair based workouts check out Virgil Aponte’s Ultimate Stair Exercises.
Thanks to everyone who voted and encouraged me to take this on. It is always fulfilling to set and meet a goal. Now, what will your birthday challenge be?
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