December 18, 2009
Climbing stairs is a measurable, observable and repeatable activity. Louis Hayes thinks more CrossFitters should add stair climbing to their daily WODs.
This past year I stumbled upon a CrossFit message-board thread about exercises readers thought should be a part of CrossFit programming. I happened to read the thread during my seasonal immersion in winter stair climbing, but my post replying suggesting “stair and hill climbing” went completely ignored by the other posters.
I wondered if I had too easily persuaded myself that climbing passes the fundamental three-pronged test of CrossFit: functionality, constant variation, and high intensity. Why did no one else agree with me?
I believe climbing is a task that fits harmoniously within the CrossFit mandate. If one can’t see climbing a few flights of stairs as functional, I ask, “What is more practical or lifelike?” The variety in stair climbing is infinite: speed, duration, skipping stairs, forward, backward, carrying loads—these are but a few options. Lastly, for those who don’t see climbing as a high-intensity activity, I’ll race anyone to the top floor of a 20-story building and, when I catch my breath, argue about its intensity.
Stair climbing fits snuggly into the CrossFit world on so many fronts, but it wasn’t until this last winter’s stair-preparation season that I really appreciated my new methodology’s compatibility with CrossFit. With the help of the power formula, I took my stair-race training to new heights via measurement, analysis and repeatability.