by Dan Staton, MS, PES, CrossFit Level II Coach
Before we know it, we’ll right back in winter, pacing back and forth until the spring arrives. Late fall stadium workouts are one of my favorites. It just feels good to train in that crisp fall air ... when you’re not bowhunting those ghostly whitetails, of course! Running steps improves muscular endurance, which boosts performance in any sport and daily activity. It helps strengthen both the larger and smaller muscle groups in your lower body and challenges your ticker as well. Some stadiums are open year-round and are usually closed to the public on weekends. Most local high school stadiums will work just as well, so put your game plan together.
There really shouldn’t be an off-season, so don’t balk at the idea of training during hunting season. Obviously, you won’t be able to put as much time into your training; when you do make time, make sure it gives you the most bang for your buck. As always, it’s very important to start slow and easy when trying something new. This is critical when doing stairs due to the fact you are potentially at a higher risk for injury. If you feel even the slightest amount of dizziness, stop and let yourself recover before moving on. You don't want to be heading down a flight of stairs if you feel like you are going to fall over. Now that you’ve read the disclaimer, let’s get down to Hoyt business!
Warm up by walking up and down 90 steps twice. Then perform walking lunges up 90 steps. This helps build strength without spiking your heart rate. If your legs tire, pause and wait a few seconds to give your muscles a brief break. The final two sequences are for building stamina. First, make an entire loop through the stadium, running at a pace you can maintain. This should take 15 to 25 minutes. The loop means going up and down every set of stairs or bleachers. Rest for three minutes, and then do your speed work. Sprint up 30 steps as fast as you can, walk back down, and repeat for a total of five sets, only resting as needed.
Stadium stairs are a fun and effective way to condition in-season or off-season. Your lungs and legs will become more conditioned, and dragging your deer back to your rig won’t be such a daunting task. Good luck this fall and, as always, stay serious, stay fit!