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Strengthening legs

fr33sia12fr33sia12 Posts: 1,242Member Member Posts: 1,242Member Member
I walk for exercise and climb stairs (18 floors up & down) but find what lets me down is the strength in my legs especially when climbing stairs. Can anyone advise me how to gain more strength in my legs without going to the gym?
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  • psuLemonpsuLemon Posts: 32,146Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator Posts: 32,146Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator
    fr33sia12 wrote: »
    I walk for exercise and climb stairs (18 floors up & down) but find what lets me down is the strength in my legs especially when climbing stairs. Can anyone advise me how to gain more strength in my legs without going to the gym?

    You will need to find some way of adding progressive overload to your legs or you won't improve them. So it's either gym or finding weights for home and doing things like weighted squats
  • estherdragonbatestherdragonbat Posts: 3,351Member Member Posts: 3,351Member Member
    My lower body strength training routine involves dumbbells and ankle weights. I do weighted squats, weighted side squats on a cardio step, front lunges, and bent leg lifts (ankle weights on the last exercise only).
    edited March 13
  • stanmann571stanmann571 Posts: 5,547Member Member Posts: 5,547Member Member
    fr33sia12 wrote: »
    I walk for exercise and climb stairs (18 floors up & down) but find what lets me down is the strength in my legs especially when climbing stairs. Can anyone advise me how to gain more strength in my legs without going to the gym?

    Either do the stairs more... or do the stairs faster.
  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Posts: 235Member Member Posts: 235Member Member
    Kettlebell swings, goblet squats, bridges (one and two legged), pendulum deadlifts with either a dumbbell or a Kettlebell. If you're careful, also, perhaps jumping. I used to do a Tabata workout where part of it was doing jumping for 40 seconds. That builds very solid strength. To be honest, 18 floors isn't that much. I do 50 floors many times on Sunday as my cool down. Get a rowing machine too would be great at home (or a SkiErg).

    Something else great for home is a slide board. You can get one for around $75 now and they are fantastic for working legs.
    edited March 13
  • h1uddh1udd Posts: 537Member, Premium Member Posts: 537Member, Premium Member
    if you want to get good at lifting .... you do lifting
    if you want to get good at running .... you do running

    The best thing you can do to get good at stair climbing .... climb more stairs
  • ChieflrgChieflrg Posts: 6,917Member Member Posts: 6,917Member Member
    fr33sia12 wrote: »
    I walk for exercise and climb stairs (18 floors up & down) but find what lets me down is the strength in my legs especially when climbing stairs. Can anyone advise me how to gain more strength in my legs without going to the gym?

    Either do the stairs more... or do the stairs faster.

    Exactly this. It's specific to what you want to accomplish. It's the most optimal way to strengthen your ability to climb stairs.

    You might consider carrying extra weight in a backpack up/down the stairs. This will strengthen as well.
  • stanmann571stanmann571 Posts: 5,547Member Member Posts: 5,547Member Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    fr33sia12 wrote: »
    I walk for exercise and climb stairs (18 floors up & down) but find what lets me down is the strength in my legs especially when climbing stairs. Can anyone advise me how to gain more strength in my legs without going to the gym?

    Either do the stairs more... or do the stairs faster.

    Exactly this. It's specific to what you want to accomplish. It's the most optimal way to strengthen your ability to climb stairs.

    You might consider carrying extra weight in a backpack up/down the stairs. This will strengthen as well.

    That being said, there's a very real limit to the speed you can go down stairs, and much less to going up.

    In other words, as with hill work, slow down a bit on the down from how fast you think you can go.


    Make sure that:
    The backpack fits well
    You don't load much beyond whatever your max/starting weight was.
    Don't load more than about 25-30% of current BW
    edited March 13
  • fr33sia12fr33sia12 Posts: 1,242Member Member Posts: 1,242Member Member
    To be honest, 18 floors isn't that much.

    I guess it depends on how many steps per floor.
  • oilphinsoilphins Posts: 226Member Member Posts: 226Member Member
    I'm part of a boxing club and every class includes a lot of leg work and doing stairs is part of it. There are 4 stories with about 10 to 15 stairs in between floors and we do about 10 sets of stairs up and down every class. We also do squats, split jumps, squat jumps and skipping. These are excellent exercises for legs. Maybe pick up some 20 pound weights to have at home to do with these leg exercises. Start at maybe a couple of days a week for about 20-30 minutes and eventually you'll build up your leg strength. Good luck to you.
  • PDR85PDR85 Posts: 372Member Member Posts: 372Member Member
    I agree with adding the backpack on the stairs. The more weight you're lugging up and down the steps the more exercise you're giving your legs and the more you will see improvement. I struggle with leg strength as well as I have some knee issues, but I commend you for making the efforts to improve your strength when you can't get into a gym.

    I don't care if you're doing 50 floors, 18 floors, or 2 floors. If you're actually making an effort and giving it all you got in the name of bettering yourself, you're doing just fine.

    Keep up the good work, and keep fighting!
  • ryborybo Posts: 5,427Member Member Posts: 5,427Member Member
    Work on single leg squats and the progressions leading to them. Google pistols squats and shrimp squats. Also Cossack squats are a good variation to include
  • stanmann571stanmann571 Posts: 5,547Member Member Posts: 5,547Member Member
    rybo wrote: »
    Work on single leg squats and the progressions leading to them. Google pistols squats and shrimp squats. Also Cossack squats are a good variation to include

    Indeed. And steps/stairs are a useful aid for those progressions.
  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Posts: 235Member Member Posts: 235Member Member
    fr33sia12 wrote: »
    To be honest, 18 floors isn't that much.

    I guess it depends on how many steps per floor.

    You're right and I actually came on here to apologize. All I meant is that doing some stairs (likely) will only build functional fitness, which is great. To add strength, you'll probably need to do more than that but the fact that you're asking to do more is great too.

    Didn't mean to criticize. I started VERY small and slow. I couldn't walk for nearly two years and started walking again with just literally a few steps. Consistency and gradually adding more and more each week (or month) you'll see tremendous progress. Just keep it up!

    Just try to do a tiny bit more each week/each workout. You can just (perhaps) do 10 squats a day on top of your stairs and build from there.
    edited March 13
  • JustinAnimalJustinAnimal Posts: 1,190Member Member Posts: 1,190Member Member
    fr33sia12 wrote: »
    I walk for exercise and climb stairs (18 floors up & down) but find what lets me down is the strength in my legs especially when climbing stairs. Can anyone advise me how to gain more strength in my legs without going to the gym?

    I'd start slow, but I'd be consistent as all hell.

    Squats, lunges, dead-lifts. Do these body weight at first. Go for consecutive reps. Go for time. Repeat often. Do it every day. You WILL feel your strength increase if you stick with it.

    After that, simply start adding weights. Or incorporate strength-based HIIT (most of it is lower body oriented, in my personal travels).

    These are just starting points. All I really wanted to convey is that, after you've stuck with it and feel some improvement, you'll be so inspired to do more. Functional strength, especially after not having it for a bit, feels effing amazing.
  • JustinAnimalJustinAnimal Posts: 1,190Member Member Posts: 1,190Member Member
    rybo wrote: »
    Work on single leg squats and the progressions leading to them. Google pistols squats and shrimp squats. Also Cossack squats are a good variation to include

    Indeed. And steps/stairs are a useful aid for those progressions.

    I have to say, I've been doing very moderate strength training for quite a while and pistol squats still elude me. I think this is something the OP will have to work up to if they're having trouble with stairs.
  • stanmann571stanmann571 Posts: 5,547Member Member Posts: 5,547Member Member
    rybo wrote: »
    Work on single leg squats and the progressions leading to them. Google pistols squats and shrimp squats. Also Cossack squats are a good variation to include

    Indeed. And steps/stairs are a useful aid for those progressions.

    I have to say, I've been doing very moderate strength training for quite a while and pistol squats still elude me. I think this is something the OP will have to work up to if they're having trouble with stairs.

    If you can walk and get on and off the toilet, you can squat. If you can squat you can do pistol progressions in 4-6 weeks.

    IF you're having trouble, by all means post the progression program/schedule you're using, and ask for feedback. Suggest you start a new thread on the subject.
  • BZAH10BZAH10 Posts: 5,038Member Member Posts: 5,038Member Member
    rybo wrote: »
    Work on single leg squats and the progressions leading to them. Google pistols squats and shrimp squats. Also Cossack squats are a good variation to include

    Thank you! Learn something new every day. I'm going to start working on these variations. Guess I should add this to the most recent "what are you goals?" thread.
  • HoneyBadger155HoneyBadger155 Posts: 721Member Member Posts: 721Member Member
    So is it strength, or muscle endurance that's the issue? If it's a matter of your legs getting tired 10 flights in, then that's muscular endurance, not raw strength (not that I discourage strength training at all!). Higher reps of weighted leg exercises will help build more endurance than 1x strength, which is what I get the impression you are shooting for.

    Use a weight that you can do higher reps with (I have workouts that are ME specific due to my sport, and my trainer has 18-25 reps for each of the exercises, with 3 supersets, so by the end I've done up to 75 reps of each exercise).
  • fr33sia12fr33sia12 Posts: 1,242Member Member Posts: 1,242Member Member
    Thanks everyone for your input. I will definitely keep using the stairs and try build up my strength and fitness. Also try doing some squats and lunges etc. and carry on with my walks too. I certainly don't have to stop as much as I had to when I first started using the stairs so I'm happy about that.

    @MikePfirrman thanks :)
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