Your Secret Running Weapon: Use Stairs for Better Technique

James Dunne


United Kingdom

Running, Injury rehabilitation, Triathlon


James Dunne, founder of Kinetic Revolution, is a running coach. He specialises in identifying and correcting dysfunctional movement patterns that impair efficiency in endurance athletes.


In this video, James explains how you can use stairs to hone your running technique. First, understand there are two key components to running:


  • The Swing Phase - During a stride, you lift your back foot with an efficient toe-off and swing it forward. Using both hip flexion and knee flexion, you dorsiflex your foot and bring it under your torso.
  • Cadence - This is how frequently you make strides. Aim for short, quick steps.


On a staircase, each step is higher, which forces you to move with proper mechanics. You will be raising your knee automatically with each stride, so focus on lifting your foot instead. Think of the command, "Foot up, knee through." This cue will allow you to achieve adequate hip and knee flexion. You can also think of these as heel lift and knee drive. 


Avoid shuffling up the steps. This does not encourage proper mechanics, but is instead hip flexor- and quad-dominant. When used properly, stairs improve your performance, teaching you to use your hips and knees effectively and take quick steps.


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