Box step-ups test

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  • #13728

    I have performed a box step-up test as a part of the basic fitness test suggested.
    My box (the only one I had available) was 50cm (19.5in) high, which is higher than the suggested 12in (I am 183cm tall and the top of the box reached the bootom of my knee cap). Also I had a backpack of 19% of my Body weight, and I had my ice climbing boots on.

    I was wondering if anybody can tell me how did you perform this test, more specifically:
    – what was the height of the box you used? In my opinion the higher box enabled me to do less step ups (610 in total) to reach 305m/ 1000ft of vertical gain, but it was harder to step up than it would be with a smaller box.
    – what I was doing is stepping up with 1st foot, then bringing the 2nd foot up, then stepping down with 1st foot and joining the 2nd foot on the floor before repeating the process with the opposite foot. I have a feeling that I would save some (it is hard to estimate how much) time by not joining the 2nd foot on the floor and just starting the next step up from that position. What was your method of doing this exercise?

    My time was 32:51min which is far from great and I am looking forward to a lot of training (I have started the transition period recently) in order to get as fit as possible in the next couple of years. The questions I have asked above are targeted to understand have I done everything according to the rules of the test so that I can consider my result valid.


  • Participant
    mike on #13801

    While there may be some ways to “save” time, I believe the test (or step ups for training) are supposed to be mimicking the action of walking uphill. By bringing both feet down and then moving both feet up from the ground, your movements are comparable (kind of) to hiking uphill; for each step, you must pick each foot (from below the other) and place it above. Remember for testing purposes, you are looking to set a baseline for comparison, time improvements will come from fitness improvements. I tend to use a 13″ box. I am 5’9″. 57 yo, and have found this height works best for me.

    gglumac on #13813

    Thank you Mike for your response. I agree with you about mimicking the movement of walking uphill.
    Regarding the box I will try to find something smaller and will use that for future testing.

    I agree about the purpose of the testing being a benchmark for my future tests but I was also interested in how I compare to others in the same test, because it is an exact test that can provide reasonable comparison results (like 100m in athletics).

    My plan is to do the test every 3 months to track my progress in the training.

    Steve House on #13849

    See page 178 of Training for the New Alpinism, photo attached.

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    Steve House on #13851

    You were doing it correctly by bringing both feet up. You can also step up and down off the side of the box to mimic cramponing up a steep slope in french technique.

    gglumac on #13861

    I was more concerned with should I bring my both feet down as well or just start a new step up with one of my feet on the box. I am not looking at this in order to cheat my way to a better result but just to see did I perform the test as it was designed.

    Thank you for the tip regarding the side step, it did not cross my mind before, but now that I think of it sounds good.

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