Chad, Indeed you can use a box step WO as a replacement for a hike with vertical gain/loss and I have used that exact kind of workout with success in the past. A couple of things to consider- As it will have a lot of vertical you may need to actually reduce the pack weight and or the step height a bit in order to get your HR up into the desired zone for you. I have had good luck with folks using a 12″ box and 15-20 pounds but increasing the tempo a bit. This will move it more towards and aerobic endurance workout and away from muscular endurance. A couple of potential down sides to consider. I think its valuable to get outside on trails even if the vert isn’t amazing as training 100% of the time on machines or indoors will produce very repetitive movement patterns and sometimes not help with your balance and ability to move on uneven terrain so make sure you’re getting outside when you’re able. Secondly and may be the biggest downside to long duration boxstep workouts is just boredom, this is a bit individual of course. I will sometimes program a split session where athletes will run outside for 60 minutes unladen and then dive straight into an indoor session of box steps with a bit of additional weight for another 60 minutes to break up the monotony but still provide some simulated vertical gain.
You mentioned here looking for a versa climber which does have some benefits for training, personally if I had to own just one machine for indoor training it would probably be an incline treadmill that goes up to 40% like the NordicTrack x22i etc.
Question on step-ups (box steps). I’ve been using step-ups as my “hike in hilly terrain” workouts. For instance I did two hours on Sunday on a 16in step with a 25lb pack. I find this to be very hard muscularly but my hr doesn’t get super high. On Sunday my average hr was 107 and my limiting factor was how tired my legs felt.
Is this a good idea?
What are the pros and cons of step-ups?
Any injury concerns?
I’ve read the TFTNA material and a blog on UA but not super specific about it as a replacement for hiking. I asked a similar question previously but I think it got lost in COVID. I don’t have easy access to good stairs or a treadmill with good incline. I was looking into a versaclimber but some UA blogs seem to indicate step-ups are more effective?
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