Stair climbing is an important functional task that indicates independence, and generating power to climb stairs is a vital component of this task. Power during stair climbing is traditionally calculated using potential energy (PE), but it may be important to determine power expended using kinetic energy (KE).
Purpose: The current study assessed power output for stair climbing with and without the inclusion of KE.
Methods: Sixty participants (21-35 years) climbed a 12-step stairway with a 2-meter acceleration phase before the first step and a 2-meter deceleration phase after the last step. Participants completed 3 trials, and average time was used for calculating energy expended and power.
Results: The mean difference between power from PE and total power was 6.16 W (SD = 2.50, t29 = 13.49, p < 0.001) for males and 64.76 W (SD = 2.90, t29 = 8.99, p < 0.001) for females. Agreement between power calculated from PE and total power was 0.99 (95% confidence interval = 0.98-1.0).
Conclusion: Power calculated using PE and KE was significantly different from using PE alone, which may be clinically important. When conducting stair-climbing tests, both PE and KE may be necessary for the most accurate assessment of power.
The authors would like to thank Deborah Goggins, MA for her expertise in editing the manuscript.
Roush JR, Heick JD, Genovese J, Kurashima K, Yarrington D. Using Kinetic Energy with Potential Energy When Determining Power During the Stair Climbing Test. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2020 Jan 01;18(4), Article 5.