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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2011 Apr;21(2):293-301. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01043.x.

Skyscraper running: physiological and biomechanical profile of a novel sport activity.

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Department of Human Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.


Skyscraper running is here analyzed in terms of mechanical and metabolic requirements, both at the general and at the individual level. Skyscraper runners' metabolic profile has been inferred from the total mechanical power estimated in 36 world records (48-421 m tall buildings), ranked by gender and age range. Individual athlete's performance (n=13) has been experimentally investigated during the Pirelli Vertical Sprint, with data loggers for altitude and heart rate (HR). At a general level, a non-linear regression of Wilkie's model relating maximal mechanical power to event duration revealed the gender and age differences in terms of maximum aerobic power and anaerobic energy resources particularly needed at the beginning of the race. The total mechanical power was found to be partitioned among: the fraction devolved to raise the body center of mass , the need to accelerate the limbs with respect to the body , and running in turns between flights of stairs . At the individual level, experiments revealed that these athletes show a metabolic profile similar to middle-distance runners. Furthermore, best skyscraper runners maintain a constant vertical speed and HR throughout the race, while others suddenly decelerate, negatively affecting the race performance.

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