Do you have tips for preparing to climb on event day?

As the Official Provider of Physical Therapy for Hustle Chicago, Athletico is happy to provide the following tips to ensure a healthy climb.  Also, be sure to visit the Athletico booth at the Hustle Chicago After Party and allow our experts to stretch you out after reaching the top! 

Warm-Up & Recovery Tips Presented By


1) Strengthen Your Hip Flexors

In addition to quadricep and gluteal strengthening, add “flavor” to your training with mountain climbers and standing hip flexor strengthening. Focus on fast, lighter weight repetitions to mimic the drive necessary for bounding up steps. Also make sure to incorporate calf strengthening. Train the explosive portion necessary to propel your body up stairs with exercises like wall jumps, skipping, jumping rope or rapid jumping.

2) Focus on the Task

Practice running stairs. While multiple flights are optimal, even a single flight will be beneficial. For shorter flights, perform multiple sets or train for a specific duration of time. Run up and walk down. Think creatively for places to practice – parking structures, football stadiums or local businesses are great locations.

3) Incorporate Explosive Training

Jumping rope, plyometrics and step taps all fulfill this criteria. Work to achieve rapid foot turnover. Your goal is to make rapidly negotiating stairs automatic. Form is key to plyometric training as injuries and increased joint loading occur as form fails.

4) Don’t Neglect Abdominals

Abdominal and “core” strengthening is essential to keep your body upright and provide a stable foundation for the lower chain. Optimally, train abdominals in standing to mimic race conditions – medicine ball throws and planks can both be effective.

5) Stay Flexible

Stretch hamstrings and calves for maximum force generation. Before training, use dynamic warm up inchworms and straight leg kicks. Following a workout, long duration stretching can be used. Incorporating daily stretching or foam rolling into any exercise program helps to balance strength and prevent injury.

6) Train Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing and proper breath control is essential to any endurance activity. Breathing with the belly rather than the chest is the key. Deep controlled breathing prevents side cramps and optimizes oxygen flow to working muscles. Alternate the exhalation phase between right and left foot strikes. Stairwells are dusty and dry, so breathing is especially important.

For the complete article, click here.

No matter how your pain starts – from stair climbs to daily activities – we can help.  Athletico would like to be your first option when seeking medical care. Through our free assessment, we can save you time, money, and instill peace of mind while recommending treatment options to get you back to doing the things you love. Free assessments are available at any Athletico clinic location or virtually from a mobile or desktop connection. Don’t delay the recovery process, schedule your free assessment today.

Do you have tips for training?

Check out these training and nutrition tips from our friends at GYMGUYZ!

Also check out the training series created by Fleet Feet:

We’ve also assembled great training tips for Hustle Chicago® stair climb, provided by past climbers.

  • Once or twice a week punctuate your workout with a number of higher intensity bursts. This will help condition your body and mind for “the burn.” This type of workout also burns more calories than a moderate workout of the same duration. For example, complete a 10-20 minute warm-up followed by 10 x 1 minute hard & 1 minute easy and a 10-20 minute cool-down.
  • Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator.
  • Experiment with your clothing, shoes, and accessories before the event. There is nothing worse than finding out your lucky shirt chafes you on floor 35. You may want to try a dissolvable lozenge strip to aid in those dry stairwells.
  • Be consistent. Working out 3 or 4 times a week the 4 weeks prior to the event will be much more beneficial than pulling two-a-days the 3 days before.
  • Be smart. No one cares if you complete a world record time in practice, Leave something in the tank for the big day.
  • Don’t neglect the upper body. Pulling on the handrails with your arms is perfectly acceptable and just as important as pushing with your legs.
  • Fuel well. Try to eat some carbs and protein within a half-hour of your workouts. You’ll feel much better in the next workout because you’ve fueled your body for adaptation.
  • Stay hydrated. Good hydration practices will speed recovery from workouts and prepare you for your best possible experience on the day of the event.
  • Don’t get psyched out. Yes 94 flights (or 52 for that matter) on foot is crazy, but why would you be doing it if it weren’t? You can do it. We believe in you. Somewhere in the first 3rd you’ll start to feel like you’re drowning. Just put your head down and pull with your arms and you’ll be feeling better soon!

Gear Recommendations

  • Synthetic or Merino wool socks
  • Body Glide!!
  • Cough drops or dissolvable lozenge strips
  • A tested (not brand new) pair of running shorts
  • A tested (not brand new) t-shirt or singlet
  • Sweatband/hat/visor

What happens if I have trouble or need help while I’m climbing?

Medical assistance is available throughout the entire event.

Medical staff will be on-site for those who may need assistance in various areas including the concourse level, stairwells and at the finish line in 360 CHICAGO. They are easily identified by their red shirts with white print. An ambulance with paramedic staff will also be on site.

Any volunteer can assist you with accessing medical personnel. If you must exit the stairwell in case of an emergency or you are unable to complete the climb, please seek security, volunteer or medical staff for assistance to be properly escorted. Do not exit any floor without 875 N. Michigan Ave. security personnel!

Can I check my coat and other gear?

Yes! We have several options available to you, all outlined below.


A small-bag gear check is provided at the Hilton Chicago Magnificent Mile Suites, 198 East Delaware – the same convenient location as the Hustle Chicago After Party. While the gear check room is monitored by event volunteers, RHA cannot accept liability for lost items. Bring only necessities and leave valuable items at home.


A coat-only check is available on the Garden/Concourse level at 875 N. Michigan where you enter line-up for your climb. Space is extremely limited and you will not be able to store tote bags, duffel bags, phones, cameras, keys, etc. There are absolutely no exceptions at coat-only check. If you have small items to store on event day, visit Gear Check at Hilton Suites before coming to 875 N. Michigan Ave.


  • To keep the walkways open and safe for all participants, items cannot be left unattended. Found items will be removed by RHA volunteers and/or security and will not be available for return.
  • Use a bag that has unique marks, tags or other identifiable characteristics for easier retrieval from Gear Check.
  • Keep checked items and size to a minimum.
  • Event photos are provided so you can leave your camera equipment at home.
  • Please do not bring other valuables to the event.
  • If you park at 875 N. Michigan Ave., leave your gear in your vehicle.
  • If you have guests attending the event, consider having your guests hold your small-bag items while you climb.

What kind of security can I expect at the building?

We are guests of 875 N. Michigan Ave., which houses both businesses and personal residences. Please be courteous to all. Security procedures must be followed and security personnel will be present in all areas. Car and bag checks may be done in the parking garage and other areas and is left up to the discretion of 875 N. Michigan Ave. security.

To ensure everyone’s safety, climbers are not permitted to leave the stairwells unless escorted by security, who will be stationed at 10 floor intervals (approximately). 875 N. Michigan Ave. security will be in radio communication and prepared to assist you in case of an emergency.

How do I get there?

CTA Bus Routes

We encourage you to consider public transportation due to the number of people present on event day!

CTA’s #151 and 146 bus routes will drop you off directly in front of 875 N. Michigan. Visit or call 836-7000 (any area code) for CTA travel information.


Parking is available exclusively at the 875 N. Michigan Ave. Parking Garage. You may access the garage from the Chestnut or Delaware side of the building. As part of security procedures, uniformed personnel may check vehicles entering the Parking Garage. Please allow extra time for this security check and obey all instructions given by 875 N. Michigan Ave. staff. We suggest leaving your coat and belongings secured in your car. Please note your wave’s start time to ensure you select the correct time parameters for your parking pass.


Spot Hero
Save up to 50% when you book a parking spot in advance at a nearby garage.

Bloomingdales Building
Parking garage located at 900 N. Michigan Avenue. Discount available with any purchase, e.g. coffee.

Water Tower Place Valet
Available at the Hilton Chicago Magnificent Mile Suites. Parking rate is $28 up to 2 hours and $36 for 2 – 6 hours.

Nearby Parking Garages

  • Park at 100 East Walton
  • East of Michigan Avenue on Delaware Street
  • West of Michigan Avenue on Delaware Street

All prices are subject to change without notice.

How do I get my packet (climbing bib, start time, and t-shirt)?

NEW THIS YEAR! All participants receiving their packets by mail must meet their minimum fundraising by the time the packet is shipped. Please see Registration Fees for more details.

Team packets will be shipped 2-3 weeks prior to the event to team captains. Team captains and members must meet their minimum fundraising goal by January 26. The packet of any team member that does not meet the minimum by this date will be held at RHA’s offices and the team member will need to attend Packet Pick-Up or pay for packet to be mailed individually for a $17 fee no later than February 9, 2024.

Individual climbers can do one of two things to get their packets:

1) Pick up climb packets from the Respiratory Health Association office on event weekend. The building is located conveniently in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. Participants may pick up for other individual climbers if you know the correct spelling of their full name and climb category.

1440 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: 312-628-0200

Friday, February 23
10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday, February 24
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All climbers must meet their fundraising minimum by Wednesday, February 21, 2024. All participants who have not met their minimum by this date will have their card provided at the time of registration charged. If a card is not approved, the participant will be required to make a donation their account before they are able to receive their packet.


2) Order climb packet to be mailed before the climb here. Individual packets will be shipped 2-3 weeks prior to the event. There is a $17 fee per packet. Climb packets can be ordered until February 9. Individual climbers who are having their packet mailed must have reached their minimum fundraising goal by February 9.

NOTE: There is no packet pick-up on event day! Individuals who do not pick up their climb packet during the designated packet pick-up times will forfeit their climbing spots.

Can I pick what time I climb?

Although individual participants can’t request specific climb wave times, there a few ways to influence your assigned time.

  • Register as a Lung Health Champion – One benefit of committing to raise $1,000 is selecting your climb wave time preference.
  • Create a Team – All team members will be assigned to the same wave. Minimum team size is two participants – if you want to climb at the same time as a friend, consider forming a team!
  • Register for the Elite Climb – Participants in this division are assigned to the 7:00 a.m. climb wave.
  • NEW! During registration, select your preferred time slot. This does not guarantee you will climb during this time. Time slot requests from Lung Health Champions and Team Captains will be prioritized.

We assign climb waves in advance of the event and all are final. With the number of climbers expected, it’s not possible to accommodate individual requests for specific wave times or change times once assignments are made. Your climb wave is shared in your event packet at packet pickup. RHA is not able to provide this information by phone or email.

Want to receive your climb wave time early? Sign up to receive your packet by mail here and your time will be mailed along with your event shirt, bib, and other materials a few weeks prior to the event date.