Mountaineering Training | Fit To Climb: Week 7

Posted by: | March 18, 2013
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

Fit to Climb: Week 7 Schedule

DAY WORKOUT TOTAL TIME DIFFICULTY
1 Rainier Dozen / Easy Hiking ( 30 min) 42 min. Medium
2 Rainier Dozen / High Intensity Stair Interval Training (60 min) 72 min. Very Hard
3 Rainier Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
4 Strength Circuit Training x 4 54 min. Hard
5 Rainier Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
6 Rainier Dozen / Cross Training (1 hr) 72 min. Medium
7 Hike (3 hrs, 15lbs of pack weight) 180 min. Medium
Total 7 hrs 24 mins

BRIEFING

This week, we’re loading up your pack with another ten to fifteen pounds of weight. Your ultimate target weight will be 35 to 45 pounds, depending on your individual gear. The added pack weight takes you a big step closer to that goal of preparing for your climb. A side benefit of increasing the amount of gear in your backpack is learning how to pack your gear like a pro! Check out RMI Guide Pete Van Deventer’s packing tips for some insights on how to pack a backpack for climbing!
 
Since day one of Fit To Climb, you’ve been practicing squats, lunges and other core exercises which are building your upper and lower body strength. This is a great time to focus on your technique, especially for squats (see Fit to Climb: Week 3 for a refresher on proper technique). 
 
This week, you’ll also increase the stair training workout to 60 minutes, pushing it into the “very hard” workout territory. The strength workout is twice as long as when you started; you’ll be doing 4 sets of the 8 exercises. In this week’s workouts you’ll notice that you’re building muscle endurance, indicated by your ability to make repeated efforts with less fatigue.

DESCRIPTIONS OF WORKOUTS

Day 1: Rainier Dozen + Easy Hiking (30 Minutes)
Begin your day with the Rainier Dozen. Feel free to take another 30 to 60 minutes of light exercise if you feel like it (a brisk walk is a great option). If you feel tired, today is a good opportunity be good to take a complete rest day instead. Listen to your body.

Day 2: Rainier Dozen + Stair Interval Training (60 Minutes)
After the Rainier Dozen, warm up for about 10 minutes, and then climb up and down a set of stairs, at a consistent pace, for about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool down with some stretching. You don’t need to carry a pack on your stair interval training, the focus in this workout is on speed and intensity.

Day 3: Rainier Dozen / Rest
Begin your day with the Rainier Dozen. Feel free to take another 30 to 60 minutes of light exercise if you feel like it (a brisk walk is a great option). If you feel tired, today is a good opportunity be good to take a complete rest day instead. Listen to your body.

Day 4: Strength Circuit Training x 4
Repeat the strength circuit training workout introduced in Week 3. After warming up, perform four sets of the following exercises:

• Steam Engine
• Push Up
• Three Quarter Squat
Russian Twists
• Lunge
• Steam Engine Laying down
• Mountain Climber
8 Point Bodybuilder

Spend 40 seconds performing the exercises, and take 20 seconds between exercises to rest and rotate. Take a full minute of rest between each set. Take a full minute of rest between each set. Take ten minutes to cool down by stretching after you’re done.

Day 5: Rainier Dozen / Rest
Begin your day with the Rainier Dozen. Feel free to take another 30 to 60 minutes of light exercise if you feel like it (a brisk walk is a great option). If you feel tired, today is a good opportunity be good to take a complete rest day instead. Listen to your body.

Day 6: Rainier Dozen + Cross Training (1 Hour)
Warm up with the Rainier Dozen and then spend an hour in some moderately vigorous activity as cross training. Listen to your body as to what activity sounds appropriate and have fun with it.

Day 7: 3 Hour Hike
Adding a pack with 15 pounds doesn’t sound like much, but if you’re not used to wearing a pack, it’s quite normal to experience tiredness or muscle ache, especially in the shoulders. If you feel a sharp pain, you should stop. However, if what you feel is muscle fatigue or an ache, do persevere and your shoulders will become used to the pack over the next few weeks.

An organizational aspect to this workout is to practice packing your pack so that the needed gear is easy to accessible, weather proofed and packed in a way that is balanced. Nothing wears you down like a poorly-organized, lop-sided pack.

Practically, if you have been acquiring gear for your climb, you could use it for ballast. If you don’t have the specific items that you’re climbing with, yet, you can be creative by adding heavy items such as water and bags of rice, or even spare clothes. A tip for anyone who is worried about knee pain on the descent: carry a jug of water to achieve the desired weight on the way up (15lbs = ~1.8 gallons of water). At the high point of the hike you can dump out some, or all, of this water so that you can descend with a lighter load and lessen the strain on your body.

- John Colver

Have a question? See the Fit To Climb FAQ for explanations of specific exercises and general pointers to help you through the Fit To Climb Program.

John Colver is a longtime climber, former mountain guide, and certified personal trainer with the American Council of Exercise. Colver introduced outdoor fitness classes to athletic clubs throughout the greater Puget Sound region before creating his adventX brand. Currently, adventX leads training programs in Seattle and Colver presents clinics on outdoor fitness at companies such as Microsoft, Boeing, the American Lung Association, and REI. Colver lives in Seattle, and is working on his second book, Fit to Climb - a 16 week Mount Rainier Fitness Program.

An RMI Team on Mt. Shuksan, North Cascades.

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Comments

With regard to a previous article on the benefits of using trekking poles on the climb of Rainier, how does one coordinate the use of two poles with an ice ax?

Posted by: Greg Jennings on 6/26/2014 at 6:28 am

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