Entries From Fit to Climb: The Adventx 16 Week Mt. Rainier Training Program

Mountaineering Training | Introduction to the Fit To Climb Program

Posted by: | January 28, 2013
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

We are excited to share a weekly trainings series from the book Fit to Climb: The Adventx 16 week Mount Rainier Training Program authored by former RMI Guide John Colver! This conditioning plan is designed to help you train for a successful Mount Rainier climb. 
 
As the plan unfolds you’ll quickly gain momentum, achieving milestones, and navigating each phase of training. Before you’re halfway through, you’ll feel confident in your abilities and have experienced significant physical gains.
 
Features of the Fit To Climb plan are:

• A progressive training schedule with measurable milestones
• A weekly chart with day by day workout descriptions
• The ‘Rainier Dozen’ daily strengthening workout
• Tips on cross-training and alternative training options
• Instruction on aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance, and strength training
• Nutrition for training and climbing
• Tips on motivation, goal setting, and mental preparation

The Fit To Climb Program is designed to be done anywhere and with the minimal of equipment. No matter where you live, you’ll be able to participate and each week you’ll build strength and endurance for the climb ahead.
 
The 16 weeks are comprised of four phases:

• Phase one = Adaptation Training (Weeks 1 - 2)
• Phase two = Foundation Training (Weeks 3 - 10)
• Phase three = Peak Training (Weeks 10 - 15)
• Phase four = Expedition (Week 16)

These phases are the building blocks, each ending in milestones. We start with general conditioning, then add endurance, followed by the addition of high intensity interval training in the peak phase and ending with a short ‘tapering’ phase during the final preparation in the week before your climb. 

The timing commitment of the Fit To Climb Program varies. The Adaption and Foundation Training Phases ask for 4 - 7 hours a week of training. During the Peak Training Phase the focus is on building solid and aerobic endurance with long training sessions and the plan calls for 10 - 15+ hrs of training per week. It’s a big time commitment so plan ahead and try and prepare your schedule to handle the increased training demands. For some tips, see RMI’s collection of ideas to maximize the time and the find the right terrain for your training.
 
The timing of the sixteen weeks is designed to prepare you for Mount Rainier climb that is four months away. If your climb is later or sooner you can adjust the timing as necessary, either getting a head-start or beginning in the appropriate week.

The Fit To Climb Program can easily be tailored to prepare you for any mountain beyond Mt. Rainier. In developing training plans for other climbs, plan your training with the end in mind: is the major challenge the high altitude, extreme temperatures, heavy pack, or multiple days or weeks? 
 
As you create the training map, ensure that there are stepping stones to gain new skills and strengths as well as milestones where you can “test” your ability. One principle of training for mountaineering in all ranges, is that aerobic endurance conditioning is the primary training component for most climbers. Start by making sure that you have what it takes to “go long,” then focus on the specific challenges of your climb or expedition.

The Fit To Climb training program is rigorous and to complete it in its entirety requires a substantial commitment of time and effort. Do people follow it to-the-letter? Sometimes yes, often no - people become ill, work or family situations come up and the best plans work on the basis of flexibility. A paradox of training for a major climb is that we want to set the bar high in training in order to replicate the demands we’ll have during the expedition, however, we also want to maintain confidence if we fall short of a training session or goal. It’s rarely a linear process; sometimes we feel awful just when we expected to be strong, sometimes our perfect plan goes sideways, and sometimes we feel doubt when everything has been completed perfectly.

As you start the process, think of the key elements of success: Maintain momentum, rest when you need to, push hard when you feel strong, and constantly think about how you can recover well. And most importantly, be confident that your efforts will pay off; many people have climbed and succeeded in their goals while having not completed all of the training or while feeling sub-par. I remind myself that one can miss a few classes and still graduate. It’s progress, not perfection, that counts. 

- 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.

RMI Climbers on the upper slopes of Mt. Rainier
3

could you please explain the side lunge? is it just as it sounds?

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Posted by: jennie on 4/16/2014 at 3:41 pm

Been doing snowshoeing with hand and leg weights and cross country SKING. Will add a pack and weighted helmet for neck strange thing.

Still 4 feet of snow on the… read more

Posted by: Joe on 3/23/2014 at 5:17 pm


Mountaineering Training | Fit To Climb: Week 1

Posted by: | February 04, 2013
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

This is officially the first training week Fit To Climb and of your Mount Rainier adventure. Much like fastening up a coat, it’s really important to get the first button in the right hole, or no amount of effort at the other end is going to make the process successful!

In physical training, a core foundational principle is to develop correct movement patterns, this so we can use our bodies efficiently while avoiding injury. The method we’ll use to practice this week is the Daily Dozen. (Download a description of the Daily Dozen here).

During this first week of training, measure your success by performing the exercises with the greatest amount of skill possible. Consider how you’ll want to move on the mountain during your climb, moving over rocks covered in ice, wearing crampons and a heavy backpack, potentially in a snowstorm. At that point, you’ll want your foot to end up exactly where you want it, and you’ll want to have the strength and coordination to efficiently move your body upwards.

The very first step toward getting there is to figure out how to move your body right. Therefore, do not worry about how many exercises you can do or how intensely you can do them; simply focus on the quality of movement and make a strong commitment to quality training during this week and for the weeks to follow.

Fit to Climb: Week 1 Schedule

DAY WORKOUT TOTAL TIME DIFFICULTY
1 Daily Dozen (Crux Workout) 12 min. Recovery
2 30 Minute Hike 30 min. Medium
3 Daily Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
4 30 Minute Hike 30 min. Medium
5 Daily Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
6 1 Hour Hike 60 min. Medium
7 Rest - Recovery
  Total 2 hrs 36 mins  

- 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.

RMI Climbers on Ingraham Flats, Mt. Rainier
3

Mark and Keith-
There is not a way to automatically skip to certain weeks of the training.  However, you can access all of the Fit to Climb Training posts… read more

Posted by: Melissa on 3/5/2014 at 10:24 am

Like Mr Van Eaton I am hiking the first part of June and would appreciate jumping in to the 4th week of training. Thanks!

read more

Posted by: Mark Moberly on 3/5/2014 at 9:28 am


Mountaineering Training | Fit To Climb: Week 2

Posted by: | February 11, 2013
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

Congratulations on last week’s training, you are off to a great start! How does your body feel after seven practice sessions of the Daily Dozen?

The purpose of this week’s training is to continue to practice the Daily Dozen and to add a weekend hike to round things out. Choose an easy or moderate goal for the first hike.

This is the end of the adaptation phase. Next week is the beginning of the foundation phase.

Fit to Climb: Week 2 Schedule

DAY WORKOUT TOTAL TIME DIFFICULTY
1 Daily Dozen 12 min. Recovery
2 Daily Dozen + 40 Minute Hike 52 min. Medium
3 Daily Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
4 Daily Dozen + 40 Minute Hike 52 min. Medium
5 Daily Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
6 Daily Dozen + 2 Hour Hike 132 min. Medium
7 Rest - Recovery
Total 4 hrs 44 mins

- 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.

RMI Climbers on the Emmons Shoulder, Mt. Rainier.
11

Explain the daily dozen in some detail please. Also what if you don’t have a stair master to your avail?

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Posted by: Dave Pogatchnik on 4/14/2014 at 7:06 pm

John,

The hikes will begin incorporating specified weight in the packs later in the program but it’s always a good idea to head out with food, water, and the… read more

Posted by: RMI Expeditions on 3/31/2014 at 8:34 am


Mountaineering Training | Fit To Climb: Week 3

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

Now the real work begins! This is the beginning of Phase 2: Foundation / Build. You’ll be adding strength work and cross training to your daily training routine.

Fit to Climb: Week 3 Schedule

DAY WORKOUT TOTAL TIME DIFFICULTY
1 Rainier Dozen (*see below) / Easy Hiking ( 30 min) 42 min. Medium
2 Rainier Dozen / Stair Interval Training (40 min) 52 min. Hard
3 Rainier Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
4 Strength Circuit Training x 2 (*see below) 38 min. Hard
5 Rainier Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
6 Rainier Dozen / Cross Training (1 hr) 72 min. Medium
7 Rainier Dozen / Hike (2 hrs) 132 min. Medium
Total 6 hrs

THE RAINIER DOZEN
You’ve been doing the Daily Dozen for two weeks, going forward the new Daily Workout will be the Rainier Dozen. The Rainier Dozen is based upon the Daily Dozen and it’s a more advanced workout.

Here are a list of the exercises. You may be familiar with all or some. A description is added below for each exercise. Following the Rainier Dozen, you’ll find a description of the Day 4 Strength Circuit.

1.  Steam engine
2.  Three quarter squats
3.  Turkish Get Up
4.  Lunge
5.  Arm extender
6.  Triceps Dip
7.  Deep squat
8.  Steam engine laying down
9.  Mountain climber
10.  Push up
11.  Ranger crawl
12.  8 Point Body Builder

If you have any concerns about performing these exercises, consider hiring a coach or fitness trainer to help you learn how to get the most from each movement.

1. Steam Engine
How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands clasped behind your head. Lift your left knee, simultaneously twisting your body to the right, while keeping the muscles of your core engaged. Alternate the movement, using your right knee and left elbow.

2. Three Quarter Squats
How to do it: Stand with legs shoulder width apart and arms at your sides. Swing your arms forward and up, raising them above your head, palms facing forward. At the same time, bend your knees as if you were sitting in a chair. Hold the Squat briefly, then stand up by pushing through your heels, until you are in a full upright standing position.

3. Turkish Get Up
How to do it:
Step 1: Starting in a laying down position, with the right hand vertically toward the sky, bring the right knee into a bended position, while rolling towards your left. Placing the left hand on the ground, bring the right foot over the body and placing it on the floor. From here, keeping the right arm vertical, bring your body into the lunge position. From this position, push down on the right leg to bring your entire body into the standing-upright position.
Step 2: Drop back to the lunge position, with your left foot back. Place your left arm on the ground. Simultaneously rotate your body towards the right, while extending the right leg. Place your bottom on the ground, proceeding to lay flat while the right arm remains vertical throughout.

4. Lunge
How to do it: Stand upright, feet and legs together, hands on hips, elbows out to sides. Step your right leg backward. Bend your left knee until the kneecap is directly above your foot, causing the leg to form a 90-degree angle. Simultaneously lower your right leg until the knee almost rests on the ground, forming another 90-degree angle. Step back to starting position, and repeat, stepping backward with the left leg. Continue to alternate legs.

5. Arm Extender
How to do it: Standing upright, start with the hands and elbows at shoulder level. Simultaneously extend elbows outwards three times, and on the fourth time, completely extend the arm to finish with arms completely straight out to the side. Pause, and repeat.

6. Triceps Dip
How to do it: Find a solid object, such as a wall, stairs, or a bench. Facing outwards, place the hands behind your body on the edge of the object. Your legs can be straight, or to reduce the resistance, they can bent at the knees. With the core muscles engaged, simply lower your body until the angle behind your forearm and upper arm is approximately 100 degrees. Be careful to not lower yourself more than this, because to do so will place undue strain on the shoulders. Reverse movement to start position.

7. Deep Squat
How to do it: Stand with your feet a little wider than hip distance apart, toes pointing out at 45-degree angles. Put your hands on your hips and bend your knees out to the sides, making sure to keep them in line with the toes. Lower your body in a Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground, and then push up through your heels to a standing position. Repeat.

8. Steam Engine (on ground)
How to do it: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head, head slightly raised, taking care not to pull on your neck. Extend your legs fully, holding them an inch or so off the ground. Bend the left knee in toward your body as you extend your right elbow to touch the left knee. Alternate the movement, touching your right knee to your left elbow as you extend the left leg fully.

9. Mountain Climber
How could the mountain climber not be good for mountain climbing! Seriously though, the mountain climber is a great exercise for core strength, hip flexor extension, agility in the calves and strength in the feet and ankles. How this benefits the climber is through the improved flexibility, coordination, strength and endurance required during the stepping-up motion.
How to do it: Starting in the plank position, bring the right foot forward as if you were in the starting blocks of a 100 meter sprint. From here, simply alternate your left and right legs between this position with a small hop or jump, as if running or bounding. The length of the movement can be shorter or longer depending on your level of ability.

10. Push Up
How to do it: Start with palms and toes on the ground, body in the air, as straight and strong as possible. Your arms should be directly underneath your shoulders, and you can spread your fingers wide for stability. (If this is more of a challenge than you’d like right now, do a modified Push-up with your knees on the ground.) Keeping the back and neck straight, inhale, bend your elbows and lower yourself until you are about 2 inches off the ground. Exhale as you push back up into the starting position. Repeat.

11. Ranger Crawl
How to do it: Starting in the plank position, bring the right knee towards the right elbow. Pause, then return to the start position. Then, switch feet and bring the left knee towards the left elbow, again, pausing, before returning to the start position. Repeat. What’s important with this exercise is to engage the core muscles and the arm and shoulder muscles prior to beginning the movements. Keep the hips low to maintain the plank position.

12. 8 Point Bodybuilder
How to do it: Starting in the standing position, drop to the ground and then thrust both legs back to the plank position. Perform a push up. Then, perform a scissor, spreading the legs wide, then returning them to the start position. From here, bring the feet forward into a position to be able to perform a power jump. Finally, perform the power jump, finishing with a hand clap before returning to the start position (see this video for an explanation).

STRENGTH CIRCUIT TRAINING
A. (Rainier Dozen to warm up) - 12 minutes
B. The 8 exercises for this circuit (40 seconds on, 20 seconds rest) x 2 - 16 minutes, based on the Rainier Dozen, are:

1.  Stem Engine
2.  Push Up
3.  Squat
4.  Lunge
5.  Plank
6.  Jump rope / Jumping Jack
7.  Mountain Climber
8.  Side Lunge

C. (10 Minute Cool Down) - 10 minutes. See the Home Stretch for exercises.

- 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.

4

Hi Kelly,

Cross training is simply some variety training that still gets you out moving around, whether that’s hiking, biking, running, etc. More info on cross training can be… read more

Posted by: Linden Mallory on 3/31/2014 at 8:23 am

any specific for the 1 hr cross training and the 40 minute stair interval?

read more

Posted by: Kelly Thynes on 3/29/2014 at 6:33 pm


Mountaineering Training | Fit To Climb: Week 4

Posted by: | February 25, 2013
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

By the end of this week you’ll be a quarter of the way through Fit To Climb! This week’s should be familiar, except we will add a Fitness Test on Day 6.

Fit to Climb: Week 4 Schedule

DAY WORKOUT TOTAL TIME DIFFICULTY
1 Rainier Dozen / Easy Hiking ( 30 min) 42 min. Medium
2 Rainier Dozen / Stair Interval Training (40 min) 52 min. Hard
3 Rainier Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
4 Strength Circuit Training x 2 38 min. Hard
5 Rainier Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
6 Rainier Dozen / Cross Training (1 hr) 72 min. Hard
7 Hike (3 hrs) 182 min. Medium
Total 6 hrs 46 mins


FITNESS TEST

In Fit To Climb we’ll do the test every four weeks to act as a measurement of overall fitness as well as specific core muscle endurance and agility. The repeated test is designed to show progress and these sessions should also be fun. Be sure to record your results from this week’s test and we can compare them to the results of the next test. As with all training, there should be an emphasis on safety and self care. Push your limits but don’t place undue stress or strain on your body. Rather than go all out, try to nudge your results forward in a controlled and sensible way, much like a successful mountain climb.

Complete the Fitness Test as follows:

After a good ten-minute warm-up followed by the Rainier Dozen, first do the timed run. Go at a speed that feels like an intense effort. Record your time. Then, rest for 5 minutes by gently walking or just pacing slowly back and forth.

For the strength test portion, find an area that has a solid, level, and soft surface. Grass is perfect but you can also do this indoors if you prefer. During this test, you will perform four exercises for 2 minutes each, with 3 minutes of rest between each exercise.

For the first three exercises, the goal is to count the number of perfect repetitions you can complete in 2 minutes. For a reminder on good form for these exercises, refer to the Rainier Dozen post (Week 3). If you do this with a partner, you can rest while counting their repetitions—along with providing encouragement! For the fourth exercise, the Shuttle Run, simply time yourself. Write down your scores for each test.

Perform the strength test as follows:

1. Push-ups—2 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of rest
2. Steam Engines on Back—2 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of rest
3. 3/4 Squats—2 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of rest
4. 20-yard Shuttle Run—Set up your shuttle run course with some cones or water bottles. If you aren’t sure of measurement use 25 normal paces as a guide. Run back and forth between your markers for 2 minutes, counting each loop as one.

- 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.


Mountaineering Training | Answers to Common Questions from Fit To Climb

Posted by: | February 28, 2013
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

Below are some answers to help to common questions that we receive regarding the Adventx Fit To Climb Program:

How do I complete the Stair Intervals?
First, find a set of stairs. They can be outdoors, indoors, at a stadium or even a stairmaster or eliptical trainer at the gym. Warm up with steady walking for 10 - 15 minutes. Then make repeated high intensity efforts - about 2 minutes is a good length of time (this may mean two or more flights/sets if your stairs are short). In between efforts, rest for 2 - 3 minutes until you can breathe comfortably before starting again. If you are new to interval training, start with 3 or 4 efforts. Don’t worry about your performance level today as you’ll see gains as the weeks progress. The 40 minutes is an average time frame, the amount of time it will actually take you depends on the number of efforts you put in. Be sure to allow 10 minutes to cool down at an easy pace.

What is a Turkish Get Up (from the Rainier Dozen)?
Steve Cotter offers a great instructional video on the Turkish Get Up using a variation I find very helpful for climbers in building strength for the big steps often found on climbs. Using a kettle ball or additional weight, as demonstrated in the video, is optional depending on how challenging this exercise is for you. See the video below. Be sure to complete the exercise on both your left and right sides.

How do I complete the Timed Run?
The Timed Run (or walk) is a benchmark that allow you to see progress over the sixteen weeks. When not setting benchmarks, it’s easy to ‘feel’ fitter, or even less fit, at times. The Timed Run is a timed effort over a short distance that allows you to see tangible gains. You can choose your actual distance, I suggest about 1 mile, four circuits of an athletic field or the perimeter of a city park - but it can be any moderate distance that you choose and can follow again over the coming weeks. The Timed Run also acts as an improvement target, providing focus for this workout.

What is the Fitness Test all about?
In Fit To Climb we’ll do the test every four weeks to act as a measurement of overall fitness as well as specific core muscle endurance and agility. The repeated test is designed to show progress and these sessions should also be fun. Be sure to record your results from this week’s test and we can compare them to the results of the next test. As with all training, there should be an emphasis on safety and self care. Push your limits but don’t place undue stress or strain on your body. Rather than go all out, try to nudge your results forward in a controlled and sensible way, much like a successful mountain climb.

I don’t have the time or the right terrain to fit in all of the training!
There is no doubt about it, the Fit To Climb Program is a demanding training routine and asks for a significant investment of time. Additionally, ideal training takes place on terrain that can replicate the demands of the mountains. Finding both the time and the terrain to fit in all of your training is a difficult task. Check out our Time and Terrain Tips for Mountaineering Training, a collection of ideas, suggestions, and tips that our guides and climbers have used over the years to get the most out of your training. Be creative with the time and terrain you have available! Additionally, consider alternate activities like cycling to get your workouts in, see Cycling for Mountaineering Training for more ideas.

-John Colver

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.

Questions? Comments? Share your thoughts with John and other readers on the RMI Blog!

You can read the past Weekly Mountaineering Training Series on the RMI Blog.

1

Hello, I was wondering if the versaclimber could be worked into the weekly/daily workouts? If so, do you have suggestions as to how? Many thanks for the advice, Anne

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Posted by: Anne Farrar on 4/22/2014 at 6:20 pm


Mountaineering Training | Fit To Climb: Week 5

Posted by: | March 04, 2013
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

Fit to Climb: Week 5 Schedule

DAY WORKOUT TOTAL TIME DIFFICULTY
1 Rainier Dozen / Easy Hiking ( 30 min) 42 min. Medium
2 Rainier Dozen / Stair Interval Training (50 min) 62 min. Hard
3 Rainier Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
4 Rainier Dozen / Strength Circuit Training x 3 46 min. Hard
5 Rainier Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
6 Rainier Dozen / Cross Training (1 hr) 72 min. Hard
7 Rainier Dozen / Hike (3 hrs) 192 min. Medium
Total 6 hrs 18 mins

BRIEFING
 
This week’s training plan looks very similar to last week’s. The day of your fitness test reverts back to your choice of cross-training. On day 7, the length of the hike increase by about an hour or lengthened about two miles. The primary training goal this week is to begin to extend your aerobic endurance, which you’ll achieve by the increase in length of the hike. 
 
Adding an hour may seem like a small increment; but you are going from a medium length hike to a longer one requiring a fairly substantial effort.
 
There are several subtle but important things to consider as you increase the length of your hike. One of the biggest ones is energy consumption. Many people can do a two hour hike without any special preparation, and you’ll probably have enough energy to complete it just fine. However, to be successful maintaining energy throughout a three hour hike, you’ll want to be diligent in preparing, specifically with nutrition, to make sure you have enough fuel in your body for the entire hike. Be sure to pack enough snacks to keep you fueled for the entire time! 
 
You’ll also want to consider what you carry in your day pack. On a two hour hike, you may never be more than an hour from the parking lot. As you go further out, this creates additional consideration for self-responsibility and risk management. You’ll want to make sure you have the ten essentials in your pack and also have an emergency plan in case a mishap should occur. This includes letting people know where you’re going, and/or also hiking with other people.
 
SUMMARY
 
Week five can be a positive breakthrough, the week where many people feel a demonstrable increase in their fitness. Often-times, the thing which people notice is an increased aerobic capacity; you simply can do more without getting out of breath. Some people also report feeling stronger. All of this makes sense. If you’ve done all the workouts, you’ll have logged 25 solid days of training. This amounts to 25 improvement cycles! As long as you’re practicing good self care, you can’t help but feel stronger. 
 
It’s important to acknowledge the progress and perhaps celebrate in some way. You should feel confident about what you’re doing; you’ve made significant gains and the foundation you’re building at this point will result in greater gains still as the next few weeks unfold!

- 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.

Sunrise high on the shoulder of the Emmons Glacier, Mt. Rainier
1

What a Russian Twist. Did I miss something? Also, on the stair interval training, do you recommend doing that with a weighted pack, or not?

read more

Posted by: Linda McMillan on 3/11/2013 at 12:47 pm


Mountaineering Training | Fit To Climb: Week 6

Posted by: | March 12, 2013
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

Fit to Climb: Week 6 Schedule

DAY WORKOUT TOTAL TIME DIFFICULTY
1 Rainier Dozen / Easy Hiking ( 30 min) 42 min. Medium
2 Rainier Dozen / Stair Interval Training (50 min) 62 min. Hard
3 Rainier Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
4 Rainier Dozen / Strength Circuit Training x 3 46 min. Hard
5 Rainier Dozen / Rest 12 min. Recovery
6 Rainier Dozen / Cross Training (1 hr) 72 min. Hard
7 Rainier Dozen / Hike (3 hrs) 192 min. Medium
Total 6 hrs 18 mins

BRIEFING

Last week we bumped up the length of three workouts and you may still be a little bit tired. This week, all workouts keep the same length and intensity.

DESCRIPTIONS OF WORKOUTS

Day 1: Rainier Dozen + Easy Hiking (30 Minutes)
Perform the Rainier Dozen, and follow it up with approximately 30 minutes of easy hiking. Feel free to mix things up occasionally with a different activity, such as running, biking or swimming.

Day 2: Rainier Dozen + Stair Interval Training (50 Minutes)
Warm up for about 10 minutes, and then climb up and down a set of stairs, at a consistent pace, for about 30 to 40 minutes. Cool down with some stretching.

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

Day 4: Strength Circuit Training x 3
Repeat the strength circuit training workout introduced in Week 3. After warming up, perform three 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 exercise and take 20 seconds between exercises to rest and switch to the next one. 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 add another 30 to 60 minutes of light exercise if you up for it (a brisk walk is a great option). Listen to your body. If you feel tired, rest. It would be good to take a complete rest day instead.

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, and have fun with it.

Day 7: 3 Hour Hike
Warm up with the Rainier Dozen. Hike for about 3 hours, covering 5 - 6 miles in distance. Hike at an even pace.

SUMMARY

As you work hard at your workouts, pay close attention to how you feel during your workouts and be diligent about self-care and recovery. This self-awareness can help you know what parts of the fitness triangle (aerobic, anaerobic and strength) might need a little extra work. It might also help you realize that you’re pushing too hard and need to dial it back a little. You do have leeway as you train. If, for any reason, you feel exhausted or you feel like you’re slipping back, it’s often best to take an extra rest day or two. Taking more rest is not a negative. This is not to encourage a lack of discipline, but to respect and honor the intuition and self-knowledge that we all have when it comes to understanding when enough is enough. A simple rule in this regard that is often used in elite athletic coaching circles is that “If you have to choose one, it’s always better to undertrain than to overtrain.”

- 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 Climbing Mt. Rainier's Paradise Glacier. Photo: Pete Van Deventer

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.

Mountaineering Training | Fit To Climb: Week 8

Posted by: | March 25, 2013
Categories: *Mountaineering Fitness & Training

Fit to Climb: Week 8 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 Fitness Test 60 min. Medium
7 Rainier Dozen / Hike (4 hrs, 15lbs of pack weight) 252 min. Medium
Total 8 hrs 24 mins

BRIEFING

You’re approaching the halfway mark of the Fit To Climb conditioning program. A question I often ask myself is, “If I had to do the climb today, how would it go?” I like to think that once I reach the halfway point, I could give it a strong attempt and with good conditions and the stars aligned, I’d probably make the summit and back.

This is the mindset that goes with the next few weeks. You still have a ways to go in order to arrive at the start of the climb in great shape, but you should feel confident that you are already more prepared than most on summit day.

To quantify that feeling of preparedness, you’ll perform the fitness test again this week. You should see big gains over your results from week 4 due to the volume of intense training you have done since then and the fitness test is a way to measure that progress.

For the hike, we’ll increase the length to 4 hours but keep the same pack weight of about 15 pounds. Everything else will stay the same this week.

DESCRIPTIONS OF WORKOUTS

Day 1: Rainier Dozen + Easy Hiking (30 Minutes)
Today’s hike is a recovery workout and you can always substitute it with a different activity, such as running, biking or swimming. The important thing is to move at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes. The pace can be conversational, and you do not need to be dripping with sweat at the end of the workout.

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: Fitness Test (1 Hour)
After a good ten-minute warm-up followed by the Rainier Dozen, first complete the timed run for a distance of one mile (or your original timed run distance from the first test) at an intense pace. Record your time and then rest for five minutes.
Following the timed run, perform the strength test as follows: count the number of perfect repetitions you can complete in 2 minutes for each exercise. Write down your scores for each test.
• Push-ups: 2 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of rest
• Steam Engines on Back: 2 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of rest
• 3/4 Squats: 2 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of rest
• 20-yard Shuttle Run: Set up your shuttle run course with some cones or water bottles. If you aren’t sure of measurement use 25 normal paces as a guide. Run back and forth between your markers for 2 minutes, counting each loop as one.

Day 7: 4 Hour Hike
This week you’ll increase the hike duration by about an hour, and approximately 2 miles. If you are hiking on steep terrain, this could add another 700 to 1000 feet in elevation. Adding an hour may seem like a small increment, but you are going from a medium length hike to a fairly substantial effort.

SUMMARY

Congratulations on reaching the halfway point of your training program! Take the time to review your performance in the fitness test and compare them to the results from your first fitness test during Week 4 of the Fit to Climb Program. The value of recording your results in the fitness test is to show quantifiable measurement. These results may show progress (faster timed run and more number of strength test repetitions) which means that you are getting stronger and the program is working for you. If your numbers are the same or have slipped a little, it tells us that we need to re-focus and take look at specific areas of your fitness that are not yet improving. Armed with that knowledge, talk to a local fitness expert or trainer about what you may need to work on in order to improve. 

Lastly, don’t forget to take the time to celebrate your achievements on your dedication and progress over the past 8 weeks!

- 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 climbing Ecuador's Cotopaxi at sunrise.

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