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Mountaineering Training | Answers to Common Questions from Fit To Climb

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.

Comments (5)

Regarding the stair climbing interval training, would it be acceptable to use a steep hill as a substitute for stairs? Where I live there are several nice long steep hills that would be perfect for running, but no long flights of stairs.

Posted by: Rob on

Any specific exercises you would recommend for the strength circuit training? I have an elliptical at home but no weight set to use. Are there some weight-free or gym-free strength circuits I can use as supplement?


Posted by: Greg Duncan on

Are there any other videos or picture descriptions of the exercises in the “Rainier dozen” in addition to the one for the Turkish get up?

Posted by: Matt Roberts on

Hi Anne,
None of the guides here have firsthand experience with the Versaclimber but it seems like a good tool. The best bet is try and mimic the workouts on the Versaclimber - so 20 minutes of stair climbing could be 20 mins on the machine, likewise an interval session could be done on one as well. Best of luck, let us know how it goes!
- The RMI Team

Posted by: RMI Expeditions on

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

Posted by: Anne Farrar on

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