Making it to the summit of a mountain won’t be an easy feat if you aren’t well-prepared. In addition to having the right technical skills, your body should also be ready for the physical challenge.
If your mountaineering trip will be led by a professional guide, chances are, the itinerary will include a couple of days to learn basic ice and snow skills. The necessary physical mountaineering training, though, will require weeks or months.
This article will help you with mountaineering training. We will cover all the important elements you need to include in your mountaineering training program for you to have an easy time once you wear your mountaineering boots.
Creating a Mountaineering Training Plan – The Steps You Need to Follow
The ideal training approach should be customized for you and the specific mountain you intend to summit. The steps below should help you establish your training plan:
1. Assess Your Current Fitness Level
This could include an evaluation by a certified trainer or a doctor. If you will be going with reputable guide service, they should guide you on the necessary physical and mental preparedness required for the climb.
2. Understand the Necessary Physical Requirements for the Climb
That said, summiting Mount Washington in New Hampshire will be very different compared to summiting Mount Everest. Hence, you should assess your needs very carefully and then plan accordingly. Having the ability to climb at a steady rate plus having enough energy and strength to descend safely should be your key objectives when training for mountaineering.
3. Come Up with a Way to Approach the Training
Entire climbing books covering the training subject do exist. Also, you can create your detailed plan at a minimal cost. However, the issue with these options is that you won’t get the much-needed expert feedback, and keeping your motivation up may be tough.
A better idea would be to seek out a personal trainer to create a customized plan featuring regular check-ins. While this option may cost more, the benefits can make the plan worth it.
4. Develop the Training Plan
Mountaineering will require varying types of training, each putting a focus on a different need:
- Interval sessions – These will boost your ability to process more oxygen with every breath.
- Cardio workouts – To improve the overall fitness level of your lungs and heart.
- Balance and flexibility – You need both for mountaineering.
- Strength and endurance exercise – So that you can haul a heavy load – say your climbing backpack – and sustain physical strength for hours.
- Hiking days – This will help you extend your training into real-world situations.
Timeline for Training for Mountaineering
When to Start
It is recommended that you start training at least 16 weeks before the mountaineering trip. For example, if you will be wearing your climbing shorts on 1st July, start training no later than mid-March.
Incorporating Rest and Recovery
Ensure that you have plenty of rest – at least 1 day a week in all your training phases. Besides, every four to 6 weeks, have a week where you reduce your training load by 25% – 50% to allow the body to recover.
Your training plan should peak about 2 weeks before the trip. The week before the trip should be light to allow the body to recover – the most important goal the week before you put on your mountaineering pants should be getting plenty of sleep.
Specific Mountaineering Training Workouts
Activities such as hiking, trail running, and snowshoeing are perfect because they will also help you build both endurance and strength. Options such as gym cardio equipment, swimming, and cycling, can be used to change up the cardio training when you need to give your body a break.
As the altitude increases, the atmospheric pressure will decrease and you will end up obtaining less oxygen with every breath. Interval training will allow you to improve your ability to utilize oxygen.
Intervals are a set of repetitions of high-intensity aerobic exercises at a faster pace than usual, with low-intensity exercises in between. For example, you can run 4 one-mile repeats at a hard pace, with five minutes of slow jogging. Also, you can run to the top of a set of bleachers and then jog slowly back down, repeating for up to 4 times. You are allowed to select whatever mode of exercise works for you – for example, treadmill, elliptical machine, or bicycle – as long as you ensure you are pushing yourself to a high-intensity level.
The end goal of using day-hiking as a method of mountaineering training is to build to a hike that mirrors the most strenuous climbing/mountaineering day in terms of the number of exertion hours, anticipated elevation gain, and pack weight. If you can hike at a higher altitude, this will be better.
You can start by doing a hike once per week – this should help you transition to the conditions you will find on the mountain. Begin with easier hikes and a lighter hiking backpack at a low elevation and then increase the intensity on future hikes by adding both pack weight and distance.
Adjusting to altitude can only be achieved by arriving several days early and spending some time at a high altitude. Your body will need this time to undergo various physiological changes that the altitude produces.
Endurance, Strength, Balance, and Flexibility Exercises
Exercises targeting the areas that usually bear the brunt of the load on the mountain are extremely important. You will need to increase strength in all the major leg muscles and core muscles and to increase endurance in the same muscle groups.
Core exercises will also help you with your balance. You can improve your flexibility by warming up through a full range of motion before other types of training and stretching during your cool-down sessions. Some climbers also like to add yoga sessions to their training plans to improve flexibility.
When training, you will need to keep the following in your mind:
- Ensure that all the exercises are fit for your body. Do not try to fit your body into the exercises.
- If something hurts, either skip the exercise or modify it. If you feel the need, take extra rest days.
- Be sure to move at your own pace, ensuring you are going slowly initially.
- As your training progresses, either add more resistance/weight or increase the repetitions.
- Before starting any tough exercise, be sure to warm up by doing an easy five- to ten-minute jog.
Some of the exercises you can use to improve your balance, flexibility, strength, and endurance include:
- Jump squats
- Step up exercise
- Heel down exercise
- Single-leg deadlift
- Lift exercise
- Side plank with lateral pull-down exercise
- Side plank with an overhead press with the band exercise
- Push up with a single-arm row exercise
Q: How Do I Get in Shape for Mountaineering?
To get fit for mountaineering, you will need 5 types of training. These are:
- Cardio workouts
- Interval sessions
- Endurance and strength exercises
- Balance and flexibility training
- Hiking days
Q: How Do You Train for High Altitude Mountaineering?
Training at high altitudes early enough can help your body become accustomed to high altitude mountaineering. For example, if you intend to use hiking as a training method, consider increasing your altitude regularly. This will help your body undergo physiological changes that often happen when exploring high-altitude mountains.
Q: How Do You Train for Alpine Climbing?
To explore alpine slopes, you will need sufficient cardiovascular endurance. You can build the endurance with 2 – 3 aerobic workouts per week that last for 30 to 45 minutes each. Also, you should build strength in your leg muscles through activities like stair climbing, vigorous walking, hill climbing, and jogging.
Q: What is Mountaineering in Physical Education?
Mountaineering can be defined as a non-consumption physical activity that requires both physical and mental endurance, shrewdness and stamina. Mountaineering means visiting high-altitude spots in mountainous regions purely for pastime or pleasure.
Q: What is the Goal of Mountaineering?
The main goal of mountaineering is to reach the highest points on a mountain. Most mountaineers prefer high, difficult climbs that are yet to be explored. Some of the benefits derived from mountain climbing include enjoying great views and boosting both aerobic and physical fitness.
Globo Surf Overview
If you are thinking of summiting a specific mountain for the first time, you should invest some of your time into mountaineering training. To enjoy mountain climbing, you should be fit enough – this is the only way you will have the ability to endure the journey up the mountain and back down. Armed with the information in this article, you should be able to prepare a plan for mountaineering training.