/ mountaineering fitness
In terms of leg strength and general fitness, what is a good way to improve this for long mountain days / alpine routes?
I am not asking for ideas such as regular climbs of big mountain roures or going to the gym but more like day yo day exercise ideas that can be done in spare time.
If it involves running, cycling or swimming then what exercise regimes in each of these are best?
Hope this makes sense.
Living in Northampton, it's pretty flat but hill sprints helped the lungs hugely early this year. Bike or running - I prefer running. Squats, lunges and especially for the knees, one leg squats, played a big parts in my knees not falling apart and can be done in your spare time. Using them as part of a tabata routine takes no time and will get them strong. There's some top tabata videos on youtube.
Slow long runs helped me last year, keeping speed down or up with a HRM. I built up to 5k then maintained it with the odd hill thrown in. Teaches you to keep enough in the tank for the hill. I'm no runner but got quite a buzz from it. Get some decent shoes and build up slowly. In the mountains buying some lighter boots helps more than I thought it ever could
There's stuff you can also do day to day. If you have got stairs at work/way to work, use them and not lifts. Also step two at a time on ascent and descent.
Maybe think about carrying your stuff/shopping in a rucksack.
One other thing I did was load up a rucksack on the 'normal hill walk' and push hard to maintain the pace you normally do.
You'll soon see a difference.
Have you seen Andy Kirkpatrick's book on 'legs - mountain training'?
A fixed gear bike made a significant difference for me.
Iíve not been this year (lack of holiday etc) but reckon it would have improved some more as Iíve been doing even more running, fell stuff too, couple of mini-MMís and a full one, continuing band and also Yoga which has got to be good for the breathing. Plus even more trips away to the UK hills oh and few bits on the SS mountain bike. Dammit.. I wanna go back and pit myself again!!
I joined my MR team about 5 years ago. At the time I thought I was reasonably fit. However I soon realized that the only way to get fitter and quicker at carrying a heavy load up a large hill was (and there doesn't seem to be a way round this) to carry a heavy load up a large hill, repeatedly.
I realize that this is really just a variation on 'regular climbs of big mountain routes', which you didn't want, but it really does work.
Me and my partner were destroyed by our first Scottish winter so we took to wearing heavy rucksacks and scrambling or just going for long walks up and down hill.
We were 3x better in the Alps this year, so it really does work
I think just generally being more active can make a huge difference. That often works best if you can fit it into your normal day, instead of it being an extra activity. So, walking/cycling to work if possible, walking to the pub, etc. For me, it tends to be running to the supermarket and returning with a heavy rucsac of shopping up the hill....
Owning a small child is also quite a good substitute for carrying a heavy rucsac. I'm always willing to loan them out for a trial! Quick calculation suggested carrying backpacking gear plus nearly 4 year old was at least half my body weight....
Anything that replicates the activity on a regular basis.
Lots of big days on the hill walking, backpacking and climbing carrying a heavy rucksack.
Long rock and winter climbs in big boots carrying a sack.
Generally you need to bike ~3 times as much as you run.. so running takes less time. if you do nothing now any increase in training will give quick improvements..
But any of the 3 will improve your basic CV system which will help.
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