Learn five simple rules a mountaineer can use to get the most out of their strength training, in the least amount of time. There are essential to follow to best improve your performance on the mountain.
Strength Training For Mountaineers
By now, I hope you know I am a MASSIVE fan of structured strength training for mountaineers.
It has so many incredible benefits for performance, injury prevention and mental strength; it really cannot be overlooked by any mountaineer.
But do you want to know a secret?
98% of people in the gym, don't really know what they are doing with their strength training (coaches included).
That might sound like a bit of an exaggeration, or even a bit arrogant. But it is the truth.
Now I am not claiming to be the world's authority on strength training.
If you came to me wanting to be a champion powerlifter or a podium bodybuilder, or even become a world-class field athlete, I am not the person to speak to.
But I AM the person to speak to when it comes to strength training for mountaineers.
Why? Well, this is what I do every week. And what I have done for years.
I have taken over a decade of real-world coaching experience and applied it into the very specific demands of mountaineering.
I have studied. I have tested. I have tweaked. And I have put together a fantastic framework to get mountaineers strong and pain-free for their adventures, in the most time-efficient way possible.
Now going into the details of what this looks like, is well beyond the scope of this single email.
But what I want to share with you today, is a set of 5 simple rules mountaineers should follow in their strength training to get the best results, in the least amount of time.
Here they are:
1) Strength Workouts Should Never Be More Than 60 Minutes
This includes your warm-up, your strength work, your core training, your mobility work and any rehab/prehab exercises you might be doing.
If you are spending more than 60 minutes on your strength work, you are either faffing around, not training with the right intensity or are following a VERY inefficient program structure.
2) Power --> Strength --> Endurance
If you are incorporating the power and endurance training into your strength sessions, you need to follow this structure. Power goes first. Then strength. Then endurance.
The body needs to be FRESH to get the most out of power work. And you will be significantly compromising your strength development if you are doing endurance before strength.
It is as simple as that.
3) Rest Long And Rest Smart
Rest periods between sets of strength exercises should be 2 minutes or more. If you are having shorter rest than this, you will be compromising your strength development.
However, this does not just mean you should sit around and play on your phone. Or do some random high-intensity exercises to get you huffed and puffed. Neither of these is a good option for a mountaineer.
Instead, you should be filling up your rest periods a selection of:
If you are training strength, choose an exercise in which you can best challenge your strength!
If you are training balance, choose something which will best challenge your balance.
It is rarely a good idea to try and combine these things into one exercise (e.g. squatting on a Bosu ball) because you will never get the best of either world.
5) Don't Repeat The Same Workout More Than 6 Times
The body gets used to things very quickly. And unless you are applying new and fresh stimulus regularly, your progress will likely stall.
A good rule of thumb is changing your strength workouts every 4-6 weeks. This doesn't have to be a complete overhaul of your program, but it might involve:
Now, as I said above, these rules really only scrape the surface of what a specialist, structured strength program looks for mountaineers.
But they are an excellent place to start. And I guarantee you, if you follow these five rules, and stick to them consistently, you will be well on your way to getting the most out of your strength training, to best help you on the mountain.
If you did want help putting together a structured strength and conditioning program to get you fit, strong and pain-free for your mountaineering adventures, I highly recommend you check out the Online Summit Program.
The program will take all the guesswork, all the thinking and all the stress out of program creation. And will let you focus on what you enjoy best, training for and conquering your mountain adventures.
You can check it out here:
Yours in adventure,
Rowan is a personal trainer who specialises in training for hiking, trekkers and mountaineers for their bucket list adventures.
Summit Strength is a personal training for hiking service created specifically to help hikers have the best chance of a safe, enjoyable and successful adventure.