Discover the two best exercises a mountaineer can train to get them strong and resilient for their mountain adventures.
Every single mountaineer should be completing strength training as a part of their weekly routine.
It has SO many amazing benefits; if you are only focusing on your cardiovascular development, you are shooting yourself in the foot.
But when it comes to strength training, there are a million and one ways of going about it. How can you know where to start?
Well, as the old saying goes, there are many ways to skin a cat.
And there are many approaches which will help you succeed on the mountain.
But no matter what approach you follow, there are two exercises that I HIGHLY recommend you put some major focus into:
1) The Pistol Squat
The pistol squat is an incredible show of strength. And it is one of the single most relevant exercises a mountaineer can master to help them on the mountain.
A few great things about this exercise:
Now a full pistol squat can be a serious challenge. And I definitely do not expect everyone reading this to be able to do these off the bat.
But you should all be aspiring to do them!
If you can't do a full pistol squat, you should be working on a range of regressions (i.e. easier versions) to build up to the full exercises.
Some great examples here include:
I firmly believe you should be including one of these variations in just about every phase of your training.
2) The Step Up
The step-up is one of the most straightforward and specific exercises in a mountaineers repertoire.
It's benefits include:
This is the single most specific exercise you can do to improve your ascents.
But one mistake I commonly see from mountaineers is limiting this exercise to high repetition endurance work.
There is no doubt type of training can be great, but I HIGHLY recommend that at some point in your training, you incorporate some heavy resistance, low box step-ups.
This involves finding a box which is no higher than three quarters up your shin (lower is fine), loading up a heavy barbell (or pack) and doing sets of lower repetitions.
This is one of the single best things you can do to help your performance on the mountain.
Now around these two exercises, you should be filling your program with all the 'classics' (such as squats and deadlift variations, hip thrusts, lunges etc.)
But going into full program design is a bit beyond the scope of this article.
So I want to leave you with this:
If you are a mountaineer, and you are training for a big mountain adventure, I highly recommend you put a serious amount of time and effort into mastering the above two exercises. Without a doubt, they have some fantastic benefits for mountaineers. And they will serve you well on the mountain.
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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.