If you are Training for an Altitude trek in Sydney (or anywhere else that has absolutely zero elevation) you need to be smart!
That is because the single most effective way to prepare for altitude, is to train at altitude! But if where you live is about as flat as a pancake and that is not possible without having to get on an international flight...you are already at a serious disadvantage for your upcoming adventure.
To made up for this, you need to be doing everything within your power to prepare for altitude. And this article will show you how.
3 Ways Trekkers Can Train For Altitude
Aerobic Capacity Training
Aerobic capacity is the single most important element of fitness an altitude trekker needs to develop. The more you train this, the more efficient your body will become at using oxygen as a fuel source. This is incredibly important at altitude!
Not only will this help get you through the long days of trekking but having a greater aerobic capacity (it is believed) can help your acclimatisation!
So say goodbye the High Intensity Interval Training (no, this is not an effective way to train for altitude) and instead, put the majority of your cardiovascular training into low intensity, long duration training. This is usually done through things like: trek training, pack walking, jogging, cycling or gym cardio machines.
What does low intensity mean? You should be able to carry a conversation while you are training. If you can't you are working the wrong energy systems and need to slow down!
Practicing and training abdominal breathing is an incredibly effective way of improving your comfort at altitude.
Abdominal breathing is a deep breathing technique, which helps activate your 'parasympathetic nervous system' (i.e helps the body relax), allows your body to best utilise the oxygen you are breathing in and even helps relieve tension in your neck and shoulders!
And while there have been no scientific studies to back this up (yet), anecdotally many trekkers have reported it is a very effective technique to help combat with dizziness and shortness of breath on the mountain.
So how do you do it?
Well its pretty simple. Take a big breath in your nose right now. Draw the air into your belly and feel it expand(as opposed to your chest and shoulders). And then slowly exhale and feel your belly go back to normal. And repeat.
That is the basics, and you just need to train and practice this so you can perform it under stress and exertion.
To find out more about Abdominal Breathing (and how to train it) check out this article.
Simulated Altitude Training: Does It Actually Work?
Simulated Altitude Training is becoming more and more popular in the trekking world. And it marketed to do just about everything, from preventing altitude sickness, to improving endurance, strength, speed and power...
But does it actually work? And will it help you perform on an altitude trek?
Well, in short, altitude training is effective for:
Which is great! However, before you get too excited and start forking out your hard earned money, be aware that simulated altitude training is NOT effective for:
So you will need to make your own decision whether it is worth it or not.
For a full rundown of how Simulated Altitude Training works, check out this article.
Other Essentials For Surviving At Altitude
But when it comes to surviving and performing at altitude, the right training is only one step of the equation...
And there are plenty of other things you need to be considering.
Did you know that what you eat can significantly affect your chances of success while at mountain?
Or that protecting your sleep is an essential step in aiding acclimatisation?
Or that dehydration is a serious concern when you are up at altitude (and can seriously affect your chances of success!)
Well if you didn't, that all right. Many people don't know these things because, until recently, trying to find this information was like searching for a needle in hay stack...
But not anymore.
Come join our Free Facebook Group For Hikers and Trekkers and you can a learn all the tips, tricks and strategies to best prepare yourself for a high altitude adventures:
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.