Saturday, February 19, 2011

Training For Climbing

Within the next three weeks I'll be covering the top 3 components that are essential to a successful climb in the high ranges: Skills, fitness and equipment. The first will be fitness prep. A while ago a good friend of mine initiated me into the following program:

Mountain Climbing Fitness Program for the Gym

This fitness program is a three-part fitness program that takes place over six months and it must be tailored to accommodate the fitness level of every unique individual. The three components of the program are:

interval training
strength training
distance training

Both the interval and distance components involve training at specific heart rate zones. Both the strength and interval components require a short but effective warm up and cool down exercise to accompany the workout.

After the athlete assesses her fitness level, she must begin by ensuring that she has an appropriate base to begin building upon. This may take up to 8 weeks to establish before individuals can realistically begin to ramp up their intensity levels with the interval and distance training.

Throughout the six months of training, athletes should be aware of their energy levels and modify the workouts, accordingly, by increasing or decreasing the workload. Additionally, incorporating yoga  and pilates classes can be very beneficial if the athlete has the  time.

Interval and distance workouts is more fun when conducted outside the fitness club.

Athletes should calculate Maximum Heart Rate by the formula

MHR = 217 - (age x .85)

One should have a personal monitor watch.

Interval Training: 4 minutes on at 80-90% of MHR, then 3 minutes off at 60% of MHR. Do
four sets continuously. Running or fast walking on an incline is usually best.
Strength Training: Involves approx. 45 minutes of core and weighted exercises.
Distance Training: 60-90 minutes at 70-80% of MHR.
Activities include hiking or walking on an incline, cycling, x-country skiing, swimming, etc.

After a few weeks of building a good base, an appropriate training plan is as follows:

Monday: Interval training
Tuesday: Strength training
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Distance training
Friday: Interval training
Saturday: Strength training
Sunday: Easy and long Distance training

Of course, the above training schedule is an example only, and should be modified to the appropriate time schedule and energy level of each individual. Ideally, each component of the training program can be conducted once per week.

Strength Training follows:

Warm up for 15-20 minutes or eventually continue on after an easy distance workout.
Always begin with “core” strength first, this usually takes about 15 minutes.
-Do 5-30 reps per exercise and only one set of each exercise.
-Always be controlled, and always protect the back.
-Be slow on the eccentric, and be faster on the concentric.
-Mix some balance exercise in. After the core exercises move on the “weighted” exercises.
-Start with lighter weights and always use good technique.
-Be slow on the eccentric, and be faster on the concentric.
-Work in pairs of two exercises (different muscle groups) Example: 1 set of squats, 1 set of pull ups, 1 set squats, 1 set pull ups, etc…Then move on to the next pair of exercises.
-Always do a warm up set of 10-15 reps with very light weight first before increasing the amount of weight.
-Do three to four sets of 10-15 reps until joint strength is good and technique is solid. This should take at least three months to accomplish.
-Work toward doing four to five reps and four sets at max weight near the end of the six months of training if you are ready.

Core Strength

Basic Crunch 15 reps
-Hands on shoulders
-Keep elbows pointed up
-Come up about half way
-Keep heels on the floor

Single leg/arm back extension (prone position) 15 reps on each side
-Opposite arm/leg
-Face down (don’t look up)
-Thumbs up

Twisting sit up 15 reps on each side
-Position like a normal sit up
-Get in static position
-Hands on wrists
-Touch left elbow to left side, right elbow to right side
-Rotate head and shoulders together

Balance exercise on ball (on knees or standing on ball) One to Two minutes
-Fire core muscles to stay balanced

Straight up and down 10 reps
-Lay on back
-Start with legs off the ground
-Use hands as a “cradle” under buttocks
-Swing legs up, then push towards ceiling, then down slow

Prone back extension (superman) 10 reps
-Raise both arms and legs up at the same time
-Keep face pointed towards the floor
-Keep Thumbs up

Reach Across 15 reps each side
-Do one side at a time
-Position body in normal crunch position
-Place one arm alongside the body on the floor, the other along the sternum
-As you sit up the hand on floor goes across body and reaches beyond knees

Balance exercise 20 reps
-Squats on the BOSU ball, or any wobble board

Ball crunch 15 reps
-Grip ball with legs
-Use weight (or not) held above head, otherwise hands behind head
-Squeeze ball in and up off floor
-Touch elbows to knees (don’t rotate shoulders)

Weighted Exercises
(In pairs)
Squats 10-15 reps 3 sets
-Be sure to establish a level for the safety bar and rack.
-Position center on bar
-Elbows back
-Feet shoulder width apart, toes splayed
-Arch back
-Fire core
-Down to 90 degrees
-Don’t let knees come forward past the “toe line”
-Stick buttocks out

Pull-ups 10+ reps 3 sets
-Establish an appropriate counter weight
-Wide grip
-Raise head above bar

Seated row 10-15 reps 3 sets
-Establish a good resistance level
-Good stretch forward
-Stop back at perpendicular to ground
-Bring hands all the way to stomach

-Stick chest out

Single leg jump on box 5 reps 3 sets
-Try to land on one leg on box and also on floor

In addition, you must find a hill for at least thrice a week jog. Of course, the best climbing exercise is to go out to the nearest hills and climb on.  Indoor climbing is great for fitness but it is not the same as climbing on the range.  Next week I'll post a gear review of what I have used on the high mountains. The right equipment can help you tremendously in achieving your goal. Therefore, in addition to fitness, EQUIPMENT makes the  top three components list of a successful climb.