Getting your body prepared for the challenges it will face in the mountains is the key to success on just about any major climbing expedition. And while acclimatization is a big part of what you’ll do while on the mountain itself, the battle for the summit is often actually won or lost at home before you ever even depart. That’s when you’ll be working on your overall fitness and training for the long, arduous task of relentlessly moving uphill.
That is the very subject of another insightful blog post from the team at Mountain Trip, the same group that brought us the article on knowing whether or not you’re ready for Everest that I posted last week. This time out, we take a look at how to physically train for climbing big mountains, like Denali, Everest, or even that 14er you’ve been eyeing. No matter which peak is on your bucket list, the goal is to successfully reach the top, and having the right level of fitness will not only improve those chances of success, but limit the level of suffering you experience along the way.
Mountain Trip has partnered with a company called Uphill Athlete to create a training program for its clients. That program is designed to maximize their chances of success by offering a comprehensive plan built to prepare them physically for an expedition. It consists of four distinct phases that build in intensity before easing off prior to the start of the climb. Those phases, as described in the article, are as follows:
- Transition: Lower volume and re-introduction into training. The amount of time you spend pounding trails and hitting the weights will vary depending on your current fitness and familiarity with working towards a big objective.
- Base: The most important and longest phase! Here you will slowly and deliberately build the endurance that will get you to the top.
- Specific: During this phase, you’ll work on movements and strength pertinent to your goal, and more importantly, get into the mountains as much as possible.
- Taper: Allowing your body much needed rest to rebound to peak fitness.
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