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Chicks Alpine Training Tips

Chicks! This isn’t our first installment discussing the demands of the world of Alpine Climbing, so it’s worth going back and reviewing some of this information and adding to it as we move forward into our new summer season for alpine climbing. I’ve copied some of the information from previous newsletters in the content below and added new information for you.Past alpine issues:

General Alpine Training 

Let’s talk training: fundamentally the basis of all athlete training is to begin with strength. This is an often overlooked fact. Let me give you an example of why we need to be strong first.Let’s take a 5’4” woman who weighs 125#. She really wants to alpine climb, her goal is a Mt Baker trip. This will require a minimum of one but usually more nights out. Carrying a pack into a base came that weights 50 – 60#, with food for her climb, tent, stove, climbing equipment, extra layers. You get the picture. That pack weight is 1/3 to 1/2 of her body weight. She has to walk miles, uphill, with that pack to get to base camp. Every step she takes she is moving 175-185#. If we haven’t developed adequate leg and core strength to manage this load, our climber with be exhausted to the degree that climbing to the summit of Mt Baker, even with a light summit pack might not happen.Wow! Now this seems intimidating doesn’t it. It doesn’t need to be, we just need to be prepared.So gals, first we get strong! Then we start training for the long days out.

STRONG: Spend 6 – 8 weeks completing one or two strength workouts a week. However, keep in mind you are also wanting to work your long endurance. As you add hours to your training (see below) decrease your strength training. Begin your strength phase 4 -6 weeks before you start ramping up your endurance. As your training days get longer you’ll be done with strength building and you may only do one maintenance day in the gym depending on time and energy.

Let’s get those legs and core of the body strong!

A few of my favorite two leg or “close” chain movements for the mountains are the standard deadlift, romanian deadlift and front squat.Front Squats develop combined leg and core strength for managing the weight of a pack on our back.
The Romanian Deadlift targets Low back, Glutes and Hamstrings.
Training for climbing romanian deadlift
The standard Deadlift works grip strength back strength leg strength and core strength.
climbing training deadlift
Then: single leg movements for glute strength, balance and hip stability, Single Leg Straight Leg Deadlift (SLSLDL), weighted walking lunge, and weighted step ups.I’ve included videos of all of the remaining movements in the following workouts in previous newsletters.Here are a few sample WO to give you guidance of how to begin working these movements in to your routine in a productive manner for your alpine training.WO#1

warm up 10:00

3 x 5 wall squat
3 x 6 goblet squat
30m walking lunge forward and backwardThen:

Work up to something that’s heavy for 3 reps (3RM) for your Front Squat.Then:

8 x 3 Front Squats@ ______# rest 1 – 2 minutes between sets.Then:
10x weighted split squats (5 per leg)
10x ball slam
10x split jump
x 5
Cool down 20 min recovery endurance and stretchingWO#2

warm up 10:00
3 x 5 wall squat
3 x 6 goblet squat
5 x 3 SLSLDLThen:

Work up to a heavy-ish DeadliftThen:

5 x 5 Deadlift
Rest 2:00 between sets:
During rest complete 8x Ring Push up or standard push upsThen:

1-10 Squat Ladder with a partner.
Partners begin holding in a quads parallel position at the bottom of the squat movement. Person 1: does 1 rep while P2 holds. P2 does 1 rep while P1 holds.
P1 does 2 reps while P2 holds, P2 does 2 reps while P1 holds.
Continue until you complete the ladder to 10. No cheating.Finish with:

60secs mtn climbers/60 secs Deck Squats/30 ses rest
x 3 – 4 rounds
Cool down 20 min recovery endurance and stretchingWO#3

warm up 10:00
3 x 5 wall squat
3 x 6 goblet squat
30m walking lunge
3 x 10 RDLThen:

Work up to a weight that is heavy for a step up. Ideally use a bar bell on your back or two Kbs held in front rack position.Then:

5 x 5 Step up in 16 – 20” box depending on height
complete 5 step ups per leg with weight that makes the movement challenging, slow grinding movements.
In between sets compete 8x Pull upThen:

10x KB Swing+
8x Push Press
5x Push Plank Row
x 5
Cool down 20 min recovery endurance and stretchingLONG DAY TRAINING:

Most people have busy lives, with careers, homes, children, spouses, so much so that they don’t have a lot of time to train. We’ve got to be smart and efficient with our training time.So, let’s assume you’ve had some practice at rock and ice climbing and some basic snow travel its now time to build a fitness base for the long days ahead.Truthfully this can’t be done in a gym setting. No matter how hard the workout is what you need now is stamina. That’s not to say that gym work isn’t important or valuable it is, we’ve just covered the topic of being STRONG and why that’s important.

Climbing in the Alpine world can mean 12hr days, 20hr days, multiple 14hr days, carrying a pack the entire time.  Before you go on a trip either on your own or with a guide you should have a good basic understanding of how long the day or days will be, that is where your preparation will begin.

Now how to you go about training:

For a climb like the Grand Teton, or other alpine routes with rock that must be climbed with a pack.
  1. Top rope easy routes with your pack on 15 – 20# of weight to get a feeling for how it feels.
  2. Often we have to down climb in the mountains, practice this in the gym, climb up and down routes, or outside if that is easier. Then try it with your pack on.
  3. Climb moderate rock routes in your approach shoes or boots before hand so you begin to get comfortable trusting your feet with more bulky less sensitive shoes on.

Additionally, for climbs like Mt. Baker where you are mostly concerned with glacier travel and moderate alpine ice as well as The Grand, the days are LONG:

FIRST: Begin hiking with a slightly heavier pack than you normally would, this is key. Find time to walk with weight, even if you don’t have good hiking trails close and you can only get out periodically take your pack to the gym and walk on a step mill with weight on your back, no you don’t look weird you look committed. No Step Mill at your gym and you can’t stand the idea of the gym; there are stairs in most buildings you can walk up and take an elevator down, repeat, yes with a pack on your back. You can walk back down the stairs take in to account that this is hard on the knees as is any downhill. We want to prepare for down hill just don’t do lots of extra down.

LONG Endurance: 12hr days….that is a long day and your body will shut down if it doesn’t have some kind of preparation. however going out for 12 hrs doesn’t make sense in your busy life and is hard to fit in.

Here’s what we do:

Begin to build your endurance base, let’s assume you already do 2 – 3 hour hikes or rides:

  • Week One: on the weekend, 4 hrs Saturday hiking with weight or a combo of things, follow that with 2hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging on Sunday.
  • Week Two: on the weekend, 5 hrs Saturday, follow that with 2hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging on Sunday.
  • Week Three: on the weekend, 6 hrs Saturday, follow that with 2hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging on Sunday.
  • Week Four: have fun don’t worry about training so you don’t burn out!
  • Week Five: on the weekend, 7 hrs Saturday, follow that with 3hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging on Sunday.
  • Week Six: on the weekend, 8 hrs Saturday, follow that with 3hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging on Sunday.
And Voila you are all set. The combination of the two days is nearly 12 hrs. And yes this works.Other Ideas for long days: you can combine running and cycling in the same day to break up the long days, yes that counts. Break it up and make it fun. Always try and get time in with that pack on your back. Remember for most of us it hard to fit it all in with family, work, friends, fun so let’s make this achievable. Back to back days with cumulative time works and works well.It doesn’t make sense to train for the grueling nature of alpine climbing by flogging yourself with long days via headlamp in an unpleasant environment before you go to the mtns. Yes you need to prepare your body, but do it intelligently so you still have motivation, you can rest appropriately, and you don’t get injured before your trip.

There are so many specifics to alpine climbing that we just scratched the surface, one day adventure, two week trips, high altitude, trekking in, back packing, using huts. The idea is to understand your body needs to be prepared for the longer days and energy spent. If you need information for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me via email.

Carolyn Parker

 

Training Tips for Chicks: Alpine Legs

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there!It’s incredibly beneficial for all Chicks to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first 13 installments to get a look at all the great movements, VIDEOS have been included.This is a huge training resource for you all!

Now on to the meat of the matter.

You’re stoked to go Alpine climbing but you’ve never done big days in the mountains nor carried a pack that long and that far. If you read the last newsletter you’ve wrapped your head around ways to condition your body for the endurance element of the alpine long days. And you’re getting after it. However we need to have strength in our legs to tolerate not only the nature of the uneven terrain, the weight of the pack but also to protect our joints especially our knees so we can climb for years to come.

Let’s get those legs and core of the body strong!

Two of my favorite two leg or “close” chain movements for the mountains are the deadlift and front squat. As well, and just as important, single leg movements for glute strength, balance and hip stability, Single Leg Straight Leg Deadlift (SLSLDL), weighted walking lunge, and weighted step ups.

Let’s add some of these movements to your training routine, here are a few sample workouts to give you guidance of how to begin working these movements in to your routine in a productive manner for your alpine training. These can be done just once a week in addition to your other training or two times if you are recovering well.

Workout #1

warm up 10:00
3 x 5 wall squat
3 x 6 goblet squat
30m walking lunge forward and backward
Then:
Work up to something that’s heavy for 3 reps (3RM) for your Front Squat.
Then:
8 x 3 Front Squats@ ______# rest 1 – 2 minutes between sets.
Then:
10x weighted split squats
10x ball slam
10x split jump
x 5
Cool down

Workout #2

warm up 10:00
3 x 5 wall squat
3 x 6 goblet squat
5 x 3 SLSLDL
Then:
Work up to a heavy-ish deadlift
Then:
5 x 5 Deadlift
Rest 2:00 between sets:
During rest complete 5x Ring Push up
Then:
1-10 Squat Ladder with a partner.
Partners begin holding in a quads parallel position at the bottom of the squat movement. Person 1: does 1 rep while P2 holds. P2 does 1 rep while P1 holds.
P1 does 2 reps while P2 holds, P2 does 2 reps while P1 holds.
Continue until you complete the ladder to 10. No cheating.
Finish with:
60secs mtn climbers/60 secs Deck Squats/30 ses rest
x 3 – 4 rounds
Cool down

Workout #3

warm up 10:00
3 x 5 wall squat
3 x 6 goblet squat
30m walking lunge
Then:
Work up to a weight that is heavy for a step up. Ideally use a bar bell on your back or two Kbs held in front rack position.
Then:
5 x 5 Step up in 16 – 20” box depending on height
complete 5 step ups per leg with weight that makes the movement challenging, slow grinding movements.
In between sets compete 8 x pull up
Then:
10x Deadlift +
8x Push Press
5x Push Plank Row
x 5
Cool Down

Reference videos:

Ball Slam
fullsizerender
Mountain Climber
fullsizerender_1
Split Jump
fullsizerender_2
Deck Squats
fullsizerender_3
There are videos of all movements in previous Chicks newsletters or on the Chicks YouTube Channel, and I’ve added videos of movements that are new in the above workouts, and as always if you are unsure how to perform any of these movements get professional instruction.
If you need information for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can e-mail me.
Carolyn Parker

Training Tips for Chicks – Alpine

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there!

It’s incredibly beneficial for all the Chicks to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first 12 installments to get a look at all the great movements, VIDEOS have been included:

This is a huge training resource for you all!

Now on to the meat of the matter.

Alpine Training: I tell friends, athletes, clients that alpine climbing is like a Venn diagram, three circles: ice, rock, and luck. The point of intersection is alpine climbing. Initially it takes skill on moderate snow, ice, rock, tolerance of big days and good weather!

Alpine TrainingLet’s say you are endeavoring into the world of alpine climbing, this isn’t the venue to learn about rock and ice/snow climbing typically we have practiced the aforementioned in less committing environments and begun to hone our skills. You’ve cragged with friends and are comfortable on moderate rock. You’ve done some basic ice climbing with Chicks in Ouray and done some top roping with friends. Now you’d really love to adventure to more remote peaks that are alluring, beckoning and maybe a touch intimidating.

The next installment is going to discuss some basic alpine training for long routes. Most people don’t live with the mountains on their back yards or even easily accessible. So they are unsure as to how to build a fitness base to go on a trip with what they have at their disposal. Once again assuming you’ve had some practice at rock and ice climbing and some basic snow travel its now time to build a fitness base for the long days ahead.

Truthfully alpine training can’t be done in a gym setting. No matter how hard the workout is what you need now is stamina. That’s not to say that gym work isn’t important or valuable it is, and we’re assuming you’ve got a nice strong body to work with, if not there are 12 newsletters before this one to get information from! Bonus!

Climbing in the Alpine can mean 12hr days, 20hr days, multiple 14hr days, carrying a pack the entire time.  Before you go on a trip either on your own or with a guide you should have a good basic understanding of how long the day or days will be, that is where your preparation will begin.

Now how to you go about alpine training:

Ideas for routes with rock that must be climbed with a pack.

  1. Approach Shoe ClimbingTop rope easy routes with your pack on 15 – 20# of weight to get a feeling for how it feels.
  2. Often we have to down climbing in the mountains, practice this is the gym, climb up and down routes, or outside if that is easier. Then try it with your pack on.
  3. Climb moderate rock routes in your approach shoes or boots before hand so you begin to get comfortable trusting your feet with more bulky less sensitive shoes on.

Long Days – Alpine Training:

Begin hiking with a slightly heavier pack than you normally would. Then let’s say you  don’t have good hiking trails close and you can only get out periodically.
  1. Take your pack to the gym and walk on step mill with weight on your back, no you don’t look weird you look committed. No step mill and you can’t stand the idea of the gym; their are stairs in most buildings you can walk up and take an elevator down, repeat, yes with a pack on your back. You can walk back down the stairs take in to account that this is hard on the knees as is any downhill. We want to prepare for down hill just don’t do lots of extra down.
  2. 12hr days….that is a long day and your body will shut down if it doesn’t have some kind of preparation. however going out for 12 hrs doesn’t make sense in your busy life and is hard to fit in. Here’s what we do:

Begin to build your endurance base, let’s assume you already do 2 – 3 hour hikes or rides:

Week One: on the weekend, 4 hrs Saturday, follow that with 2hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging…Sunday.

Week Two: on the weekend, 5 hrs Saturday, follow that with 2hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging…Sunday.

Week Three: on the weekend, 6 hrs Saturday, follow that with 2hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging…Sunday.

Week Four: have fun don’t worry about training so you don’t burn out!

Week Five: on the weekend, 7 hrs Saturday, follow that with 3hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging…Sunday.

Week Six: on the weekend, 8 hrs Saturday, follow that with 3hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging…Sunday.

And voila you are all set. The combination of the two days is nearly 12 hrs for alpine training. And yes this works. For example, for all of my ultra endurance athletes I don’t want them pounding their bodies and adrenals into oblivion before a 50 – 100 mile run/ride so we build mileage and or “time” on the trails with back to back days. This works really well and brings an athlete into their adventure, with a healthy body and a super motivated mind!

It doesn’t make sense to train for the grueling nature of alpine climbing by flogging yourself with long days via headlamp in an unpleasant environment before you go to the mountains. Yes you need to prepare your body, but do it intelligently so you still have motivation, you can rest appropriately, and you don’t get injured before your trip.

Ideas for long days: you can combine running and cycling in the same day to break up the long days, yes that counts. Swim, bike, run. Break it up and make it fun. You are just training your body to go for long periods of time. Remember for most of us it hard to fit it all in with family, work, friends, fun so let’s make this achievable! Back to back days with cumulative time works and works well!

There are so many specifics to alpine climbing that we just scratched the surface, one day adventure, two week trips, high altitude, trekking in, back packing, using huts. The idea is to understand your body needs to be prepared for the longer days and energy spent.

If you need information for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me at:

Carolyn Parker
The next installment will cover what to do in the gym to specifically prepare the legs for our long alpine days.

Stay Tuned!