How to Prepare For a Hike in The Mountains: Tips and Training Options

In today’s article, we will consistently and easily tell you how to train before climbing the mountains. The information will be equally useful for both beginners and those who have already embarked on the path of training.

The recalcitrant mountain peaks have long attracted climbers all over the world. Taking into account the popularity of mountain climbing, special training programs have been developed. Exercise complexes improve physical fitness, and especially endurance for successful ascent and descent.

Climbing workouts are of interest, first of all, to those who are going to do it for the first time. Of course, there is a lot of information on the Internet (graphics, texts and formulas) on how to properly prepare your body for a mountain climb. But more often than not, such information is not suitable for those who have never done it before.

The tips outlined in the article are suitable for climbing to a height of up to 6 thousand meters (Mont Blanc, Kazbek, and also Elbrus). For those who have set a goal of more than 6 thousand meters, advice will not work.

General principles

It is best to start training six months before the climb, or at least a few months. 30 days before the start of the rise, the body will not have time to prepare and recover. The fact is that a couple of weeks before the ascent, you need to give the body an opportunity to rest. At the same time, rest should not be completely passive.

It is recommended to run several times at a distance of no more than 2 km during the first week of rest. You can also pull up on the horizontal bar (do 50% of the usual rate). During the second week, you should take a break from physical activity. 

Training features

The focus of training should be on improving endurance. The body must learn to withstand prolonged stress. Running is great for this purpose. It is worth noting that three months of running will be more effective than three months in the gym. You should try to run as long as possible and start as early as possible. Running has to be special; and only this kind of sport cannot be limited.

It so happens that a person trained for a year, but cannot climb to the top. This is often due to the body’s response to insufficient oxygen. However, a regular and correct training regimen reduces the risk of such acclimatization.

Another nuance is to run so as not to exhaust the body. If training is weak, it is better to run at a slow pace and three times a week than fast and twice a week.

It is best to start with a slow run for 2 km. Over time, distance and time need to be increased.

Other parts of the body should also not be left idle, especially the back. For this, a horizontal bar or a gym is optimal. But the priority should still be running.

Another important piece of advice is to not tie your workouts to specific days of the week. It is best to focus on your own well-being.

Varieties of training

Running up the stairs

You need to run each step both up and down. To begin with, you can do 3 races on the steps of a nine-story building. Then you can adjust the number of races. This is a great option for those preparing to climb. Running up the stairs is especially good at increasing endurance when descending a mountain.

Practice shows that for some people the descent is harder than the ascent. Therefore, it is important to prepare your muscles for prolonged exertion. 

Once a climber, who was running a distance of 120 km, did not find the strength to descend from Elbrus, so a special transport was called for him. His guide calmly descended.

Interval running

You need to run 200 – 250 meters at almost full strength, and then the next 400 meters should be run at a slow pace. The total distance should be no more than 3 kilometers.

Walking lunges

You need to make big strides forward. You can start from 20 times, gradually increasing the number of exercises. We recommend using dumbbells or a barbell.

Squat pistols

This exercise differs from regular squats in that you need to squat on one leg. This exercise was a must when preparing professional expeditions. Participants were required to squat on one leg at least 30 times.

Classic squats

The exercises train well the legs, which will be the main load when climbing the mountains. As a weight, you can use dumbbells, a barbell, or do squats on a special simulator.

All these exercises give tangible results. The main thing is not to forget to alternate them with running. You don’t have to do all of them. You can perform only a few of them that you like the most.

It is important to monitor your heart rate during preparation. If you overdo it with training, the body will be harmed.

Checking for excessive loads is easy. It is necessary to measure the heart rate after exercise. If your heart rate does not fall below 120 within five minutes, you need to reduce the intensity of the exercise or replace it.

When climbing, overtrained climbers stand out from the crowd. They have an increased heart rate and take a long time to recover.

Helpful hints

If you have no experience in mountain climbing training, start running 2 times a week at a distance of 2-3 kilometers. When the body gets used to the stress, the running time can be increased.

The running workouts should be added gradually, starting once a week.

Don’t forget to train other body parts on the bar or in the gym.

If at some point you feel that there is no strength or desire to train, do “lazy” exercises (fewer times). 

Full physical readiness for the ascent

– jogging fast or slow for 8 km or 60 minutes in time;

– 7 pull-ups on the horizontal bar for men and 1 time for women;

– squat pistols 3 times;

– 20 push-ups from the floor;

– jogging on the steps of a nine-story building 3 times;

– 50 squats on two legs.

Average readiness for climbing mountains

– jogging fast or slow for 5 km or 30 minutes in time;

– 4 pull-ups on the horizontal bar for men and 2 times for women with a support for one leg;

– squat pistols 1 time;

– 15 push-ups from the floor;

– jogging on the steps of the five-story building 2 times;

– 40 squats on two legs.

Lack of physical fitness

– jogging fast or slow no more than three km;

– 2 pull-ups on the horizontal bar for men and 1 time for women with a support for one leg;

– Can’t do pistol squats;

– does not come out to push up from the floor more than ten times;

– it is difficult to run the stairs of a nine-story building in both directions more than once;

– 30 squats or less on two legs.

Climbing the mountains is an important and crucial moment in the life of every climber. It is necessary to objectively understand the importance of preparation and assess the risks if it is insufficient.

Start preparing in advance, and you will definitely succeed! If you already have climbing experience – share with us how to prepare for such a hike.