Jun 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm #1290659
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Here in Las Vegas I have to train on a treadmill with a 30 lb. pack due to the 100+ F. temps in the summer. Sometimes I'll drive an hour to the Spring Mountains outside of Vegas to train above 8,000 ft. where it's at least 20 F. cooler. But with the price of gas that's a twice monthly outing.
Does anyone else do this?Jun 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm #1883678
I did a lot of workouts on the treadmill in prep for various trips/ events but never with a pack. Rather, I do fairly intense combination of speed and incline that is directly applicable to both trail running and backpacking. I have done this for three years and have able to go directly into fairly intense trail workouts from just the treadmill.Jun 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm #1883682
@jdw01776Locale: Southeast Texas
If your gym has one, try using a step-mill (it looks like a short escaltor). I find it gives a good simulation of climbing uphill with a pack…Jun 3, 2012 at 6:21 pm #1883692
"If your gym has one, try using a step-mill (it looks like a short escaltor). I find it gives a good simulation of climbing uphill with a pack…"
+1 The best machine around, IMO, for mountain training when outside options are not feasible. A lot of mountaineers up here in Cascade Country use them, with/without a pack, when they can't get up in the mountains for whatever reason.Jun 3, 2012 at 6:41 pm #1883696
I used the step-mill as training, and while it did a lot for my leg strength, I could never get it fast enough for good cardiovascular improvement. I ended up regretting focusing on it alone, and spent the first month of my summer in Glacier Park trying to improve my cardio. If you can do the step-mill plus a treadmill, then I would imagine that would be a much more complete preparation.Jun 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm #1883734
if its too hot, go out and train in the evening …
any training is better than none …Jun 4, 2012 at 6:52 am #1883811
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
I would not, could not, on mill tread
They make me dizzy in the head
Instead I use the erg to row
When indoor I do cardioJun 4, 2012 at 7:09 am #1883815
@gregfLocale: Canadian Rockies
I hate the treadmill but…. I do use it on cold winter days below (-15 C) to get runs in. So I end up using it maybe 20 times a year. I can't go more than about an hour on it without going crazy.
The two biggest things you miss are strengthening all of the stabilizer muscles that are used when you are on uneven surfaces and you don't work your downhill muscles.Jun 4, 2012 at 8:00 am #1883831
@mammomanLocale: NE AL
I swim for low impact cardio and either walk the neighborhood hills or the stair-climber at the gym for leg training.Jun 4, 2012 at 10:35 am #1883875
@dallasLocale: North Texas
We're on the 16th floor so I do a lot of stairs.
I like that a lot better than a stairmaster.
Very few hills nearby so that's all the elevation work I get in.Jun 4, 2012 at 10:55 am #1883883
I think you can get a more intense workout with a variety Lunges and Squats. I also think doing core work also goes a long way towards giving you the proper support/strength in your ab/low back that is really important when carrying loads.
Bottom line, forget the treadmill, do something like P90X that gives you overall strength and hits the cardio interval training that is really helpful.Jun 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm #1883901
@thenerbLocale: Southern New Hampshire
P90X is great. As others have pointed out, doing training on a treadmill or step-mill is great, but it is definitely not sufficient by itself. The stabilizing and supporting muscles and tendons MUST be worked out too. Not only will this allow you to go faster and farther, but it greatly reduces the chance of injury.
I do trail running, cycling, racquetball, and weights to train when I can't be out backpacking.
Another thing that I do is to wear a pack loaded with 35# of textbooks while mowing my lawn (push mower). I have a very hilly yard and it takes about an hour and a half to mow. I don't use the self-propel feature and find that up and down the hills pushing the mower with a heavy pack makes for an excellent work out. Plus, there's lots of up and down, turning, start/stop, and off camber walking which hits many of those stabilizer muscles too. I'd be mowing the lawn anyway, so I might as well get some training in at the same time. Neighbors think I'm a bit weird, but whatever.Jun 4, 2012 at 12:28 pm #1883903
Definitely. When I can't get out and need a relatively quick, but intense workout I use the Insanity videos. Not really my cup of tea, in the abstract, but they're seriously effective.
Edit: Treadmills are the effing worst. Just sucks.Jun 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm #1883905
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
John: a big +1 on the stairs!
When doing real stairs, you actually move your 140-200 pounds up 9-10 feet per floor and AT LEAST AT IMPORTANTLY, you lower your body weight back down through that height.
On treadmills and stairmasters, your center of mass doesn't move much so you aren't doing the same work. I know I can dial a treadmill in for 15% grade and 4.5 mph and it is nothing like hiking an actual 15% grade at that speed. And it's dang tough to walk downhill on a treadmill and if I don't want to be hating life after a deathmarch, I need to get in a lot of downhill conditioning in advance.
Stairs are free (just find a high-rise or a 2- or 3-story hotel) – no gym fees.
Most stairs are air-conditioned in summer and heated in winter.
If you look around you can find ones that aren't as fully heated as indoor spaces which is ideal.
You can find stairs in most buildings and hotels and offices whereas health clubs are fewer and farther between.Jun 4, 2012 at 12:40 pm #1883908
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I'm in a 2-story house, so I only have one flight of stairs, but in winter (think 0F), I do that one flight up and down for 10 minutes before my morning shower. I listen to tunes or a podcast on my smart phone. Just that much of a workout makes a huge difference come Summer or any hikes I do in winter by flying south.
If I'm going for more than 10 minutes (I hate to sweat), I go to the garage which has stairs to the loft because we keep the garage about 60F for my wife's rowing machine and my stationary bike workouts.
I should step up through pack weight: 0, then 10, then 20, 30 pounds each week in preparation for a BPing trip, but generally haven't.Jun 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm #1883968
"I used the step-mill as training, and while it did a lot for my leg strength, I could never get it fast enough for good cardiovascular improvement."
Your statement that you couldn't get the step mill going fast enough to improve your cardio puzzles me. I've used them a lot over the years, although not in the last couple, and know a lot of very fit mountain people who swear by them for cardio as well as strength training. Our unanimous experience is that you can get your heart rate up as far as you can safely take it, I'm talking in excess of 170 here. Did you try increasing the speed on the "mill", say up to level 12 or more? Just curious, not trying to start an argument, as you are the first person I've ever heard say this.Jun 4, 2012 at 5:55 pm #1883993
What I remember is that I had the resistance rather high on the step-mill, and I did get a good heart rate up on it, but it wasn't the same level of fitness that I would have gotten if I had spent that time running. I started training on that machine for at least 3 months, probably 3 times a week for about 45 minutes a session in addition to heavy squats and my regular lifting program (also 3 times a week, some days the same, some days not). It was not enough to really cause me to breathe in the same ways that running does. I felt like I could have gone on for much longer, as long as my legs could have taken it (that, and the boredom of the machine).
That was my experience of it at least. I might should have pushed harder on a lower setting, focusing more on cardio than on leg strength, but I certainly wasn't taking it easy. I also know that cardiovascular fitness is not something that comes easy for me. I have to really push myself to get fit there. Comparatively, my body builds muscle quickly and it takes less than most for me to maintain strength. Just not the cardio thing.
And I might have had poor expectations too. Hiking and climbing around the mountains all summer is not something you just walk into without any adjustment. My fitness program involves a lot more running now than it did then.Jun 4, 2012 at 6:40 pm #1884017
Whatever you can do is better than nothing.
I personally think resistance training, coupled with basic cardio works fine. I lift wts, and do cardio on elliptical machine at gym. No problems.
My kid does neither, and still no problems.
Maybe its the 20 lb packs?Jun 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm #1884020
"but it wasn't the same level of fitness that I would have gotten if I had spent that time running."
Now it makes a lot more sense. There is nothing, IME, that compares to running for building cardiovascular fitness. I just wish I still could….. :-(Jun 4, 2012 at 7:07 pm #1884032
"There is nothing, IME, that compares to running for building cardiovascular fitness."
I am learning the same thing. I just wish I enjoyed running more. Then again, if I were better at it, it wouldn't feel like 30-45 minutes of frustration and failure. And training for hiking is a lot different than training for everyday fitness.Jun 4, 2012 at 7:43 pm #1884050
In my experience interval training on a bike has been the best for me. The preponderance of evidence is starting to swing around in favor of intervals instead of distance/time, so do intervals, whether it's running, cycling, whatever.
Edit: and training high is a mistake. Sleep high, train low. You're doing yourself no favors training high.Jun 4, 2012 at 7:52 pm #1884053
@flriderLocale: The Southeast
I'm currently training up for a Foothills Trail hike, and the local stadium has become my best friend since FL has no mountains. Up 48 stairs with a pack on, walk across the top to the next set, down 48 stairs to the bottom, walk back to the first set. Repeat five times, walk to the other end of the stadium as a breather, rinse and repeat. About 2,400 steps total per hour at an ~11% grade overall(~900 feet of elevation gain, the same loss, and ~3 miles walked).
The groundskeepers at the stadium think I'm nuts; one of 'em finally got up the guts to ask why I was doing it the other day. When I said, "Training to walk seventy miles in three days," he didn't believe me on the first go.
Try it with just water for your first outing, especially since the temperatures where you are are what they are. Work up to a full pack over a week or so and expand the amount of time you spend on the stairs the week after that. It helps. A lot.
Hope it helps!Jun 6, 2012 at 9:01 pm #1884750
when I train for a big peak (when I used to train for a big peak) I would wear my heavy mountaineering boots (needed if you are to wear crampons), set the treadmill angle as high as it goes, put weights in a backpack, and walk. I'd add weights as I got more fit, ending up with a 75 pound pack. I thought that was overtraining, but it was just right last time I climbed Rainier.Jun 7, 2012 at 8:06 am #1884865
"Edit: and training high is a mistake. Sleep high, train low. You're doing yourself no favors training high."
I don't now if that applies for this kind of training, Ben. I've read about itt but it seems to be for elite distance runners and cyclists that will then compete at sea level. Sleeping at above 8K' and training below 4k'. Not a lot of places where you can do that living a normal lifestyle. I'd have to drive 3 hours to get under 4K. And they only get a 3-5% benefit. I know 3-5% is a lot if you are racing. But I think the OP just wants to get in better hiking shape.
I'm "training" (I use that term loosely, I really just fast walk hills around my house) for hiking/backpacking. And for the most part that means going to higher elevation, not lower. My understanding is that for performance at higher elevations, it's best to train at those elevations if you can. But once again, it's not practical for most people.
I do use the treadmill in the winter and when the weather is bad in general. I'd say use what you can and do what you can.Jun 11, 2012 at 8:14 am #1885873
@buffaloskipperLocale: Gulf Coast
Two comments. First my sister lives year round up in the Mt Charleston community. She is not a backpacker, but she hikes the trails every day (snowshoes in the winter). I made it up there a year ago: beautiful place. I wish I had the potential to backpack from my front door.
Second, I am currently training at the gym, prepping for an AT section hike this fall. My work schedule has dictated my training routine. Currently I do aroebic exercises (stairmaster and eliptical) Mondays and Wednesdays for 30-45 minutes before work, and on Fridays, I do a full workout for an hour with friends (who by chance will be accompanying me on the hike). My goal is a bit different than theirs. I want to shed a bit around the waist (15 lbs would be fine), but I am not interested in overall strength training, I am looking at improving endurance and cardiovascular preformance, and also doing some low impact conditioning on my legs and knees.
After only a few weeks, I have dropped 7 lbs and my heart rate on the stairmaster has dropped by 10 points/minute. I am making progress, and am enjoying being at the gym. About 6 weeks before the trek, I will add walks on my off training days. I hate to train on pavement, as it is hard on the knees, so I am trying to build up in the gym first.
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