There’s something about mountains that make humankind want to conquer them. And yet, there are many unclimbed peaks left in the world for us to tackle.
If you’re a beginner, then you might want to start with something others have done. That way, you know what to expect and will have lots of help on the way.
But you can’t just pack up and get to climbing. You need to train first so you have the best chances possible, especially if you’re taking on a huge peak.
This article will give you a guide on climbing a mountain so you’re prepared.
Determine Your Current Fitness
You need to be in good shape for mountain climbing, so you’ll need to see how fit you currently are and go from there.
A good idea would be to get a checkup from your doctor, especially if you haven’t seen them in a while. They’ll be able to give you a thorough exam, let you know your fitness level, and see if you have any conditions that’ll prevent you from scaling mountains.
Don’t skip this step because it’s vital for your safety. In addition, if you’re climbing with an organized group, they’ll want to see your medical history anyway.
Start Training Early
The biggest mistake newbies make with mountain climbing is underestimating what it takes. It might seem cut and dry: all you have to do is climb, right? But there are many other environmental factors that can make it significantly more difficult than going for a jog, such as atmospheric pressure, inclines, tough terrain, harsh winds, low temperatures, etc.
So don’t wait until the last minute to start training. In fact, there’s no such thing as starting too early!
In general, you’ll want to start at least 4 months before your trip, if not earlier. But if you can start even a year beforehand, it’s worth it to do so since you’ll be in peak shape by the time you need to set off!
What Mountain Climbing Training Workouts to Do
You know you have to start early, but what exercises should you do?
Below are some suggestions for you to get in tip-top shape!
Cardio’s essential for mountain climbing because you’ll need to have both strength and endurance. Cardio exercises take care of both, so make these exercises your top priority!
A simple way to get cardio in is to go walking or jogging. But if you can, you should also go hiking or trail running; or even better, snowshoeing! These activities are in nature, which will simulate conditions you’ll encounter when scaling peaks.
Other options include walking/running on a treadmill, cycling (either by bike or gym equipment), and swimming.
Get 45 to 90 minutes of cardio exercise every other day.
Interval sessions (also known as HIIT, or high-intensity interval training) will help your body utilize oxygen more efficiently, which is crucial for a good climb.
There are many exercises you can incorporate for intervals, but here’s the general idea: you’ll do a high-intensity aerobic exercise for the majority of the time, then use low-intensity exercise for a short break in between.
Here’s an easy example with running. You might run 4 miles, going all out for them. However, you can space each mile with some walking or light jogging in between.
Like with cardio exercise, you’ll want to do intervals every other day. However, you’ll only need 30 to 45 minutes per day.
We’ve already suggested hiking as part of your cardio workouts, but you should also dedicate an entire day to a day hike every week.
This is the best way to simulate a mountain climbing experience, especially if you have access to trails at a higher elevation.
Start off with hiking 1 day a week, then scale up the number as you get closer to your departure date. This will help immensely in building endurance and strength.
Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
There’s such thing as training too hard, regardless of what you’re training for. You can’t just train 7 days a week, with no rest. This can have the opposite effect and you can end up injured, which can then set you back.
So when you’re planning out your training schedule, make sure you include a rest and recovery plan as well.
Typically, you’ll want to set aside 1 day to rest. Also, every 4 to 6 weeks, you’ll want to set aside 1 whole week to train 25% to 50% less. This will allow your body to recover a bit.
Of course, these are just general guidelines. The most important thing is that you listen to your body and give it breaks when needed.
A good workout schedule can look like this:
- Monday: cardio
- Tuesday: intervals
- Wednesday: cardio
- Thursday: intervals
- Friday: cardio
- Saturday: hiking
- Sunday: day off
On the other hand, you’ll also want to ramp up your training at some point. This is called peak training and you’ll do this 2 weeks before your trip to climb Kilimanjaro or any other mountain.
Then, 1 week before you leave, you should scale back your training. Still do all your exercises, but make them light. Make sure you get plenty of sleep so your body can charge up as much as possible.
Good Luck With Climbing a Mountain
Climbing a mountain successfully can be an incredible feeling. Not only will you accomplish something you’ve never done before, but you’ll also have bragging rights to climbing big beasts like Kilimanjaro.
So if you’ve been wanting to up your fitness level and get out in nature more, picking up mountain climbing can be a great idea.
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