Monday, May 24, 2010

Training For Alpinists

Will Gadd calls Steve House’s one of the best alpinists and Steve’s training program instructive for any alpine climber. In Steve House’s blog, he says:

“To be sure, many of the colorful figures of modern alpinism have graced us with anecdotes of their training regimes:  Lionel Terray’s tales of humping huge loads of ammunitions to the gun emplacements during WW1 can easily be considered training; Ceasar Meastri famously claimed to do push ups while making love to his wife. But he also cycled to distant climbs, both of which contributed to making him one of the strongest climbers of his generation; Walter Bonatti carried snowballs in bare hands and surely this helped prepare him for the rigors of winter bivys that killed several less well prepared partners.  Reinhold Messner spent untold hours traversing back and forth on the side of an old stone building to build finger strength for his early important climbs in the Dolomites. When Messner transfered his energies to the Himalaya he did timed uphill runs throughout the same mountains, often boasting about vertical-climb rates (800-1000 meters/hour) that remain impressive even today. But other than colorful allusions like these, modern alpinists have had no distinct role models to follow: No Roger Bannister or Michael Phelps to lead the way to breaking new barriers through careful application of athletic training principles.”

Here’s part of his rock climbing program. Read his blog for lots more details.

“Living near Smith Rock state park, I go to the lower gorge, a place stacked with 5.10 cracks. There I do as many routes I can in one day; often the sun is the limiting factor, especially in the summer. My aim to get at least twenty pitches in and will try to climb many of them wearing a light ten-pound pack.”

Steve House has this post about resting, including this bit:

“But objectively, how do we know when to rest. Here are some methods I’ve used, from simple to sophisticated:

Waking heart-rate.

I started doing this when I was a teenager training for cross country ski racing. My coach had me take my pulse for 10 seconds as soon as I woke up. I’ve been doing it so long, I don’t even have to count. I can feel whether I’m rested or not. Slow, and ready to train again is for me around 36-42 beats per minute. Not recovered, fast, for me, is anything higher than 48, but usually if I’m tired I’m most often at 52.

Box-Step Test

Another, more objective method, is the box-step. I like this because I can do it in base camp where the waking heart rate test can be thrown-off by the altitude. For this test you need a heart rate monitor. Find a step a little lower that knee-height and step up and down rapidly. Push hard for 60 or 120 seconds, get your heart rate high, maybe as high as 170. Then stop, lean against the wall, walk around, do whatever you do to recover as quickly as possible. Note both your Max HR and your HR after 30 seconds. If I’m rested I’ll go from 170 to 70 in thirty seconds. If I’m still tired, it will stay between 100-120 after 30 seconds and maybe after a minute it will drop below 70.”

1 comment:

Lisa said...

well, that is seriously interesting!I will wake up, take my pulse and go back to sleep if it is not slow enough!