Iranian Mountaineer, Jahangir Emami

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How Do You Physically Prepare to Climb a Mountain?

How Do You Physically Prepare to Climb a Mountain?

how to physically prepare climb a mountain jahangir emami

Practicing physical exercises regularly is one thing and climbing a mountain is another. Just because you are physically fit and have the ability to lift heavy dumbbells doesn’t mean you are an ideal candidate to climb a mountain. Reaching a summit of a mountain that’s sitting at a height of above 10,00 feet is not a child’s play. It requires physical and mental preparation for any mountaineer to begin this journey. You can’t reach the peak of the mountain until your body is prepared to deal with the challenges you will encounter on the way. 

Mountaineering also needs technical skills. If you are performing it in a group led by a qualified and experienced guide, you will get complete training before the journey begins. This covers the basic knowledge of snow, the temperature, essentials needed for your survival, and so on. However, this doesn’t include physical training. The question is, how can you train your body and mind to climb a mountain? 

Physical Training: When Should You Start?

The perfect time to start training for mountaineering varies from person to person. It depends on your goals and fitness. If you have climbed a mountain before, you must be familiar with the strength and training needed to reach the summit. For someone living a fit and active life, a 3-month training will suffice. However, if you sat on a couch and did nothing for the past few months, you won’t be able to climb a mountain without training. 

This training should include — mountain climbing workouts and trekking. There is no ideal time for mountaineering practice. You shouldn’t start too soon, as you might get bored quickly. Starting too late won’t prepare you for the physical strength required to climb a mountain. Ideally, 4-5 months are sufficient for physical preparation. 

Do not exhaust your body 1-2 weeks before the day your mountaineering journey starts. This period is for rest. Get plenty of sleep and practice light exercises.

Decide the Method of Training

You can build your strength training and physical fitness routine for mountaineering on your own. There are plenty of books that give you a complete guide for preparation. It also means you can complete your strength training for a minimal cost. However, the biggest problem is that physical preparation for mountain climbing requires a guide. 

Someone who has climbed a mountain before or a trainer specializing in this field of physical training will help prepare the best training routine for you. Besides, most people find it hard to get motivation for practicing strength training alone. You should work with a personal trainer. It might be a costly option, but the outcome is worth it. You can work together to establish the most suitable training routine that works for you and keeps your motivation up. 

One-on-one training is much better than joining a gym. It allows the trainer to give proper attention to your fitness routine. If that isn’t possible, you can hire a personal trainer online. They will prepare your fitness plan and evaluate your progress remotely. In addition, you can download the mountaineering training and preparation pdf to learn everything about the physical preparations required for climbing a mountain. 

Type of Training Needed for Mountaineering

Mountaineers must start with functional training. It includes all the physical activities you will be practicing when climbing, except the extreme temperatures. Just pack your bags and walk uphill. If you go to the gym, stair climbing is a perfect exercise to get a better understanding of mountain climbing. Add more weight to your backpack every few weeks to prepare your body for carrying heavy weights when climbing. You should develop a personalized fitness plan that aligns with your goals. Here are a few activities to include in mountain training:

  • Cardio workout
  • Strength training 
  • Aerobic exercises
  • Cross-training
  • Flexibility training

You can discuss the fitness training requirements with your guide. They will ask you to submit your detailed medical history and assess your current fitness level to prepare a personalized fitness plan for you.

Tips for Starting Training

You need to focus on the body parts that will endure the physical challenges of mountaineering. This includes all your core muscles and leg muscles. Warm-up exercises and stretching will make your muscles flexible. Plus, it will improve your range of motion. You should also try yoga and meditation to build strength. As mentioned before, your exercise routine must fit your goals and your current physical strength. Here are some tips to consider when selecting the right exercise routine for mountaineering.

  • Do not add exercises that hurt your body. Start gradually and take as much rest as your body requires.
  • Skip strength training if it hurts. 
  • Keep adding more weight as you progress

Start with a warm-up always. Strength training for mountain climbing is no different from regular exercises. A 5-10 minute warm-up practice is enough. Start with meditation. Inhale and exhale for 1-2 minutes and move on to the jump squats. For a warm-up, you can try step-up exercises, heel-down, lift, side-plank, etc.

How Much Should You Rest?

Most of us have experienced this: we are super excited to start mountaineering exercises at home. We try everything — from leg exercises for mountain climbing to aerobic and anaerobic exercises. However, this excitement doesn’t last long. You feel so exhausted from physical training that you no longer have the strength to put more pressure on your body. That’s why adequate rest is important. A good strength training plan involves plenty of rest. For example, after one week of heavy weight lifting and strength training, you should lower the weight by 50% and add more rest to your schedule. This will give your muscles enough time to recover. Avoid overtraining. The last thing you want is to go on bed rest for weeks.

If you are looking for motivation to start your mountaineering journey, read the story of Jahangir Emami — a firefighter, mountaineer, and cave explorer. Get insights into his life, how he started mountaineering, and what inspired him to climb different mountains.