Alternating gym and hill sprint for Max Strenght

  • Creator
  • #47797
    Davide A

    Hi there,
    I’m following a self build plan after reading TfTNA and my transition period is coming to an end.
    I’m planning for late spring long mountain runs (if possible a race otherwise an FKT) and long alpine climbs, which will involve long approaches and multipitch climbing.

    I’m a bit confused on how to plan the max strenght period. Considering I’m living in the flatland and my vertical gain workout are usually once per week in the weekend, I’m wondering if it should be better to use hill sprints (I can find a place in the city to do thi workout properly) in this phase.


    A) 1x hill sprint + 1x gym (focusing on upper body exercise)
    B) 2x gym (mixing upper and lower body)
    C) On a 2 week base: 3x Gym (upper and lower) + 1x Hill sprint
    D) On a 2 week base: 3x Hill sprint + 1x Gym (upper body)

    What you think should be better?

  • Participant
    Aaron on #47856

    My *sense*(as a keen amateur writing here mostly to challenge my knowledge) is that it depends on how long of a macro cycle and mesocyle you have planned for capacity (base) plus utilization (intensity/specificity), and what strengths/weaknesses you are coming in with, what goals you have, and what terrain/gym options and preferences you have. I think that with lots of time, having a big MaxS gym focused block in the base may be just fine/good (I did that this yr), but I also see advice/plans (e.g. big vert) to layer in MaxS specific workouts (hill sprints) with ME (gym) early in base with options for both specific (hill sprints) and gym focused….

    For example, this yr after my ~8 week transition where I did lots of gym General Strength progression I went into an 8 week gym based MaxS block because I felt like exploring that more, and it works well with my seasonal weather issues. I am now switching to another base block with 1x gym ME and 1x hill bounding MaxS per week, then will be shifting after that to an intensity block with gym ME plus specific ME mix. My goals are different (ski mountaineering and mountain running) so upper body focus is different. I’m going to guess that the more expert advice might say: if you have time, do 2x gym MaxS lower and upper mix (as per TFTNA MaxS recommendations), then part way through winter shift into more specific MaxS and ME mix….????

    Anonymous on #47907

    Great question Davide and great, thoughtful answer Aaron. Hill Sprints are the most specific form strength (power actually) training that any mountain athlete can do. For most it is going be tough to generate enough power to even get a good training effect. It will take a a good number of workouts before us slow twitch folks can teach our brains to recruit the FT fibers with enough explosive force to really get fatigued during these sessions. Whereas I have seen true sprinters wreck themselves and need several days to recovery from one of these workouts. An endurance athlete on the other hand might be able to do these all day long and wonder: “what’s the big deal”. That endurance athlete is the one who will benefit the most from a long term progression of these workouts. So, you need many weeks to accomplish a good effect (for most folks).

    I find that for all but true sprinters 1x hill sprints/week is enough to get good results. If you have a long Base period I would mix the do 1x hill sprints and one time Max strength each week in the base period.


    Davide A on #48255

    Thanks both and sorry for not coming back to the topic before. Planning needs a bit of time to think on it.
    I decided to extend the base period as suggested by Scott

    So this will be the skeleton of my plan:

    8 weeks on Aerobic + 2x Max Strength (Gym workout upper and lower)
    8 weeks on Aerobic + 1x Max Strength (Hill Sprint) + 1 x easy ME (climbing)
    8 weeks as described in the book (week 9/16)
    4 weeks as described in the book (week 17/20)

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