General Strength vs Mountaineering Max Strength

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  • #40113

    I’m currently using the 24 week mountaineering plan, having used the 16 week plan successfully last year. I had some questions regarding the strength training exercises.

    1. Why is the heel touch exercise part of the mountaineering max strength regime, but not part of the initial general strength training. I actually find this quite hard to do with a lot of weight, and think that practicing a lot during the general strength sessions might have helped me make quicker progress in terms of doing it with added weight in the max strength sessions.

    2. Among the general strength exercises, there are some where I have improved a lot over the last couple of seasons, but at two I still remain pathetic in my inability.
    One is the bridge – I can only do this keeping my head on the ground – I can barely manage to lift my head off the ground for a few seconds before crashing back. If I keep my head on the ground I can raise one of my legs and keep it up. If I try to attain the ideal position by starting with my hands supporting my body off the ground, my shoulders start to hurt and I can’t even get close to the prescribed position.
    The second one is the L-sit. The only way I can seem to get my legs off the ground even without boots, is if I lean back, but I don’t think that’s what I should be doing.
    Any suggestions on how to get better at these two.

    3. One exercise I have markedly improved at is the hanging straight leg raise. When I first started trying this 2 years ago, I could barely get my legs 30% of the way. Now I can get my legs up about 80% of the way, but not to the point where I can touch the bar. Should I continue doing it this way in the max strength sessions, or should I do versions that I can complete (i.e. like with arms locked at 90 degrees)?

    4. For the box step up in the max strength sessions, I typically use a 16” box (I am ~ 5’ 9”), and I can do sets of reps with a backpack with 65 lbs weight (in the last training season I had gone up to 80-85 lbs in weight and I think I can get there now too by the time I am done). I found it much more challenging to try this with an 18” box – I will have to drop the weight of the pack to do ~5 step ups that I do with 16” box. So the question is whether it is better to use the higher box with less weight, or lower box with more weight?

    And one question regarding the aerobic workouts,
    Given the lockdown where I live thanks to CoViD, it’s getting harder to justify driving to my favorite steep hills or staircases for the prescribed “steep uphill hike” workouts. I am fortunate to have a treadmill that can get up to a 15% incline in my garage. Is it ok to use this as a substitute (if a suboptimal one)? I am already using it for the “uphill hike” workouts for which an inclined treadmill is listed among the acceptable alternatives.

    Even with all the training, cancellation of my mountaineering trip in July may be unavoidable given the current situation!
    Thanks in advance for the feedback and stay well!

  • Participant
    NandaDevi on #40114

    Another question – for pull ups, I have been using the max strength pull up sequence from TftNA, even at the start of the general strength training sessions (because I can’t do many reps even without weight), and that has continued through the first few weeks of the max strength sessions. Shall I just continue with this (I will come to end of the sequence in a week and just go back and do another cycle of the same multi-week workout)?


    Josh Gray on #40172

    One idea you can use for your treadmill is use something to elevate the front of it, like 4×4 blocks then use a clinometer app on your phone to see your incline.

    Anonymous on #40345

    1. Good idea!
    2. It’s no problem to scale exercises as needed. In fact, it’s encouraged. The L-sit, in particular, is quite difficult for almost everyone. You can scale that one by starting on a bench and/or with bent legs.
    3. In order to touch the bar, you’ll need to use your shoulders as well as your hips. Otherwise, you’d have to have very high hip strength along with very high hamstring flexibility.
    4. If the box is 75% of the height of your knee, I would use more weight rather than a higher box. A higher box will probably be less specific to mountaineering.
    5. For sure, no problem.

    NandaDevi on #40480

    Josh, thanks for the suggestion! That’s a great idea – I’m looking into ways to elevate the treadmill without compromising its stability. It rests on wheels in front.

    Scott, thanks for the responses to my questions! I guess the 16″ box is a better match then.

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