Hill and Simulated Hill Methods – Order of Priority

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  • #69307
    keith brown

    I know this topic was address elsewhere, just can’t find the thread.

    I’m a flat-lander, and it’s difficult finding outdoor options for Z1/2 and ME. I need alternatives, and a guide on what translates best to actual mountaineering goal events.

    ME – I have no outdoor options and have been using stairs in 12 story building, so I get the benefit of up and down.
    I could also do box steps, stair-mill simulating actually stair climbing (not the stair master with the steps falling away), or I now have access to 40% incline TM has 6% down mode).
    Order of preference?

    Same as above. After my recent trip, I feel like I need more Z1/2 training time climbing. Thinking of the following options, what’s my best order of priority?
    40% incline TM

    Appreciate the guidance. Keith

  • Moderator
    krish on #69308

    For ME, I’ve been doing 30% incline (will work up to more) with 55lbs. I recall asking a while back and hearing that it was a good alternative since I don’t have easy access to equiv natural terrain. But, I, too, would love to know the order of preference amongst the other options you listed.

    MarkPostle on #69311

    Great question and the answer is yes. 🙂

    For ME I have had athletes use all of the above with some success. Given a choice I would go for steep incline trainer at 25-35%. My one caveat is make sure with the added weight, steep incline, and repetitive nature that you’re not putting too much stress on your Achilles tendons. Assuming that’s not an issue then I really like the continuous ruthlessness of a really steep incline trainer for a hard muscular endurance workout.

    Zone1/2 Since you have access to a variety here I would encourage you to mix it up a bit in this instance, that said I probably wouldn’t use box steps as a low intensity aerobic endurance workout except as a last resort. That’s the case then we’re left with three options basically. I like the stair mill because it simulates hill hiking well and is also very much a kin to hiking in snow and following a well kicked boot pack. For climbing goals where that kind of movement is gonna be encountered I think it’s really useful. The incline trainer is potentially my favorite tool but it can be a little hard on the Achilles tendon for some folks for daily use but that’s about my only complaint if the goal is going to involve some steep trail hiking or surfaces where a nice boot pack is not gonna be kicked in and you can’t just follow the steps then I think it’s a slightly more realistic tool. Lastly we have the actual stairs, we have actually had quite a bit of success at uphill with certain individuals training them in tall buildings on stairwells. It’s only a few data points but I do think there is something to be said about moving your center of gravity upwards over stationary terrain vs all the machines moving under you to some extent. For this reason I encourage folks that have access to a stairwell to use it at least once a week because I think there’s real benefit in that movement pattern and the way that stairs simulate having to gain altitude in steep environments outdoors. For some of the longer sessions I find that boredom or repetitiveness is an issue for a lot of athletes which I totally understand, for that and other reasons I will sometimes have them mix two modalities in the same workout if that’s logistically possible. This could look like 90 minutes on an incline trainer then immediately jumping on the stair mill for another 90 minutes. This could also look like running outside in non-hilly terrain then jumping on one of the machines for the second have to work out to finish it in a more sport specific manner.

    Moiez K on #70350

    Thanks for the explanation, Mark. I would have to drive at least an hour to get to reasonable hills. My gym has traditional treadmills, where the maximum incline is 20%.

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