Hilly hike, indoor vs outdoor

  • Creator
  • #73580

    This question is about the hilly hike workout. Described as (paraphrased)…

    “Ideally hike in hilliest terrain you have available. We want to use the steepest terrain possible to be mountain specific. If you train outside the duration should be total time out. That includes the time both up and down. A workout with a 2hr duration would be the total time from start to finish. This also includes if you are hiking up stairs in a building and back down. If you are using an alternative methods like a treadmill, stair master or hiking stairs (taking elevator down) the duration of the workout would be for the time hiking uphill. If you have a 2hr duration workout that would mean hiking on a treadmill for 2hrs.”

    Two hours up and down a hill seems like it’s a significantly easier effort than two hours plodding up a stairmaster.
    I have a steep hill I ascend up and down on. I get a brief recovery on the descent before I turn around and head up again.
    I’d be a *lot* more exhausted if I were to spend those two hours on a stairmaster.

    How do I reconcile the the vast difference here?

  • Participant
    Richard Coburn on #73588

    Train outside or in a building stair master doesn’t train downhill muscles. You can’t make up for it. Or mix it up but also don’t shorten the training volume on the stair master if u choose to only go up just slow the pace to allow you too go the 2 hrs

    Cory from Wisconsin on #73638

    As a guy from the midwest, I find that our steep hills are not long enough to hold my HR in Z2 for extended periods of time and as a result I may be able to get the desired amount of vert, but the workout is largely Z1 vs. the desired Z2. As an example, I did a 2.5 hr pack carry at a local park last Friday with a 35# pack and while I was able to get 2k of elevation gain throughout the workout, I spent 1:50 in Zone 1 and only 38 min in Z2. Basically HR drops fast on the downhill, takes a bit to rise on the uphill, and is only in Z2 for the last half of my hill. Rinse and repeat.

    For this reason I often find myself going to the gym and jumping on a stair mill for the longer Z2 weighted carries. Not only can I get more elevation gain (even after adjusting for the stairs falling away) but I can pretty much dial my HR into Z2 and hold it there for the full duration of the workout.

    I agree with Richard that the stair mill or other inside training modalities do not train the downhill muscles. But the gym based ME in the program helps to develop the muscles traditionally worked by hiking downhill – and I find it doesn’t stress the knee joint the say way as if I hike down hill with a heavy pack. Thus the gym based ME helps with my durability for when I truly need it on an outside objective, but avoids the repeated stress from training. But I might sing a different tune if I had mountains in my back yard.

    Anonymous on #73665

    You all are hitting on a lot of the key points in this discussion. Both methods have their benefits and downsides so ideally I recommend a mix. I find commonly folks hiking outside (especially with pack weight) are more beat up after 2 hours of up and down than the same person who is using a machine for continuous ascent the entire time. The laps outside have the benefits of moving over real terrain (balance, unevenness, realistic movement pattern vs gravity), is generally way less boring and prepares the body for the eccentric loading of downhilling which is very hard to simulate otherwise. Indoors allows ideal HR training, long stints of continuous “uphill”, can be done easily in the dark and may require less driving etc. I encourage athletes to use a mix of the two to be the best prepared possible.

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