ME Climb – the inevitable questions :-)

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  • #63337
    mattmay3s
    Participant

    Just done my first weighted ME Climb with 22kg (48lbs) at 67kgs Body Weight. The hill I used gave me 900 ft gain in 0.7miles which I calculate as about 24% grade. Took me 26 mins so I did it twice. (Unfortunately stopped Garmin by mistake on reaching top first time so only recorded one climb).

    Limiting factor on the way up felt like lungs rather than legs. So next time do I add more weight rather than slowing down?

    On the way down front of quads were burning and I can still feel them now 🙂

  • Participant
    Brian Giangardella on #63346

    This is a good question. Like weight lifting more work on the big leg muscles would naturally increase the heart rate and put stress on breathing. I would like some clarity on this as well. It seems counter intuitive in the workout description.

    Moderator
    MarkPostle on #63355

    Matt- Assuming you recover fairly well yes I would add something around 2-3 kilos then have at it again. As I mentioned on the zoom I think the weight is very individual, I have athletes carrying 28 pounds and one carrying 77 pounds (at 150# BW) If you’re someone who is strong enough to pish the bigger weights obviously take care not to get injured, a really heavy pack becomes unwieldy at some point if the footing isn’t great. A lot of the effect of this workout has as much to do with terrain as it does pack weight. A 24% grade is certainly a very useful steepness but there will always be a fairly big “cardio” component when compared with even steeper, especially for an athlete that is already fairly “strong” in that way. You’ll always be able to drive your HR well into Z3 for an hour. Which is fine to an extent, it doesn’t mean you’re not getting the desired effect. Although I don’t use HR as my primary metric for this one it is interesting that most folks if using the correct terrain will see their HR actually go down as they add weight compared with their unladen running max HR on the same course. You can imagine the same effect if you do box steps unladen for 5 minute at maximum effort vs trying to do box steps with a hundred pound weight vest on for 5 min. Both hard work to be sure but the unladen one will produce a much higher HR since youre doing way more work if you’re doing 2-3 times the number of reps. We’re going to talk a bit more about the ME in the next 2 Zooms as well!

    Participant
    krish on #63393

    > the unladen one will produce a much higher HR since youre doing way more work if you’re doing 2-3 times the number of reps.

    Does this imply that you want so much weight that it prevents you from going fast enough to require a high heart rate? In other words, you have no choice but to go slower because of the large weight? I ask because I, too, just tried the ME workout and had a really hard time getting below mid-Z3 despite carrying more weight than any prev workout.

    Moderator
    MarkPostle on #63407

    Krish, The short answer is yes, you should certainly should be carrying enough weight that it slows you some and will also likely be slow enough to make your HR lower than a maximum paced unladen effort would be. Another way to think about this is that we want this workout to be very differentiated from the “normal” weekend long day with some weight. This should generally be steeper, quite a bit heavier, and you should be trying much harder. If moving the weight up the hill doesn’t seem like the problem when you’re doing this then you should add some weight and/or find steeper terrain.

    Participant
    fritz.mueller on #63409

    For reasons related to my knees I want to do either Stairmaster or box step ups for my ME.
    I know you prefer box step ups but you spend half the time in that exercise stepping back down.
    Is it meaningfully superior to Stairmaster?

    Moderator
    MarkPostle on #63411

    Fritz, You certainly can do ME on the stairmaster or the box, I actually sometimes will integrate a split workout where people do some of each. I don’t necessarily think the box is superior to the stairmaster in a lot of ways but I do see that a lot of the machines like steep treadmill, or the stairmaster variations are different because you’re not totally lifting your center of gravity with each step but rather the “ground is disappearing out from under you” a bit if you understand my meaning. This is why my first choice is always for folks to train outside if they have really steep terrain which as we talked about not that many people actually do. I think there are also some nuances to the way that you move outside versus stepping up on a box versus the stair master where you don’t have to truly balance on the new leg once you step up in the same way and you lose a little bit of movement skills training there. That all said the stairmaster is definitely some folks best option and you can get a really quality work out there. The same principles apply with the stairmaster as with the other modes of doing it make sure that the load is heavy enough to get the desired effect and hit it hard for 45 to 60 minutes. Let me know how you get on!

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