ME progression/specificity question

  • Creator
  • #47144

    Since the TFTNA came out I’ve been totally bought into building the aerobic base as a foundation for mountain fitness. Mine is quite healthy but I notice that if I try to speed up much I feel like I’m redlining quite quickly. In response I’ve decided to add in some more intentional speed and ME workouts.

    My question is: I can already carry a 30-40lb pack up 4000’ in zone 1/2 without developing the burning legs described in the text (parameters of heaviest pack/single biggest day for goal climb). If my goal is to feel more comfortable moving faster should I increase the weight, speed, or vertical?

    I’m a little confused on this because I understand the need for specificity in leg speed turnover (per yaniro’s essay in TFTNA and the recent podcast on skimo). So I can increase the weight, but I’m worried about that slowing my turnover to point of taking me away from specificity. Or should I keep speed and ME workouts separate?

  • Participant
    jakedev on #47147

    I’ll be following this cause I have similar questions.

    We are about the same level with pack weight and vertical. For what it’s worth do 1x a week weighted hill climbs with 55# pack and increase the vertical gradually (up to 2500’now). When I’m doing 3000′ in one session I’ll increase the weight and start at 1500′ again.

    I also do 1x a week with the Gym Leg ME Workout. It’s quick and I find a get a FT leg workout that has helped me. It’s alot of ME volume so I sometimes stagger it to keep the Z1-2 volume up.

    Interested in feedback if there are better ideas.

    On a similar not for upper body ME ice climbing with a 16# weight belt (can go up to 20#). Currently I use the Treadmill hand walking protocol (1 min on / 1 min off x 5, rest 5 min then rpt). If I want to get better should I increase the duration of work, shorten rests, increase weight, etc.

    Anonymous on #47177

    ME, while not specifically ‘speed’ training should increase your vertical climb rate. I’m not sure what you are doing for ME now. It sounds like you are doing a bunch of Z1-2 hiking with weight. While those will have some ME effect they’re not going to be as potent for improving ME as a dedicated ME workout will be. To get the best effect for me in these weighted carries you nee to elicit the leg burn that we advocate. How you do that is less important. You can add more weight, find a steeper hill, move faster. All of these will work. A lighter pack and moving faster will have a bigger global training effect so might require a bit more recovery time. Keep in mind that normal trails are not steep enough for all but the weakest climbers to get the leg burn ME effect. Typical US forest service trails in the west are 10-12% grade. Steep trails can get up to 20-30% for short sections. Most people will need an extended 20+% grade to get that burn. If you lack the terrain then use the Gym ME progression. We use it with many mountaineers and alpinists with great results.


    Anonymous on #47179

    This ME combo you are using of weighted carries plus the gym ME is one of our preferred methods provided you can recover well between and are seeing progress. We’ve used it with some of our top mountaineers/alpinists.

    As for the ice climbing ME: There is not one protocol that is clearly superior to others. If you notice in the gym ME progression, there is, generally an increase in the volume of work, the weight you use along with a reduction in rest time. To keep it simple I’d try just reducing rest in your own progression for this ice climbing ME.


    luv2sharpen on #47191

    Thanks for the clarification. Seems like maybe I’m overthinking it.

    My local training trail started out as a social trail so averages 29% in the first 2000’, 23% in the last 1000’ for an overall average of 26%. So at least I know I have that part right.

    jakedev on #47192

    Thanks Scott.

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