ME Workout – proper weight and HR

  • Creator
  • #67037
    keith brown

    I just finished my first ME workout. Trained in stairwell of 12 floor building; 45 lbs; 1 rep equals going up and down the 12 floors; completed 5 consecutive reps. My average HR going up was mid-Z3 (about midpoint between AeT and AnT), and my average HR coming down was mid to high Z2. Legs were tired, but not the limiting factor (I would not be able to carry on a conversation).

    Should I increase weight for next week?

    Should I expect my HR to be below AT?

    Thanks in advance,

  • Participant
    Mariner_9 on #67057

    I had a similar question.

    I’m doing weighted hill climbs for ME.

    Last week: 550m (~1800 feet) carrying 18% bodyweight. No DOMS next day.

    Yesterday: 550m (~1800 feet) carrying 24% bodyweight. No DOMS today.

    I’m conscious that the recommendation is not to increase weight carried beyond 30% of bodyweight. That leaves my choices as increasing the duration of the workout or the steepness of the hill. Latter is tricky; route I’ve been using ascends 550m in ~1.8km and is the steepest available. Curious as to what others would suggest.

    Mariner_9 on #67059

    Couldn’t edit the post so here is some additional info that might be relevant:

    – my approach was informed in part by Scott J’s comments here:, particularly, “If you do very heavy carries…then you can get away with much less elevation in them. 1-2k will do the trick”

    – My uphill time was ~55-mins. I note the comment posted in the TP training plan for next week that you should, “shoot for 40 minutes total uphill time”

    – my “goal day” pack weight is ~15% of bodyweight

    MarkPostle on #67081

    Keith, I would bump 5 pounds next week and potentially 5 pounds the week after and see how that feels. If you’re using stairs you should be able to get to a point where the weight feels like the “problem” more than the cardio. I would not expect your HR below AeT if you’re doing 5 laps but low to mid Z3 is more likely.

    keith brown on #67131

    Thanks Mark!

    keith brown on #67313


    I did another ME workout today and it felt like the same outcome as last week – cardio seemed to be the limiting factor rather than weight. Same location, stairwell with 12 floors, 5 reps, this time with 30% BW. First rep was low Z3. Near the end or rep two I was mid Z3. Reps three-five I was at the upper limit of Z3, and included time above AnT. I could feel the additional weigh, but had to slow down significantly towards the end to manage HR. I’ll wait a few days for DOMS, but not expecting much.

    Any thoughts or insights?

    Thanks in advance.
    Vr, Keith

    Mariner_9 on #67808

    Keith – I recommend listening to the UA podcast on ME. Link is

    I note that Scott said the weighted carries “rarely result in severe DOMS”. This is consistent with my experience doing them outside and in a high-rise. Plenty of fatigue for 2-3 days, but no DOMS. Seems to fit with your experience, too.

    keith brown on #67810

    Thank you for the response.

    My question for Mark and the Team is really about weight and intensity. The pack is over 60 lbs, and over 30% BW. I continue to bump against AnT. Weight is not the limiting factor.

    Do I continue increasing weight, or do I just slow down a this point and keep HR mid-Z3?

    Regards, Keith

    MarkPostle on #67812

    Definitely don’t slow down. This should be a hard effort. We are not concerned about HR from a training perspective (this isn’t an aerobic capacity workout but more of a specific strength workout) You could try add another 5-10 pounds but in general if your able to carry 60 pounds and hold your HR right at AnT for an hour one of a couple things is slightly amiss. A) Your AnT estimate is low or more likely B) You’re not using steep enough terrain. Using a heavy pack to produce an ME effect only really works when there’s a gravity component to resist. I can get my HR close to AnT with a 60 pound pack on a 10-15% trail or treadmill for an hour but definitely cannot on a 40% gradient at a steady state effort.

    keith brown on #67815

    Thanks Mark.

    I am using stairs in 12-floor building. HRmax is 165, AnT is 151. I’ll add a bit more weight and see how it goes. Last few laps it’s been high Z3 and bumping into AnT, but I’ll review the data again.

    I’ll keep you posted. Thanks!

    MarkPostle on #67834

    Got it. If you’re doing laps on stairs then you’ll always be able to maintain a higher effort level over the course of the workout as there’s rest periods in between and thus you’re able to maintain higher HR during the efforts. I would add 5 pounds and just go hard, disregard HR pretty much entirely. You’ll be getting the desired effect.

    Mariner_9 on #67920

    Mark, I wanted to check I’m doing the ME workout correctly as I had similar concerns to Keith about HR and legs as limiting factors. Scott’s comment in his podcast on ME addressed my question about lack of DOMS.

    Most recent workout:
    – weighted uphill carry done outside, weight carried up and down
    – 28% of body weight
    – 600m elevation gain
    – 26% avg gradient, max 69% (excluding the ‘walk-in’, avg gradient 32%)
    – ~55mins up, 30mins down
    – HR 77% in Z3 on the ascent, 3% Z4, rest roughly split Z2 and Z1

    Does the combination of weight, steepness and intensity look OK? I think it would be difficult for me to change the steepness or intensity but I could increase the weight – just not sure if there’s any advantage in doing so? ‘Goal day’ pack weight is ~12-15% body weight.


    keith brown on #67976

    Mark, Mariner…

    Just FYI. I bumped up another 5 to 65lbs. Normally I leave a water bottle on the stairs and hit it during reps in the stairwell. This time I had a 2L bladder in my pack. At about 70 lbs. I understand what it feels like having leg strength being the limiting factor! Had to hit it to understand how it felt. Got to the point where my legs were smoked and not able to finish the 75 minutes. Good learning experience. I’m fortunate to have time in my schedule to apply to training later this year. I’ll back off 10 and go from there.

    I’m assuming as we adapt during the 12 weeks of ME we are either able to increase vertical gain or increase weight.

    Appreciate the group feedback.

    Mariner_9 on #68101

    Thanks, Keith. Interesting that you had to increase the weight so much from where you first started!

    What pack are you using? My BD Shot Pack is maxed out at ~45 pounds and the shoulder straps are already uncomfortable with that weight.

    Two observations that might be of interest to the group:
    – there seems to be much more training of calf strength doing the ME workouts outdoors. No doubt due to stairs being flat whereas a steep slope means putting weight on the front of the foot
    – feels safer doing ME indoors. Loose trail (rocks, branches, pine needles) with lots of partly-buried roots => easy to slip

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