Two ME workouts per week?

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  • #59414
    Cory from Wisconsin

    Hello UA community,

    I’m entering week 17 of the 24 week plan which kicks off the muscular endurance work. My primary mountaineering objectives are not until next summer, but I do have some winter ice climbing planned and based on the previous recommendation of Scott I’ve been substituting the Ice and Mixed general strength workouts instead of the prescribed mountaineering general strength work.

    My question as I enter the ME phase of the program is should I continue to substitute the ice and mixed ME work, or can I add that work in addition to the ME work prescribed in the mountaineering plan? To me it appears they will be complimentary since ice/mixed is upper body focused and the mountaineering is lower body focused with heavy pack carries. My concern is that I do not want to blow up from too much stress and the ice/mixed plan specifically calls out not overusing the ME workouts. If possible I would like to continue building the endurance in my legs and the ability to carry a heavy pack for long winter approaches or to be better prepared when I cycle through the plan again in preparation for summer goals.

    Additional information on training & training background:
    – I’m 37 years old.
    – I’m entering week 17 of the 24 week mountaineering plan, but I’m really on week 19 due to some repeat weeks from missed workouts from travel.
    – In the last two ice seasons I’ve followed the general strength and max strength workouts from the free online ice/mixed plan, but I have never got to the ME portion. Yes – I should probably have changed the periodization schedule, but I was seeing gains and at this point I can’t change the past.
    – I’ve seen tremendous gains in the first 16 weeks of the current 24 week plan. Overall I’ve avoided sickness, but I have been dealing with some inner left knee pain from an old meniscus tear that was not identified or treated when it originally happened. The pain is generally manageable and can be reduced by avoiding weighted downhill carries or doing stair mill workouts instead of some of my runs.

    Thanks for the recommendations.


  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #59467


    If you mean two leg based ME workouts/week, that answer I usually give is: “Try it and see how you recover.” If you are not seeing improvements week over week, you might not be getting the benefits you think you are. I rarely prescribe 2 MEs in the same week unless the athlete is in an over reaching block and we plan a good recovery afterwards. I have coached some very fit mountain athletes and I almost never use 2 MEs/week. So, try it but pay close attention to recovery. Take a listen to the Recovery podcast I just did. It’s the latest one on the site.


    Cory from Wisconsin on #59521


    Thanks for the reply. I do not think I can absorb two leg based ME workouts/week and I should have provided additional clarity in my original post on the workouts I’m wanting to tackle. I am curious about doing an upper body ME (aka the Ice Beast ME workout from the ice/mixed plan) once per week and the leg based ME from the 24 week mountaineering plan once per week. Thus two total, but different muscle groups absorbing and recovering from the training effect.

    While I continue to improve my fitness, I’m sure I wouldn’t be in the same ball park as the “very fit mountain athletes” you coach, thus my concern to make sure I don’t blow up from doing both in a week. I think I understand the training stress of the local systems and the why one may not have the capacity to absorb two MEs for the same muscle group in a given week, but I’m unclear on is if it’s a generally acceptable (or recommended) approach to have an ME on the upper body and a separate ME session on the lower body in a given week?

    If the “whole body ME” or separate upper body and lower body MEs are used, how are they prescribed? Is it stacked in the same day, which to me seems like whichever comes second would be of lesser quality due to fatigue from the first workout. If it’s split, are there any proven recommendations on spacing – i.e. Ice Beast on Tuesday and leg ME on Thursday vs. You can run them on back-to-back days as long as you feel alright?

    As for the new recovery podcast, thanks for recording and sharing that. I’ve read or heard you talk about the stair test and judging recovery and this podcast will serve as the catalyst for me to begin doing that daily. As I enter the ME phase of my training plan I’ll also pay close attention to my gut feeling on my recovery and how prepared I for the day’s workout.


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