Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Training on a treadmill


Display Avatars Sort By:
Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Training on a treadmill on 06/03/2012 18:15:56 MDT Print View

Here in Las Vegas I have to train on a treadmill with a 30 lb. pack due to the 100+ F. temps in the summer. Sometimes I'll drive an hour to the Spring Mountains outside of Vegas to train above 8,000 ft. where it's at least 20 F. cooler. But with the price of gas that's a twice monthly outing.

Does anyone else do this?

Edited by Danepacker on 06/14/2012 15:04:11 MDT.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Sorta on 06/03/2012 18:33:37 MDT Print View

I did a lot of workouts on the treadmill in prep for various trips/ events but never with a pack. Rather, I do fairly intense combination of speed and incline that is directly applicable to both trail running and backpacking. I have done this for three years and have able to go directly into fairly intense trail workouts from just the treadmill.

John Whynot
(jdw01776)

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Training on a treadmill on 06/03/2012 18:57:30 MDT Print View

If your gym has one, try using a step-mill (it looks like a short escaltor). I find it gives a good simulation of climbing uphill with a pack...

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Training on a treadmill on 06/03/2012 19:21:01 MDT Print View

"If your gym has one, try using a step-mill (it looks like a short escaltor). I find it gives a good simulation of climbing uphill with a pack..."

+1 The best machine around, IMO, for mountain training when outside options are not feasible. A lot of mountaineers up here in Cascade Country use them, with/without a pack, when they can't get up in the mountains for whatever reason.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: Re: Training on a treadmill on 06/03/2012 19:41:50 MDT Print View

I used the step-mill as training, and while it did a lot for my leg strength, I could never get it fast enough for good cardiovascular improvement. I ended up regretting focusing on it alone, and spent the first month of my summer in Glacier Park trying to improve my cardio. If you can do the step-mill plus a treadmill, then I would imagine that would be a much more complete preparation.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
night on 06/03/2012 21:22:32 MDT Print View

if its too hot, go out and train in the evening ...

any training is better than none ...

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
heeeeeeeck no on 06/04/2012 07:52:08 MDT Print View

I would not, could not, on mill tread
They make me dizzy in the head
Instead I use the erg to row
When indoor I do cardio

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Treadmill on 06/04/2012 08:09:04 MDT Print View

I hate the treadmill but.... I do use it on cold winter days below (-15 C) to get runs in. So I end up using it maybe 20 times a year. I can't go more than about an hour on it without going crazy.

The two biggest things you miss are strengthening all of the stabilizer muscles that are used when you are on uneven surfaces and you don't work your downhill muscles.

John Reichle
(mammoman) - M

Locale: NE AL
Training on 06/04/2012 09:00:40 MDT Print View

I swim for low impact cardio and either walk the neighborhood hills or the stair-climber at the gym for leg training.

John Myers
(dallas) - F - MLife

Locale: North Texas
Stairs on 06/04/2012 11:35:42 MDT Print View

We're on the 16th floor so I do a lot of stairs.
I like that a lot better than a stairmaster.
Very few hills nearby so that's all the elevation work I get in.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Lunges and Squats on 06/04/2012 11:55:29 MDT Print View

I think you can get a more intense workout with a variety Lunges and Squats. I also think doing core work also goes a long way towards giving you the proper support/strength in your ab/low back that is really important when carrying loads.

Bottom line, forget the treadmill, do something like P90X that gives you overall strength and hits the cardio interval training that is really helpful.

Brent Mahan
(thenerb)

Locale: Southern New Hampshire
+1 P90X on 06/04/2012 13:16:50 MDT Print View

P90X is great. As others have pointed out, doing training on a treadmill or step-mill is great, but it is definitely not sufficient by itself. The stabilizing and supporting muscles and tendons MUST be worked out too. Not only will this allow you to go faster and farther, but it greatly reduces the chance of injury.

I do trail running, cycling, racquetball, and weights to train when I can't be out backpacking.

Another thing that I do is to wear a pack loaded with 35# of textbooks while mowing my lawn (push mower). I have a very hilly yard and it takes about an hour and a half to mow. I don't use the self-propel feature and find that up and down the hills pushing the mower with a heavy pack makes for an excellent work out. Plus, there's lots of up and down, turning, start/stop, and off camber walking which hits many of those stabilizer muscles too. I'd be mowing the lawn anyway, so I might as well get some training in at the same time. Neighbors think I'm a bit weird, but whatever.

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: +1 P90X on 06/04/2012 13:28:27 MDT Print View

Definitely. When I can't get out and need a relatively quick, but intense workout I use the Insanity videos. Not really my cup of tea, in the abstract, but they're seriously effective.


Edit: Treadmills are the effing worst. Just sucks.

Edited by tekhna on 06/04/2012 13:35:03 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Stairs on 06/04/2012 13:34:15 MDT Print View

John: a big +1 on the stairs!

When doing real stairs, you actually move your 140-200 pounds up 9-10 feet per floor and AT LEAST AT IMPORTANTLY, you lower your body weight back down through that height.

On treadmills and stairmasters, your center of mass doesn't move much so you aren't doing the same work. I know I can dial a treadmill in for 15% grade and 4.5 mph and it is nothing like hiking an actual 15% grade at that speed. And it's dang tough to walk downhill on a treadmill and if I don't want to be hating life after a deathmarch, I need to get in a lot of downhill conditioning in advance.

Also:

Stairs are free (just find a high-rise or a 2- or 3-story hotel) - no gym fees.
Most stairs are air-conditioned in summer and heated in winter.
If you look around you can find ones that aren't as fully heated as indoor spaces which is ideal.
You can find stairs in most buildings and hotels and offices whereas health clubs are fewer and farther between.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Stairs on 06/04/2012 13:40:17 MDT Print View

I'm in a 2-story house, so I only have one flight of stairs, but in winter (think 0F), I do that one flight up and down for 10 minutes before my morning shower. I listen to tunes or a podcast on my smart phone. Just that much of a workout makes a huge difference come Summer or any hikes I do in winter by flying south.

If I'm going for more than 10 minutes (I hate to sweat), I go to the garage which has stairs to the loft because we keep the garage about 60F for my wife's rowing machine and my stationary bike workouts.

I should step up through pack weight: 0, then 10, then 20, 30 pounds each week in preparation for a BPing trip, but generally haven't.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Training on a treadmill @ Clayton on 06/04/2012 17:30:37 MDT Print View

"I used the step-mill as training, and while it did a lot for my leg strength, I could never get it fast enough for good cardiovascular improvement."

Your statement that you couldn't get the step mill going fast enough to improve your cardio puzzles me. I've used them a lot over the years, although not in the last couple, and know a lot of very fit mountain people who swear by them for cardio as well as strength training. Our unanimous experience is that you can get your heart rate up as far as you can safely take it, I'm talking in excess of 170 here. Did you try increasing the speed on the "mill", say up to level 12 or more? Just curious, not trying to start an argument, as you are the first person I've ever heard say this.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Training on a treadmill @ Clayton on 06/04/2012 18:55:42 MDT Print View

What I remember is that I had the resistance rather high on the step-mill, and I did get a good heart rate up on it, but it wasn't the same level of fitness that I would have gotten if I had spent that time running. I started training on that machine for at least 3 months, probably 3 times a week for about 45 minutes a session in addition to heavy squats and my regular lifting program (also 3 times a week, some days the same, some days not). It was not enough to really cause me to breathe in the same ways that running does. I felt like I could have gone on for much longer, as long as my legs could have taken it (that, and the boredom of the machine).

That was my experience of it at least. I might should have pushed harder on a lower setting, focusing more on cardio than on leg strength, but I certainly wasn't taking it easy. I also know that cardiovascular fitness is not something that comes easy for me. I have to really push myself to get fit there. Comparatively, my body builds muscle quickly and it takes less than most for me to maintain strength. Just not the cardio thing.

And I might have had poor expectations too. Hiking and climbing around the mountains all summer is not something you just walk into without any adjustment. My fitness program involves a lot more running now than it did then.

Edited by GlacierRambler on 06/04/2012 18:57:54 MDT.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
training on 06/04/2012 19:40:48 MDT Print View

Whatever you can do is better than nothing.

I personally think resistance training, coupled with basic cardio works fine. I lift wts, and do cardio on elliptical machine at gym. No problems.

My kid does neither, and still no problems.

Maybe its the 20 lb packs?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Training on a treadmill @ Clayton on 06/04/2012 19:45:04 MDT Print View

"but it wasn't the same level of fitness that I would have gotten if I had spent that time running."

Now it makes a lot more sense. There is nothing, IME, that compares to running for building cardiovascular fitness. I just wish I still could..... :-(

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Training on a treadmill @ Clayton on 06/04/2012 20:07:42 MDT Print View

"There is nothing, IME, that compares to running for building cardiovascular fitness."

I am learning the same thing. I just wish I enjoyed running more. Then again, if I were better at it, it wouldn't feel like 30-45 minutes of frustration and failure. And training for hiking is a lot different than training for everyday fitness.