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Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Weight training on 02/25/2013 21:49:38 MST Print View

Personally, I find a lot of misinformation persists with those who haven't tried strength training. Not to discount Skurka, but there's a perception that any weightlifting is about bulking not strength. Strength training done well can leave a person very lean (depending upon body type, of course) without any of the massive look of the bodybuilder types.

That said, thru-hiking is a pretty specialized pursuit, and to pursue something that narrow, sacrifices have to be made in other areas. I do strength training not because it will help me be a better hiker, but because it fits my other goals in life and helps me maintain more balance. Would I be a better hiker if I spent more time running ultra-marathons than strength training? Definitely. But my goals are different directed to a broader range of interests. I'll gladly trade a little hiking efficiency to better meet my other needs.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Weight training on 02/26/2013 07:50:31 MST Print View

Yeah, there's a huge myth out there that strength training is the same thing as bodybuilding. It is not. A lot of cyclists and runners have the same myth. Causes people to put in "junk miles" when just a few minutes in the squat rack will give them more power per foot/pedal strike and just make the whole thing feel like a piece of cake.

Being female, I'm not even going to get real big anyway. So far I have a thinner waist and slightly larger thighs. Maybe slightly larger shoulders. You'd never be able to tell looking at me, just clothes fit differently now. Probably some of that is just fat, too, since I have to eat like a pig to keep making progress.

The other week when I loaded up 7 liters into my pack I wondered, what would it feel like to squat this? So I did it. It was laughably easy compared to the barbells.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: Weight training on 02/26/2013 11:21:06 MST Print View

Piper - Kuddos to you for all the hard work! I have a lot of respect for folks who follow a training regimen of any kind.

Regarding the rest of the thread. I am far from an expert, but right or wrong I've always looked at it like this - If you want to go farther, faster, longer, etc at a specific task doing that specific task repeatedly will give you the best results. In other words, to get the best training results for hiking I would want to push myself out on the trail as much as I could. Obviously I can't do that everyday, but I can exercise at home, lift weights, etc which will also yield positive results. Just not as much as if I was training on the trail.

To me, bicycling, running, elliptical work, and rowing would give the best results for at home training since they work the legs and some core, but also give aerobic conditioning. I think strength training wouldn't give optimal results for hiking, but it's still a loooong ways better than nothing.

Ryan

Edited by ViolentGreen on 02/26/2013 11:25:54 MST.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Here is what I do... on 02/26/2013 11:50:55 MST Print View

...and I have had good results. My goal is functional strength and cardio for not just backpacking, but playing with my two small boys, have more energy, be healthier in general, etc.

Stretching, 5 min
Jump rope, medium pace, 5 min
Shadow boxing, 15 min, with a few 2 min breaks (I used to box, so also good to keep my form)
Two handed kettlebell swings (i.e. from under my butt to face level), x50, currently using 28kg
2-3min break
One handed kettlebell lifts (i.e. from groin to full extensions above head), x10 each arm, currently using 16kg
2-3 min break
Slow push ups, x25
2-3 min break
Hindu squats, x50
Jump rope, fast pace, 5 min

Drink homemade protein shake of 300ml chocolate oat milk + 35g raw hemp protein powder (about 15g protein).

I do this twice a week, and once a week either go for a long walk/dayhike or short run around my part of town. If I have an overnight or weekend trip, I give myself permission to skip a workout day. Best way to make my base weight that us usually around 3kg feel even lighter is to be able to swing around a kettlebell that is nearly 10 times that.

Erik Dietz
(erikdtz)

Locale: Los Angeles
Fellow weight lifters on 02/27/2013 11:22:16 MST Print View

It's good to hear that others are lifting as I've posted once or twice and never heard anything back. I did the Starting Strength program for the first 6 months and have recently switched to the Texas Method.
When I first started backpacking a few years ago I was an endurance junkie...lots of running and biking. Even when I was in "good shape" I always felt weak. My knees hurt all the time and while I was leaner I definitely wasn't any stronger or better at hiking. Then I started CrossFit about 1.5 years ago which was MUCH better. Some high intensity interval training combined with strength training did wonders for my hiking abilities not to mention my overall fitness level. My knees didn't hurt at all, I lost some fat and put on some muscle. Then about 7 months ago I decided I didn't want to pay $150 a month for CrossFit so I joined a dingy little power lifting gym a few miles from my house and fell in love with just straight lifting...Squat, press, dead lift, bench, clean & jerk, snatch. I do one day of accessory lifts and 1-2 days of conditioning which is usually pushing a heavy prowler or pulling a sled for 40-50 yards.
When I did a 6 day backpacking trip this summer up in the Sierras, it was ridiculously easy. My shoulders weren't sore, I wasn't stiff in the morning, my legs and knees felt strong going up and, more importantly, coming down the mountains. And this was after almost NO conditioning and one of the heaviest lifting weeks I'd had at that time.
Piper, keep it up! That body weight squat is closer then you think!

Rob P
(rpjr) - M
Good workout, Cesar on 02/27/2013 11:28:36 MST Print View

overall functional strength is the way to go for a myriad of activities. I bet those squats really help on the trail.

I might consider doing the 5 minutes of easy jump rope first, and then do some stretching, with a little more stretching post workout. When I coached baseball, we had our guys do a 5 minute warmup run and then stretch...our trainers told us that stretching was much more effective with a shor warmup first.

Anyway, great workout.

James Castleberry
(Winterland76)
Mountain Athlete and rock climbing on 02/27/2013 11:43:44 MST Print View

I always recommend mountainathlete's videos to people interested in core strength.
http://www.youtube.com/user/mountainathlete

I do the mountain athlete stuff that only requires a yoga mat: Plank pushups, Jane Fondas, supermans. Other than that, rock climbing twice a week. Rock climbing is good for core and upper body strength and way more fun than lifting weights.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Weight training on 02/27/2013 13:17:20 MST Print View

I think it depends on your goals. If your sole purpose is long-distance thru-hiking like Skurka, then strength training may be wasted, especially since you are likely to lose any strength you have gained while completing your hike. However, for me, I don't so such long hikes. The strength gains from weight training work very well for the myriad weekend hikes and several 5-7 day hikes I do each year. And the crossover application to the many other activities I do are almost endless. The one thing that weight training doesn't seem to work well for is the stresses on thigh muscles from downhill hiking. You really need to walk downhill to fully develop those muscles, unless you have access to a downhill slanting treadmill or stair-climber.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Weight training on 02/27/2013 13:58:42 MST Print View

>" unless you have access to a downhill slanting treadmill or stair-climber."

Or, as I call them, "stairs". Just stairs. No gym membership, no $2000 equipment, nothing to plug in the wall or take up space in your house. Just stairs - up AND DOWN - at home, at the office, a hotel while traveling.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Strength training to lighten the load on 02/27/2013 14:07:07 MST Print View

>"Backyard home improvement is also great strength/cross training."

I've long figured that I could spend $1000 on a gym membership and $2000 on a snowblower or do neither (and hand-shovel 250 feet of driveway) to the same effect.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: Good workout, Cesar on 02/27/2013 15:04:50 MST Print View

Thanks Rob. I actually gave a lot of thought and planning into this routine. I am a grad student, and get a student discount at a gym close to my house. I generally hate gyms, but put up with going specifically to build myself a solid workout regiment. After tinkering around and experimenting with a few "rough drafts" I found something that really gives me an all around good work out for my goals. Glad I put up with going to the gym so I didn't rush into things and buy say, a whole kettlebell set or set of weights. Using bodyweight work was a big improvement both functionally and pragmatically, such as the hindu squats and slow push ups. I also learned a lesson by moving up to too much weight, with 30kg two handed swings and 20kg one arm lifts. I can do the weight, but didn't have as good results, as my reps were lower. I forgot to add that I plan on adding pull-ups into my routine, once a week or so, at a park near my house that has a pull-up bar.

I will think about stretching after a warm up, didn't know about that.

I was out on an overnight trip last weekend and did about 10km the first day and 15km the second day, and it was easy, even with my slightly heavier winter load. On my section hike last summer that was 5 days, I did around 20km a day, and I never had any serious issues with fatigue, and don't recall being that stiff or sore. All around very pleasant trip, and had a lot to do with both going UL and also being in good shape. Well, "good" is subjective of course, I am sure that there are plenty of people on here in better shape than I am. After going UL a few years ago and getting a bit more involved and dedicated to working out shortly after, life in general has been vastly improved. Makes me want to get out into the woods even more--I feel like I can accomplish so much more out there now than ever before as an outdoor enthusiast.

Another important aspect of all this has been diet. I have also taken much more of an active role in attempting to eat healthy. I have a complicated diet as a result, not really summed up in a word or phrase. I am an occasional meat eater (2-3 times week) and avoid red meat in favor of seafood (no farmed fish!) and chicken. I only eat red meat once or twice a month. I eat two eggs nearly every day, however, and eat lots of nuts and beans. I also try and favor protein and fat servings over carbs, and many of the carbs I do eat are whole grain. When I am backpacking, most bets are off--I eat mostly anything I want to eat, which is usually lots of chocolate, sausages/salami, super-carby food like pasta and potato/corn chips, etc. But I will always take a lot of nuts, usually both almonds and cashews.

When I started building my workout regiment I would eat a protein or granola bar with lots of nuts. This was not only expensive, but didn't recharge me as much as I wanted. So then I tried my homemade protein drink noted above, and it made a significant difference--more energy and also did not feel as fatigued after workouts.

Cesar Valdez
(PrimeZombie) - F

Locale: Scandinavia
Re: Re: Re: Weight training on 02/27/2013 15:14:05 MST Print View

David, you bring up a good point about costs. My two kettlebells cost about 150USD total, and my jumprope is the same 10 dollar jumprope I have had since I was a boxer about a decade ago. My homemade oat milk/hemp seed protein shake costs me about 1.50 USD each. Keep in mind that I live in Sweden and things cost slightly more here (in exchange for nearly free health care and free tuition at university, and other things too).

You don't need to spend much money to get in good shape.

Edited by PrimeZombie on 02/27/2013 15:37:23 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Weight training on 02/27/2013 15:21:33 MST Print View

nm

Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/13/2013 16:00:59 MST.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Lots n lots of misconceptions about strength training on 02/27/2013 15:44:24 MST Print View

And in this case I'm just not really sure where to start.

I have a doctorate in physical therapy, I am a board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist and I am a fellow in the American academy of orthopaedic manual physical therapists.

First of all, kudos to all of you who strength train, whether in the gym or in your backyard or in your staircases. It's always a good thing, particularly for bone health and overall metabolism. It makes you a fitter person overall, and THAT is how it helps your hiking.

To the folks who spoke of fast vs slow twitch, you're close but not quite. While you are right that a muscle contraction is an all or nothing proposition (to degrees, of course), the fact is that with training you absolutely can change the ratio of fast to slow twitch or vice versa. You can also change through atrophy or laziness... Fast twitch is explosion, plyometric, jumping kinds of muscle fibers; slow twitch are what we use to hike. Pretty much all the time. So unless you are one of those speed hikers, no worries about your fast twitch fibers. If you run or play soccer or something similar, though, then you should focus on them. But that's a different bout of blathering.

Major point here: You do not built endurance with strength training. You build endurance with endurance training and muscle force with "strength" training. If you lift for increased power production, you will not improve endurance (this is why sprinters are not marathon runners, and huge lineman do not run the ball in for touchdowns). Look at the different builds of cyclists in the Tour de France: the climbers are all lithe and skinny...that is endurance training; the sprinters have huge legs...that is power. The two are not the same and the muscles are not at all trained the same. While improving a muscle's force production will make stepping up a 15 inch boulder with a 15 pound pack easier...it will NOT change how many times you can step up that step. That's where endurance training (like Dave's comment about climbing stairs) comes in.
So a well-balanced "cross training" routine would include both lifting heavy weights just a few times (to fatigue) as well as doing light stuff many many times (to fatigue). To really improve a muscle's force production you actually need to lift enough weight to be tired after 8-10 reps...and to not be able to actually finish that last one. Then do another set. This kind of training will do nothing for endurance.

One of the biggest misconceptions is the need for cross training. Honestly, you don't need it. It's nice, it certainly CAN be helpful if you are generally not very fit, but, the fact is specificity of training rules the day. If you want to run fast, run fast. If you want to power up a steep ascent, power up steep ascents. And if you want to hike for 30 miles/day, then you need to hike 30 miles a day. The other stuff can make minor differences, but in the grander scheme of things not all that much.

I will quantify that by again saying that if you aren't in very good shape, then ANY training will be beneficial.

As for stretching, another misconception. You do not need to do it. It actually doesn't help you. Stretch before, after, during, don't stretch...no difference. It does not change overall muscle length, it does not alter the length of your muscle cells, and against what you may believe and everyone has told you, it does NOT NOT NOT prevent injury. A recent study found that your risk of injury increased only if you changed your routine, not whether you stretched or not. So...if you like to stretch first, great! Have at it. If you don't stretch at all, stop beating yourself up about it. You're fine.

Whew. I'm tired now. Time to go work some slow twitch fibers....

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Lots n lots of misconceptions about strength training on 02/27/2013 17:06:34 MST Print View

"Major point here: You do not built endurance with strength training. You build endurance with endurance training and muscle force with "strength" training. If you lift for increased power production, you will not improve endurance (this is why sprinters are not marathon runners, and huge lineman do not run the ball in for touchdowns). Look at the different builds of cyclists in the Tour de France: the climbers are all lithe and skinny...that is endurance training; the sprinters have huge legs...that is power. The two are not the same and the muscles are not at all trained the same. While improving a muscle's force production will make stepping up a 15 inch boulder with a 15 pound pack easier...it will NOT change how many times you can step up that step. That's where endurance training (like Dave's comment about climbing stairs) comes in.......

but, the fact is specificity of training rules the day. If you want to run fast, run fast. If you want to power up a steep ascent, power up steep ascents. And if you want to hike for 30 miles/day, then you need to hike 30 miles a day. The other stuff can make minor differences, but in the grander scheme of things not all that much."

This is the post I was waiting for, because it provides an expert's rationale for how I have always gone about training, both for backpacking and, in the past, running and climbing, with pretty decent results. That said, I've come around recently to the idea that developing core strength is helpful for darn near any activity. My 2 cents.

Thanks, Jennifer for another incisive post.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Lots n lots of misconceptions about strength training on 02/27/2013 17:09:13 MST Print View

nm

Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/13/2013 16:02:11 MST.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Lots n lots of misconceptions about strength training on 02/27/2013 17:23:51 MST Print View

"The other stuff can make minor differences, but in the grander scheme of things not all that much."

True, but it does make a difference, though usually small as you point out.

For instance,
Effect of high-intensity resistance training on performance of competitive distance runners.

In a recent study competitive road cyclists experienced substantial gains in sprint and endurance performance when sessions of high-intensity interval training were added to their usual training in the competitive phase of a season. The current study reports the effect of this type of training on performance of 20 distance runners randomized to an experimental or control group for 5 to 7 weeks of training. The experimental group replaced part of their usual competitive-phase training with 10 x 30-minute sessions consisting of 3 sets of explosive single-leg jumps (20 for each leg) alternating with 3 sets of resisted treadmill sprints (5 x 30-second efforts alternating with 30-second recovery). Before and after the training period all runners completed an incremental treadmill test for assessment of lactate threshold and maximum running speed, 2 treadmill runs to exhaustion for prediction of 800- and 1500-m times, and a 5-km outdoor time trial. Relative to the control group, the mean changes (+/-90% confidence limits) in the experimental group were: maximum running speed, 1.8% (+/- 1.1%); lactate-threshold speed, 3.5% (+/-3.4%); predicted 800-m speed, 3.6% (+/- 1.8%); predicted 1500-m speed, 3.7% (+/- 3.0%); and 5-km time-trial speed, 1.2% (+/- 1.1%). We conclude that high-intensity resistance training in the competitive phase is likely to produce beneficial gains in performance for most distance runners.

Endurance cyclist see improvements in performance when they incorporate HIIT training into their program. Plus, as I mentioned before, I assume many of us (ME anyway) are not aiming to be specialists that can do only one activity well. So for those who want to do lots of things well, rather than becoming the next Skurka, I say go for it. As Jennifer points out, it makes you a better rounded person, health wise, bone wise, metabolic wise, and as you get into your twilight years strength becomes much more important just doing everyday things. Since there are cross-over benefits from strength training, and it takes less time than endurance training (for those that don't have the time to walk 30 miles per day), I see it as a win-win. But I am biased...I am not really made for endurance sports. I have a preponderance of fast-twitch muscle, and though I can shift the balance of this somewhat through training, I will never be a competitive endurance athlete. So work to you own strengths as well as what your goals are.

And stretch!! Not as a warm-up or cool down or to prevent immediate injury, but the other thing that becomes more important as we age is basic flexibility. So to be a well-rounded athlete, make sure you stretch sometime in your day to ensure you can cut your own toenails when you get older!!

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Lots n lots of misconceptions about strength training on 02/27/2013 17:56:29 MST Print View

"Tom, is this incisive enough for you? Ha!"

Very incisive, lots of impressive test results, but I'll stick with specificity of training. Here's one example of why: From Kenyan distance runner and former NY Marathon women's winner Tegla Loroupe:

'We don't have any special strength-training equipment in Kenya,' says Tegla, 'so we Kenyan runners simply use our own body weight to supply the resistance as we run up hills. The toughness of our hill workouts is the key reason for our success.' I have found exactly this approach to be true in my own humble efforts.

Here's a link to the complete article about how she, and many other Kenyan runners, train, if you're interested:

http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/marathon-training-a-training-programme-used-by-kenyan-distance-runners-354

In the interest of fairness, here is an article that supports your position, but also
says that hill running will accomplish pretty much the same effects with an added improvement in cardio vascular function and less chance of injury.

http://www.pfitzinger.com/labreports/weights.shtml

As a former hill running fanatic, I'll go with that recommendation. But I am unabashedly biased.

Edit: Just for the heck of it, here's one from Pubmedthat shows no benefit from an 8 week strength training program for recreational marathoners. But, to be truthful, there are also studies supporting the benefits of strength training, all of which makes me suspicious of studies. ;0)

I guess it's a case of there being many paths to achieve the desired result, so pick your poison and go for it. the main thing is to go for it. :)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20885197

Edited by ouzel on 02/27/2013 18:12:24 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Lots n lots of misconceptions about strength training on 02/27/2013 18:05:21 MST Print View

nm

Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/13/2013 16:02:41 MST.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Over thinking this on 02/27/2013 18:05:40 MST Print View

Boy just when I thought that I had completely over thought my previous training.....

I'm also in the camp that the best training to hike thirty mile days is thirty plus mile days. Prior to my thru hike that was exactly my focus but in addition I focused on overall fitness. That involved high rep weight training but a bigger focus was very intense treadmill and elliptical workouts. (Slightly related, I ran my first marathon by only doing one long run a week, a running trainer told me it was stupid but it worked!)

There is one area that I do disagree with some posters. Heavy upper body weight training is a waste for thru hiking training. All of that precious muscle mass will be lost. So fast twitch, slow twitch, who knows, it's all just walking.

Ps, keep it up piper!!!!!!