You may be asking yourself how you can properly train for a hike in the Himalayas if your neighborhood surroundings don’t have the same terrain or altitude. My advice? Don’t worry about it. After 25+ years of training people for adventure hikes, I’m confident you have everything you need to prepare for your One World Trekking Himalayan Adventure.
Here’s a training process you can use to make sure you’ll have energy from the first day of your trek to the last day, along with the ability to recover easily while you rest with minimal to zero soreness.
- Gradually increase stair walking until you reach 60 minutes. Climbing upstairs provides strength and endurance. Going downstairs bolsters a completely different kind of strength, which helps stability and self-assurance to descend Himalayan trails with confidence.
- Gradually increase the incline on your treadmill each week until you can tolerate 45-60 minutes at a 15% incline. Although the treadmill is very different than climbing hills (we’ll discuss that at another time), it will still lengthen and strengthen your calves and Achilles tendons, as well as improve your cardio and leg endurance.
- Over six-to-ten weeks, gradually work up to hiking or walking for 5 hours while wearing a pack that is heavier than the one you will carry on your trip. Walking for a long time – even if the terrain is not aggressive – will develop durability in your core and all of your lower body joints and muscles. Carrying more weight in your pack will develop a strength reserve so you have an abundance of energy each day of your trek.
- Perform high intensity interval training (HIIT) on a stationary bike – preferably a non-weight bearing machine – or other cardiovascular training equipment that allow you to control variables such as resistance, speed and sometimes incline (i.e., elliptical, stepper). Warm up for 10 minutes and then perform 10 rounds of two minutes of very intense work (high heart rate, high respirations, and muscle burn) followed by a minute to a minute-and-a-half of rest. This type of training will push your limits and help your mental toughness necessary for high altitude trekking.
- Perform heavy resistance training, selecting exercises such as walking lunges or kettlebell deadlifts, up to two times a week. If you are completing all of the above, then perform resistance training once a week. This will help develop the lower body strength you’ll need when stepping up on or off of high rocks.
Your goal should be to perform each of the above activities at least once a week. You should be sure to add an active recovery day or two, such as walking at a leisurely stroll on easy terrain to make sure you don’t over train your body before your One World Trekking Adventure. Healthy travelers can handle any one of our trips with the right training. If you want discuss your current exercise program to ensure it is not missing critical training elements, contact Marcus Shapiro to discuss your training regimen at no cost to you.