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Top 3 Training Techniques for Heavy Backpacks & Load Carrying

Load carrying plays a pivotal role in acclimatisation and logistical planning for high-altitude mountaineering. This process entails transporting essential gear, equipment, and provisions between established camps at varying elevations. By gradually shouldering these loads uphill, you provide yourself with the best opportunity to acclimatise and make logistical preparations for your summit attempt and descent.


However, preparing for a load-carrying expedition isn't simply a matter of strapping on your backpack and hoping for the best. It involves incorporating these three training techniques for heavy backpacks & load carrying:


1. Gradually increasing the weight

2. Challenging your balance

3. Periodically overloading your backpack.


The objective is to cultivate immense strength for ascending and descending steep slopes while bearing the weight of a heavy pack:


  1. Gradually Increasing Your Backpack Weight

Start by packing your backpack with 50% of the weight you expect to carry on your expedition. For example, if you plan to carry 20kg/44lbs, start with 10kg/22lbs during your Aerobic Z2 sessions. Aim to progressively increase the weight by 25% every two weeks.

2. Challenging Your Balance

During your Leg & Glute Session, perform all your exercises with your backpack on, loaded with the full weight expected for your expedition. This presents an excellent opportunity to assess weight distribution as you move in various, somewhat spontaneous directions—contrasting with the repetitive forward motion of your Aerobic Z2 Sessions. Working out with your backpack during Leg & Glute Sessions also challenges your balance and centre of gravity, more closely simulating the conditions you'll face during your expedition.


3. Interval Load Carrying

Dedicate one session per week to a short Aerobic Z2 session with an added 25% to 50% of the overall weight you anticipate carrying. For instance, if you plan to carry 20kg/44lbs, carry 30kg/66lbs. This technique significantly boosts your strength and endurance under a heavier load, providing a more intense stimulus. Consequently, you'll find that your usual load of 20kg/44lbs feels lighter and more manageable!


mountaineering training plan

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