Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber


      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  

Training for the New Alpinism first full cycle

Recommended Posts

I figured I'd post this here in case folks were interested. This year I followed a plan I made that was based on "Training for the New Alpinism". The focus was on strength which I had very limited experience with prior to this. I also chose to allocate an extra day for climbing each week and remove the threshold workout since I was a collegiate runner and have 10+ yrs of bi-weekly threshold workouts under my belt but only 4 yrs of climbing, and wanted to significantly improve my technique on ice/mixed this year. I trained from the start of 2016 (Jan) and peaked for a two week trip in late July.


Here is my plan...


Weekly Schedule (first 16 weeks)


T-Zone 1



F-Zone 1



Aerobic Metabolism (mostly Zone 1)

-start at 150min/week

-10% increase/week

-50-70% down week every 4th week


Cicuits (first 8 weeks)

1. Turkish Get-ups (full)

2. Split Bench Squats (legs)

3. Push-ups (arms)

4. Box Step-ups (legs)

5. Pull-ups (arms)

6. Squats (legs)

7. Dips (arms)

8. Hanging Leg Raise (legs)

9. Deadlifts (legs)

10. Isometric Hangs (arms)

11. Incline Pull-ups (arms)

11. Incline Pull-ups (arms)


Max Strength (second 8 weeks)

1. Squats (legs)

2. Pull-ups (arms)

3. Deadlifts (legs)

4. Isometric Hangs (arms)


Strength Endurance (until road trip in June)

1. weighted endurance laps in gym (boots and pack)

2. weighted hill climbs (steep)

3. Max Strength maintenance (see above, OR hill sprints, car pushes, bouldering)


Weekly Schedule until roadtrip

M-Zone 1

T-Weighted Laps

W-Weighted Hills


F-Zone 1



10 days in North Cascades


2 down weeks (hiking and light running, some easy cragging and hangboarding, one max strength workout)


drive to Bugaboos to climb while waiting for weather window, heli into mountains and climb big routes


I feel like this got me in pretty good shape but also wrecked me a bit> I probably could have chilled out on the max strength, I got pretty excited when I started seeing big gains and pushed it.


If anyone has any questions I would be happy to answer them, or if anyone with more experience has suggestions for how I could improve or tweak this in the future I would appreciate that.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting, but I hope you fill us in on the climbing results in some TRs!

Edited by JasonG

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Jason, I will. My trip was funded in part by a Live Your Dream grant so I'm in the process of writing a fairly comprehensive one for them. Once I'm done I'll link it and provide the basics in a TR on CC.com


Some other specifics for the training plan...


I started strength training by doing two sets of the circuit and was doing four sets at the end of the first 8 weeks. The isometric hangs were one arm hangs on ice tools.


On max strength I started with 4 sets and finished doing 6 sets 8 weeks later. At the end I was doing 4 reps on squat and deadlift with 205# and 250# respectively. Pullups 2 reps with 60# added. One-arm hangs on straight shaft tools 7x7sec with 30#.


Weighted laps in gym were done on an auto-belay. I down climbed everything I climbed up. I wore Nepal Evos and pack with 15# padded in blankets. I topped out with 55min of continuous laps on a 5.9 (maybe 5.7 outdoors). Nagging injuries in my arms (one from a bike crash in April, and one from an ice chunk while belaying in Hyalite in Feb) forced me to be pretty chill about this and I was not able to do maintenance of my max strength due to my shoulders being pretty messed up.


Weighted hill climbs were done on a fairly steep and loose hill side with 500ft of gain. I wore old approach shoes and did the same deal with weights wrapped in blankets and then also strapped my bike to my pack (awkward as fuh!), when I got to the top I would ride my bike down to prevent impact on my knees with the extra weight but once I got past 30# in the pack the bike descent definitely got a little hairy. Nagging issues from pushing the squats and deadlift eventually required me to take two weeks off from this protocol before my roadtrip to the N Cascades. I cross trained on the bike and was fine once I got to the mountains, but I was pretty concerned for about a week there.


House and Johnston recommend recording volume according to aerobic zone determined by heart rate. I don't own a heart rate monitor and in my experience running (even in zone 1) is much harder on the body than biking or hiking. So I just recorded all running time as volume, cut walking and biking time in half, only counted hiking/approaching/ski touring when going in the uphill direction.


I've heard folks complain about how the TftNA approach takes too much time and is not intense enough since it emphasizes easy aerobic volume. What I got from the book is that you should do easy aerobic volume regardless of how much time you have. I also didn't think it was lacking intensity; 2 hard strength workouts each week, a cragging day where you hit a ton of pitches in a short time, a threshold day, and a long workout (can be done pretty quickly with a run) on your weekend. That is 5 days out of 7 doing something that is fairly intense in one way or another and only leaves 2 days each week to do easy aerobic volume. I also found that if you are trying to get mountain experience on the weekends you end up getting a ton of volume in those days. Many weeks I would just bike commute to work (20 min each way) and that was almost all of my Mon-Fri volume if I wanted to progress according to the 10% rule since I would then put in two long days approaching Sat/Sun.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this