Aconcagua Training - Part Two

It's been a couple weeks since my last post about training for Aconcagua. In the meantime I've taken my running up a bit, having done one run a little over 4 miles on a snow-covered trail at 9300' near Keystone Colorado at 6 degrees wind chill. It was great. I've upped my intervals to 3 minutes run and 1 minute walk, and calculated my running pace at a 9:26 mile. Not great, but I haven't run in about 15 years, so I'll just get used to it slowly.

I mentioned weights the last time, and here's my general weight training plan in a nutshell. I have two alternating weight workouts.

1) Squat and Pull: full squats to just below parallel, bent over row, lat pull down, negative pull ups, Haney shrug.

2) Deadlift and Press: deadlift, narrow bench press, shoulder lateral.

In addition, I normally do some mix of goodmorning, leg extension, leg curl, hanging leg lift, ab crunch, buttup, oblique lift, straight leg deadlift, Russian twist, various planks, and a few others that escape me at the moment.

This might not seem like a lot, but I'm doing either 2 sets of 25 with a weight that makes me have to rest-pause in the second set (rest-pause from DC training so you take three breaths when you can't go on, then go on), or I'm doing 10 sets of 5 with a weight that makes the last two sets really suck. Overall it's a lot of volume, and is a challenge to recover from when doing daily. Yes, daily.

I prefer doing weights in the morning and recovering over the day. I'll do about 10 to 20 minutes on a stationary bike or elliptical, then go on about to the hour mark with weights.

For real cardio I've been trying to run 3 or more times a week, and I have an incline treadmill that goes up to 40% that I've been walking on at around 1.5 mph or less in mountain boots and pack (a speed that allows me to walk without hanging on or falling off). That gets me about 3,000' per hour pace. I try to do that 4 times a week too.

For fun I'll try to Ice Climb once a week, and indoor rock gym climb once a week. Sometimes more if I'm lucky. I also try to get in one outdoor hill climb if I can.

That's a hectic schedule, and it's slowly evolved into that as I've lost more and more fat and gotten into better and better fitness.

Some tips hints and "secrets".

I've always been good at the "posterior chain" as they say in power lifting parlance. This is the hamstrings and glutes. I'll do deadlifts any day of the week. I hate squats. I hate doing quads. To help focus my squats onto my quads, and help keep the bar up (I have disproportionately long arms and legs, and a short torso) I use a little device called a Manta Ray. It slips onto the bar relatively simply and is great. It helps stabilize the bar, pads your shoulders and keeps the bar higher, which for many people will transfer the motion to your quads. Get one if you're not currently doing bodyweight squats (and if you are doing 2x bodyweight squats, you certainly don't need any advice from me).

If you're older, as I am, you should consider your recovery needs very carefully. I used to ride my bike full throttle 30 miles a day 365 days a year 25 years ago. I can't do that now. You also should protect your joints. Find supplements and topical substances that work for you. Also, please do yourself a favor and avoid the trendy dynamic motion olympic lift stuff that's fading in popularity with each passing moment. Leave that to the 24 year olds trying to recapture their high school youthfulness. If you do a movement or motion that results in any level of joint pain, stop immediately. Rest that joint for a few days and see what movement does work. It might take a lot of trial and error.

I recommend three books.
"New Rules of Lifting" - Back when I had an ISSA personal trainer certification, I met Alwyn at a seminar and talked to him at length. He's a great coach, motivator, knows his stuff, and he's a real survivor. Seriously. This is good basic simple stuff.

"Starting Strength" - More basics. Getting stronger is basic. If you were ever curious about the correct way to stand and move during the most basic common traditional strength exercises, this is it. Don't quibble over silly nuances like some powerlifter coaches will do. Perfect this then find your own path.

"Keys to the Inner Universe" - And if you want to know every single last thing there is to know, beyond the basics. Way beyond the basics - this is the book. Thousands of weight training ideas. Something in this book will work for you. Spend the rest of your life trying them all.

These, again, are my first recommendations for three books you should have in your library if you're serious about training with weights. I'll probably post a few more thoughts and updates as I get closer to Aconcagua, and beyond as I prepare for the next adventure. If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please feel free to share.