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Updated: Apr 26

Here are some fundamental steps for training and getting fit for adventure. Get these right and you'll soon be on track to achieving your goals!

Set Your Goal

Goals must be measurable; such as run up Snowdon in 1hr. Mountaineering and climbing goals can often be hard to make measurable. I often find something that is repeatable such as a hike which can be measured with time and distance. Or for climbing it may be using a training apparatus such as fingerboard. That fitness can then be transferred to the specific goal such as climbing 7a sport.

If the goal is to climb Everest which isn't very measurable, I would set myself a hike which is more local which requires similar skills to tackle. Such as in mountaineering boots hike up a 900m peak carrying 20kg. This test can then be repeated to check for improvements and compare fitness levels along your training journey.

Summiting Island Peak in Nepal
Island Peak

How do you train for mountains?

Mountain fitness requires a lot of cardiovascular and endurance training because big mountains often require long days. The faster you are at walking and climbing the better your performance will be and enjoyment of any mountain challenge.

Cardiovascular training can include running, hiking, swimming, cycling. These activities are often done at a low intensity but over a longer period of time.

Strength training is also a great way to improve fitness and performance. Building strength is often approached with weight training or resistance. This type of training is usually completed at a higher intensity level but for shorter amounts of time.

Establish your current fitness level

This can be setting starting by using one of the tests above. You may not know your current time for hiking up Snowdon which can be very measurable. This is your specific test

Then I like to include a generic strength test - The exercises included in this test will require similar muscle groups and be the start for understanding which strength exercises are best to focus on. Such as for climbing I may do a pull up test; how many pull ups you can do in 2 minutes.

For mountain endurance you may do how many box step ups you can do in 10 minutes with 30kg. For these tests it is possible to get creative but as long as the test links back to your training or main goal. IE for a swimming goal you would not include how many deadlifts you can do in 5 minutes. It's not specific to the goal or going to be a fundamental part of the training.

Finally if strength training is going to be a key part of your training I would include funding out what your 1 rep max is for lifting a weight. This can be very instance for the non-trained athlete so it may be more feasible to find out what you 3-5 rep max is. Make sure that your techinque is good before attempting anything like this. Also if you don't strength train it is best to do this with a professional to help you not cause injury.

Knowing your 1 rep max will help you find a starting weight for rep ranges and sets.

Climbing training at the boulder hut in Ellesmere Port
Training for adventure

Create your training plan

Set a timescale - how many times per week you can train and what you're going to spend that time doing.


  • Consistency trumps volume and intensity anytime

  • Keep it specific (Will this exercise or volume help you achieve your goal?)

  • Keep it simple; Don't try and do too much. Often doing less is doing more in training. Keep it specific and consistent.

  • Go back to your tests every few months and check for improvement. If you plateau then you may need to switch things up

  • Don't forget the end goal

  • Remember to rest! Rest is just important as training. Make time for it

Climbing in Ogwen valley North Wales
Climbing in North Wales

For a range of training plans to improve your performance check out our training services here

Have fun


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