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How to Train for Mt. Everest

Many people spend decades training to climb Mt. Everest — that's how difficult it is! Between the incredibly high altitudes, deep snow, steep climbs, heavy packs, and challenging living conditions, climbing the world's tallest mountain is no joke!

One climber, Alan Arnette, shares his training regimen on his blog, and you'll find it's one of the most intense, grueling workout plans around. Every climber has their own way to get in Everest shape, but here's what he did to prepare.

Low-Intensity Training

With mountain climbing, endurance is far more important than strength. This means training at very low intensities. Whether you jog, walk, cycle, or use the elliptical, you should strive for 2-4 hours of training at no more than 65 percent Max HR. This will get your body accustomed to burning glucose and fat for energy over long periods.

Climbers will often take long hikes carrying 40-pound packs, and they'll run 8 to 10 miles once a week to increase aerobic capacity. Real-world training (climbing, hiking, running, etc.) is more effective in this case than training in the gym.

Endurance Training

Once again, muscular endurance trumps strength! This means training with low loads (30 to 50 percent 1-Rep Max weight), but performing lots of sets and reps. Climbers need long, lean muscles that don't add a lot of body weight. This is developed through endurance training: low load, high volume.

Your legs should get most of the focus, as they'll be doing the work of climbing, supporting the weight of your heavy pack, and walking up steep inclines. Don't neglect your calves like so many climbers and resistance trainers do. Spend plenty of time building the calf muscles — they'll come in very necessary when climbing.

Core Training

A climber's strength comes mostly from their legs, but their core plays a huge role in keeping them going. A strong core is vital for carrying the heavy packs, tackling steep hills, and keeping control of their limbs as they attempt vertical climbs.

Both dynamic and static exercises can help to improve core strength. At least 25 percent of your resistance training should be focused on strengthening your back, abs, and obliques.

Hypoxic Training

Considering that a lot of your climbing will be done at high altitudes with less oxygen, you should spend time training in low-oxygen conditions. This is known as hypoxic training, involving either working out in special vacuum rooms that have the oxygen levels reduced, or simply training in locations at high altitudes. Either way, this form of training will accustom your body to exertion at higher altitudes, preparing you for tackling the climb.

Training to climb Mt. Everest isn't something you can do in a few weeks or months; it takes years to get in the right shape to challenge this mountain. However, with the above training methods, you can get in Everest shape and push your body until you're ready to take on the climb!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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