Training for 7 Summits: Exercises Guidelines Following a Balanced Training Program The following guidelines have been recommended by The Cambridge Group of Clubs specifically to train for 7 Summits and are not recommended as a general fitness program. Please consult your doctor before beginning this, or any, exercise program. The Cambridge Group of Clubs recommends a well-rounded training program for 7 Summits which balances cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training. Incorporating activities from all three areas will improve your ability to participate in the event without overstraining or injuring your muscles. It’s a good idea to begin your training program 6 to 8 weeks prior to the event – so if you’ve been putting it off, now’s the time to start! And despite the fact that you are working hard to prepare for that 8,000 stair climb, don’t forget to include one complete rest day (with no training activities) in your workout plan each week. When engaged in a rigorous training program, your body gets fatigued and needs a break. A day without exercise is crucial to rebuild any broken muscle tissue and will improve your performance when you begin your training activities again. Cardiovascular Training Tips Cardiovascular training strengthens your heart and other muscles, raising your endurance level so that you can continue an activity longer. While any aerobic activity will help to get your heart pumping and begin building your endurance, certain types of cardiovascular activities will be more effective than others in helping you strengthen the major muscle groups you’ll need for 7 Summits. Stair Climbing: This is the best cardiovascular training as it mimics the 7 Summits activity and is excellent for building strength in key muscle groups and joints. Running: This is the next best training as it is also a load bearing exercise which strengthens both muscles and joints. Cycling and Elliptical Machine: These may be used to supplement your training program, but should not be used for your primary cardiovascular training activities as neither activity is load bearing and will not strengthen joints. Gradually building up the number, and length, of your cardio training sessions will help keep you from feeling sore after your sessions. To effectively train for an endurance event such as 7 Summits, it’s also a good idea to build in “taper” weeks where you decrease the length of your cardio sessions to give your muscles a rest before you begin increasing the number and duration of the sessions again. An eight week cardio training program for 7 Summits may look something like this: Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 20 mins. 20 mins. 30 mins. 20 mins. 30 mins. 45 mins. 60 mins. 30 mins. 3x / week 4x / week 4x / week 3x / week 5x / week 5x / week 5x / week 2x / week It’s also a good idea to vary your cardiovascular training to combine endurance (a steady rate of perceived exertion of “moderate to hard” is maintained – heart rate at 70% to 80% of maximum), interval (which alternates periods of higher and lower activity for 2 to 5 minute segments) and tempo (a steady rate of perceived exertion of “hard to very hard” is maintained – heart rate at 80% to 90% of maximum) activities. Strength Training Strength training builds lean muscle mass, strength, power and endurance, improving overall physical performance. Strengthening muscles and joints also improves balance and coordination and helps to prevent injuries. Increase the number of repetitions and sets of each strength training exercise gradually. This will reduce the likelihood of feeling sore after your workouts and minimize your chance of injury. Be sure to plan for a rest day between your strength training workouts to give your body a chance to recover and rebuild broken muscle tissues - three strength training sessions a week is plenty. Your strength training program for 7 Summits should focus on the following muscle groups: abdominals, back, quadriceps (thigh muscles) and hamstrings (the back of your legs). Strengthening exercises may be done using training machines at your gym, such as the leg press or leg curl, or with more basic exercises, such as squats and lunges, which use your own body weight as resistance. Talk to a personal trainer about the best strength training exercises to prepare for 7 Summits or follow the strength training program developed by The Cambridge Group of Clubs especially for all Summiteers. Flexibility Training Flexibility training, or stretching, helps maintain your muscles’ range of motion and may reduce the risk of repetitive trauma injuries from cardiovascular and strength training activities. Stretching also eases muscle tension, reducing the risk of soreness and injury, and optimizes performance. Flexibility exercises can, and should, be done everyday as part of your training program. It’s a good idea to spend 10 minutes stretching after both cardiovascular and strength training activities. Stretching releases muscle tension after your training session is completed, reducing the chance that you will feel sore the following day. Aim to hold each stretch for at least 20 seconds to give your muscles enough time to release. If you’re interested in incorporating longer flexibility training sessions into your training program, classes such as yoga, pilates or tai chi are all recommended. Hydration Keeping your body properly hydrated while you exercise will prevent premature fatigue and help you get the most out of your training sessions. You may sip water during moderate exercise, however, during very strenuous exercises (where your rate of perceived exertion is at a “hard” or “very hard” level) it’s a good idea to wait until after your workout is completed to replenish fluid. Injury Prevention Consistent training will build up your body’s resistance to fatigue and improve your endurance. Doing too much, too fast will almost certainly result in injury and slow your progress in training, if not stop it altogether! So be patient, give yourself plenty of training time and build the intensity of your workouts gradually. Consult your doctor if you feel unwell or have any concerns. Injury Recovery If you’ve pushed too hard and injured yourself, stop what you are doing immediately and rest the injured area. Visit your doctor to rule out anything serious, and proceed only with the recommendation of a medical professional. Gentle exercises, such as using lighter weights and stretching, will keep the blood flowing to the affected area so that it will heal more quickly.