|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – February 2006
4 indoor workouts that'll keep you outdoors-ready
Here's a New Year's resolution: Enter spring fitter than you left summer. That's the idea behind the cold-weather workouts below, created by exercise physiologist and Runner's World contributor Budd Coates. "Stay sport-specific during indoor training, and you'll be ready for the trail," says Coates. Best way to do that? Get on the treadmill and stair climber. "These machines allow you to move the mountains inside," explains Coates, who's trained countless hikers, runners, and cyclists over his 25 years as Rodale's fitness director. Build your weekly regimen around these workouts (do one per machine each week). Start and end with a 10-minute warm-up/cooldown and stretch. Total workout times include warm-up and cooldown.
Altitude Climb "By gradually changing the pitch of the treadmill, you mimic the cardio-vascular challenge of a climb," says Coates. Keeping a brisk but conversational hiking pace, increase the incline setting every 5 minutes, from 5 to 9, 12, then 15 for a 40-minute session (or use the preprogrammed climb). When you can complete the workout comfortably, increase each interval by 2 minutes (48 minutes), then by 5 (60 minutes).
Rolling Hills Keeping your pace constant, perform two sets of 2-minute intervals at inclines of 4, 10, then 7 percent, followed by a 2-minute recovery at zero grade (or use the pre-programmed hills workout). When you can finish feeling strong, increase the incline to 6, 15, then 10 percent, or increase your pace by about 20 to 30 seconds.
Big Slog To emphasize quad and glute strength-and best mimic a long, steady hill climb-set the machine on a slow enough level so that each "step" up is about 8 to 10 inches (below). "Those little 2- and 3-inch steps aren't doing your legs any good," says Coates. Find a resistance you can hold for the entire workout. Start with 40 minutes; add 5 minutes every 2 weeks to 60 minutes.
All-Terrain Interval workouts like running hills are among the best ways to improve cardio fitness and leg strength-and both are possible on a stair climber. Increase your level and go hard for 3 minutes (but keep step height at 6 to 8 inches), then recover at a comfortable level for 3 minutes. Repeat three times. Add an interval every 2 weeks until you hit 8.