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October 2005

Mountaineering Fitness: Climb Like Ed

Got summit fever? The sky's the limit with a fitness plan and climbing tips from world-class mountaineer Ed Viesturs.


90° Flexion With Twist

From a standing position, hold a medicine ball out in front of you and bend forward from your hips until your back is parallel to the floor. Do not let the ball touch the floor. Keeping your back straight, your abs in, and your arms extended, raise the ball as far as you can to one side; hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. “This exercise works the traverse abdominis, a difficult core muscle to get to because it’s deep inside the body,” says Liljeblad. “It also exercises the erector spinae (lower back) and oblique muscles.” All come into play during the awkward motions involved in steep scrambling and pack-hauling.

GOAL: 4 sets


Ball Twist

Stand tall with your abs tight, holding a ball out in front of you at chest height. Slowly twist side to side from the waist for 60 seconds; do not swing the ball. Works the back, shoulder, and oblique muscles.

GOAL: 2 sets



One-Legged Squat

Stand on one leg, with your other leg extended out in front of you, toes pointed. Squat back as low as you can, but don’t let the knee of your standing leg extend beyond your toes. Eventually, the toes of your extended leg will touch the ground in front of you. Rise and repeat, touching the ground to the side and then in back of you. “Almost every step with a heavy pack on is an exercise in balance,” says Liljeblad. “This trains balance in various position, plus builds leg strength.”

GOAL: 2 sets for each leg

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