Core & Lung Power | Prevent Injury
BUILD LUNG POWER
Want to turbo up the steeps? The key is interval training—short, intense bursts of aerobic activity. Add one or two interval sessions per week (with at least one rest day in between) to your normal, moderate-intensity exercise. Veteran adventure racer Jenny Hadfield suggests this killer routine (“Walk Faster,” 9/04). The workout Warm up for 10 minutes with jogging or jumping jacks, then run hard for three minutes—on an intensity scale of one to 10, shoot for an eight. Recover by walking for three minutes. Start with four reps and build gradually to eight.
Iron out your core By fortifying your abs, hips, and back, you can carry heavy loads easily. The exercise Lie on your belly, then pop onto your elbows and toes. Hold this “plank” pose for five breaths and lower (eight to 12 reps, three sets). Variation Work the obliques: Rotate 180 degrees up into a sideplank (elbow straight under shoulder).
Sculpt 3-D legs Train in multiple planes with “around the clock” lunges, so you can handle uneven terrain. The exercise Lunge forward with your right foot into the 12 o’clock position. Then lunge to 1:00 (your torso and left leg still face noon). Travel around the face until 6:00 (a backward lunge). Switch to your left foot, and go clockwise from 6 to noon. Do four sets; weighted pack optional.
Go the distance To amp up cardio endurance, mimic Ed Viesturs’ workout (“Climb Like Ed,” 10/05): Do five 30- to 75-minute aerobic workouts (running, power-hiking) a week. Stuck in a gym? Hit a stair climber with a weighted pack (start with 10 pounds and build to trip weight or five pounds more).
Beef up your lower back To prevent aches in your lumbar region, tone the muscles with the Superman. The exercise Lie on your belly, then lift your legs, chest, and arms off the ground. Hold this arched, crescent position for 30 seconds. Repeat three times.
Get explosive strength Nothing beats squats. Wearing a weighted pack, stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Lower until thighs are parallel with floor; keep your spine straight. Do three sets of six to 12 reps. Variation From the squat, jump as high as possible; bend your legs as you land.
Cure outer-knee pain This common affliction often results from a tight, irritated iliotibial (IT) band, which runs along the thigh. The stretch After warming up, slide the right leg behind the left; bend left at the waist. Hold for 20 seconds three times on each side. Also, build the glutes to promote proper hip alignment (try one-legged squats).
Core & Lung Power | Prevent Injury
Prevent shin splints These sharp pains often arise from overtraining. Treat Walk on your heels, toes pointed up, for 90 seconds or more; then stretch by pulling your toes into a pointed position for 30 seconds. Do three sets. Stretch your calves, too: Stand on a flat rock and let your heels hang down.
Banish blisters Should you pop? We settled this hot-button topic in April 2001. Yes, except for burn blisters. Here’s how Clean the blister, and puncture it with a sterilized pin. Cut a slit at the base, and massage out the fluid; leave the skin flap in place. Dab on antibiotic cream. Cut a donut-shaped piece of moleskin, place it over the blister, and cover it with another moleskin piece; secure with tape. Prevent Wear boots that fit (toes should wiggle and heels shouldn’t slip), keep feet dry with wicking socks (synthetic or wool), and rub Sportslick or Bodyglide on problem areas. If a hot spot develops, tape it ASAP.
Treat muscle cramps The culprits: dehydration, fatigue, and low electrolytes, resulting in a sustained contraction. Treat Straighten the cramped muscle; stretch and rub it. At the same time, contract the opposing muscle. So if your hamstring spasms, contract your quads. Also, quaff a sports drink.
End ankle rolls Improve balance and foot strength by doing the squats or lunges above with your eyes closed. Or while brushing your teeth, stand on one foot, eyes closed. To make your arch more supple, roll one sock-clad foot atop a golf ball for one minute. Eventually, you’ll be able to do this while standing.
Get that man a kilt
To decrease pack weight, Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Dorn suggested, “Go commando. You’ll be cooler, drier, and less stinky” (12/02). When asked to recant, he dug a deeper hole: “TP x 5 days = 5 oz. Use snow!” Note to boss: TMI, dude.