Mountaineering is not only one of the most dangerous sports in the world but also one of the most physically demanding. When you are in the alpine you are putting yourself through environmental extremes and taxing your body to the limit. From my experiences in the alpine, you can never be too fit.
But getting fit is not just about doing more training. Although a cliche, it is a fact that one must train smarter, not harder. As we get older this is even more true. When we are in our 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s we can’t just smash out huge kilometres on the bike or the treadmill – we must really think about how our training is structured.
And the fact of the matter is, if you are a mountaineer, and you don’t take EVERYTHING seriously, particularly your fitness, then dying on a mountain is a distinct possibility. I myself was badly injured on a mountain, and I believe it was because I neglected a good stretching or yoga regime.
Training for the New Alpinism (TNA) is a book that can really help an individual with their mountaineering training. In fact its one of, if not the best book I’ve ever read on the topic (and I’ve read a lot of books).
TNA covers a wide range of topics in good depth. From Endurance, Nutrition, skills and even the mental aspect are covered. The book is not, however, a “how to climb and be a mountaineer” type of book. Principles of training are covered in great depth such as how long and often one should train.
TNA expresses the guiding principles “Continuity, Gradualness and Modulation”, which underpins the success of any successful training program.
Specificity is another aspect that is discussed in the book. I remember one of my first personal trainers used to say to people “If you want to be a cyclist, then ride a bike!”. Specificity is so important for the Alpine. To succeed, you need to train the muscles that you will use!
The best thing I got from this book though, was the section on heart rate training zones. Reading that section changed my whole approach to training for the mountains. I realised that I had been training far too intensely, at too high a heart rate. This changed everything for me. I’d have bought the book for that section alone. After putting what I learnt from that section into practise, I found that I had less injuries and far more endurance than I’d ever had with my over indulgence of HIIT.
So in summary, Training for the New Alpinism is one of the most amazing books on fitness that you’ll ever have the good fortune to read. To be honest, you don’t even have to be a mountaineer to enjoy what it has to offer. But if you are a mountaineer, you’ll find a cornucopia of information available for you which could potentially save your life, or at least make your experience in the mountains more enjoyable.
The book is available for electronic download or paper, and averages an outstanding 4.8/5 stars which is very impressive.
Amazing book, loved it!