Gym workouts

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing

I get a lot of inquires about what kind of gym workouts I recommend to help get in shape for the Half Dome hike. The first question is “what do you do now?” Doctors recommend 3 to 5 days per week of strenuous exercise for 30-45 minutes. Strenuous means a heart rate about 80% of your maximum calculated heart rate and “grunting” when you do strength training. Always split your time into Cardio, Weights and Stretching. 30 mins each is a good goal. Then shower (phew). Today we visit the Stair Stepper or its cousin, the Stairmaster.

After a 5 min jogging warm up, work up to a level 10 for about 20 mins. Stand up straight and don’t hunch over putting all your body weight on your arms. Lightly hold onto the bars for balance – not support. But remember this will do nothing for your shins – you need the downhill workout that only reality hill hiking can give. But this is a good workout.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “We want to pump YOU up.” – Hans and Franz, Saturday Night Live skit.

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –


2 Responses to “Gym workouts”

  1. BellaBike Says:

    Our training workouts include:

    For general hiking strength & agility: footwork on the Bosu ball. Bosu is a half-ball filled with gel. We stand on the Bosu, holding 15lb. handweights and march in place with HIGH steps. 1 minute marching, 1 minute rest – repeat 5 times. We have 3 other step routines we do with the Bosu – it’s great for improving your balance & agility.

    For those steps on sub-dome, you need hip flexor work: set the bar of a Smith machine down to knee level. Lift one leg directly over the bar, touch the floor and return. 20 reps, each leg. If that’s too easy, add an ankle weight. Don’t throw you leg out to one side to get over the bar – go straight forward & back, like a horse pawing the ground.

    Pulling up the cables requires upper back strength. Use the lat-row & lat-pull down machines. For arm strength do lots of bicep curls & tricep extensions.

    Uphill hiking uses the big musles in your haunches: do LOTS of squats. One we like is to set up a plastic step with 3-4 risers. Put a weighted bar on your shoulders (like having a backpack). Standing at one end of the step, step sideways up onto the platform, squatting as you go. Then do a wide squat the full width of the step, then step sideways into a squat, off the platform. Back & forth for 2 minutes, then rest.

    Uphill hiking also uses shins & calfs: JUMP ROPE!! It’s excellent for building calf, ankle, shin & foot strength. Jump for 1 minute, then rest 1 minute. Repeat 5 times.

    We also do a lot of exercises with adjustable straps called TRX equipment, but not many gyms have them installed.

    Still….those cables are scary!!

  2. Dean Says:

    Think how scary it would be without the cables… ;o)

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