Mountain Fitness Tips: Hammer Hip and Leg Strength
You may not be a pro skier or climber, but at least you can train like one. Mountain sports coach Rob Shaul and his students share how they prepare for the peaks.
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In the mountains, everything begins with the legs. My pro athletes already have the endurance for long days in the mountains; what they lack is the raw strength to keep them injury-free. We work to build hip and leg strength without significant weight gain by using high loads and low volume. Our favorite all-around hip and leg exercises are classic back squats and loaded walking lunges. —Coach Shaul
ATHLETE: Ben Gilmore, mountain guide and alpinist
MA TRAINING: 4 years
SUCCESS STORY: First ascents in Alaska, New Hampshire, Patagonia, Nepal, Newfoundland, and Arizona.
As a mountain guide, I thought I had strong hips and legs, but Rob’s workouts hammer the lower body even more than climbing the Grand Teton in a day. I used to be plagued with lower back spasms, due to overdeveloped muscles from a life spent rock and mountain climbing. MA’s routines target poorly balanced muscles I barely use, which has drastically reduced the strain on my lower back. That equals less pain and more gain for me in the mountains.