Training Tuesdays: Mountain Athletics Week 4

Falling on the ground after 800 crushing weighted step ups I question every choice I’ve ever made. After having completed 4 weeks of the Mountain Athletics Alpine Climbing training program I have a new appreciation for dedication to a training program. In the face of holidays, family, feasts, work, relationships there are so many “outs” to fall back on when it would be so easy to give up. Success only comes through dedication. And with lofty goals sitting in the forefront I know I can’t afford to slack off. Rest days are quickly turning into climbing days as we inch closer to waterfall ice season. I’m cautious of overtraining but still want to be ready for anything. As Mark Twight says in Extreme Alpinism “The harder you are to kill, the longer you will last in the mountains.”


Below you will find what was involved in the second two weeks of this program. For those that aren’t interested in the nitty gritty daily report here is a quick summary. Two days a week Sandbag getups & Weighted stepups, Two days a week Bouldering & core or lunges. For those that are read between the lines.

I was asked by a reader to include some videos of the exercises used in this program. Until I have time to put together a couple of videos I’ve included the stock Mountain Athletics videos for your enjoyment.


Day 15: Hard day of weighted stepups. I can’t believe how much stronger I feel already.
50 x sandbag getups @ 35lbs
700 weighted stepups @45lb pack


Day 16: These “Easy” days are starting to pick up. Small shoulder tweak at the end of the the added boulder session. Might have to cut back on overdoing these workouts.
2 rounds
4 x 30 second intervals continuous bouldering
3 x 7 iron mikes


Day 17: “recovery” runs are ramping up. A bit worried this is going to escalate quickly.
2.5 mile run

Day 18: I have never sweat this much in my life.
55 sandbag get ups @35lbs
750 weighted step ups @45lbs


Day 19: easyish day, supplemented with self-rescue technique practice / instruction from a guide friend of ours.
2 rounds
4x continuous bouldering intervals @30 seconds
3x three limb bridge @15 seconds


2 rest days (The second rest day included a hard day of Dry tooling. Our impatiance with the ice on the east coast of Canada has led us to resort to climbing overhanging cracks on tools like a bunch of chumps)
Completed week 3

Day 22: Hard day of step ups, call me Mr. Sweaty. However I did notice a massive strength and aerobic endurance difference hiking to the dry tooling cliff. So excited for the season.
60 sandbag get ups @35lbs
800 weighted step ups @45lbs

Day 23: Easy day at the climbing gym. Supplimented with hard bouldering and ropes.
2 rounds
4 x 30 second intervals continuous bouldering
3 x 8 iron mikes


Day 24: I appear to be starting a cold. All the literature says to take rest to avoid lengthening the time I’m out with poor performance. Nope – I’m going to learn the hard way.
Recovery run 2.5miles

Day 25: traveling to meet the family + the onset of a cold nearly kicks me off my game. Get in the hard day of step ups at 10PM with makeshift equipment.
65 sandbag getups @25lbs
850 weighted step ups @35lbs

Day 26: After nearly a month I missed my first day of training. Traveling with the family for 12 hours + Christmas dinner made it impossible to get 30 min to get to the gym. Probably best to get an extra rest day for this cold to subside. The gym currently available to me doesn’t have a bouldering wall so I substituted as below.
2 rounds
4 x 30 second intervals (alternating chin-ups / dips)
3 x 15 second intervals 3 limb bridge

2 rest days: I only take one to recover for the missed day earlier in the week. Still on track!



What program are you undergoing? Where have you seen the most improvements? How do you make your program work with kids / dogs / work / family to attend to? We love your feedback!

4 thoughts on “Training Tuesdays: Mountain Athletics Week 4

  1. I am well behind you James, and it is a sufferfest to get through 650 stepups at week two. Glad to know what Ihave to look forward to… Good work!

    1. Hi Jimmy, I’ve been travelling around the past few weeks so depending on what I have access to it changes. Typically from 12 to 18 inches. Started out with 24 and noticed knee pain after a couple of workouts. Have you tried any of these workouts?

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