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Training to Go Down the Mountain

Tips, tricks, workouts, injury advice.

Training to Go Down the Mountain

Postby Flux » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:34 pm

I've got the going up part down pretty darn well, but when it comes time to turn and head for home I seem to run into some real difficulty. My legs seem to weaken rapidly and my knees really begin to ache. I have started using trekking poles and this seems to help some for sure but it is not the true answer.

I know that descending a mounting uses a much different set of muscles than the act climbing a mountain. I imagine I really need to strengthen my Quads (which in turn will help my knees I am assuming).

Can anybody share some knowledge and training techniques that one might use to help strenthen their legs and knees for the descent? I've never been much of a gym rat so I'm looking at ways to improve outside of just lifting some weights.

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Postby bird » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:55 pm

Crossfit.com :D
Actually my legs were extremely sore after a 7,000 foot one day descent, but I had enough to make it without too much suffering. Training eccentric movements is tough.
One thing, don't think about "training your quads". This will get you in trouble. The body is a system designed to work together. If you "train your quads" in isolation, you'll just screw up something else.
Obviously going up and down hills is good, you're in Denver so that's easy. In addition, practice "air squats". Use a full range of motion.
Work your core. Stay off the damn weight machines. Body weight and free weights are good. Look at www.mtnathlete.com Good stuff there.
Sort of rambling. If you give some more details about your training and goals, I'd be happy to give you some suggestions.
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Postby Hyadventure » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:19 pm

The real problem is what trains you best for going down hill, is ”going down hill”. Unfortunately too much “going down hill” leads to injuries. I’ve added few steep trail runs to my workout regime from 1 to 4 weeks before peak bagging trips and it really seamed to help on my last two trips. I’ll bet that doing more peak bagging would help too. Past that, a little vitamin I before descent and trekking poles will help too.
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Postby Alamkuh » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:25 pm

Should try yourself how good ...
If you see someone proposed damage may not be helpful to you ...
Best regards
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Postby 96avs01 » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:43 pm

got any big buildings around? take the stairs down from the top floor, uses very similar muscles. i work on the 19th floor and use the stairs to ground level several times a day, makes a very noticeable difference.

or you could always learn to ski/snowboard and not have to worry about it :twisted:
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Postby Alamkuh » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:26 pm

DMT you going Barefoot in the mountains? :shock:
Description No. 1 was appropriate because I am using this method ... :wink:
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Postby Gak Icenberg » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:42 pm

try wrapping the knees it may help absorb some of the shock and spinning on a cycle will help to build the aducter and abducter muscles in the legs and lube the knee joints up. cheers....Gak
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Postby nattfodd » Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:27 pm

Very interesting, Dingus, I was trying to start doing some barefoot running but wasn't sure people actually did it on mountain trails. I really enjoy being barefoot as much as possible, in the crags and elsewhere, and think it helps with precision footing and putting less stress on my joints.

I am interested in your experience. Did you do it on "real" approaches, with pack on, or only on light training hikes? And how did you go about strengthening soles enough that the bettered stance benefits outweighed the pains, especially on sharp loose rocks.
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Postby bodyresults » Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:16 am

In my experience with many people that had knee pain on mountain descents, many of them had muscle imbalances. It’s not uncommon for people to have a relatively weak inside quad muscle (vastus medialis) compared to the outside quad muscle (vastus lateralis).

During the descent the inside quad gets tired and the outside quad starts pulls the knee out of track. This type of imbalance can develop from not using enough range of motion during squats and other quad dominant exercises.

To overcome this type of imbalance strengthening the inside quad is the key. However it’s not easy to focus on this muscle without outside quad muscle taking over.

One exercise that has worked well for this is the reverse step-up (also called Petersen Step-up). You basically are stepping up backward on a relatively low step (6-12 inches depending on strength). The key on this exercise is to go slow on controlled both up and down.

I have a good article on my site describing this along with a youtube video. The article can be found at http://www.bodyresults.com/e2kneetest.asp
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Postby Snowslogger » Fri Sep 18, 2009 4:46 am

A couple ideas: lunges (slow and in control), slow motion step up and step down on a stair. Maybe squats. Careful not to overdo the lunges, I find they can be a little hard on the knees. Check out the bodyresults stuff also.
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Postby Flux » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:10 pm

Thanks for the replies everybody - some good info that I'll be putting to use for sure.
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Postby xDoogiex » Fri Sep 18, 2009 7:00 pm

Going to the great smokey mountains and Mt. Mitchell in like 3 days and was hoping to find out this info.
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