Preparing for a big mountain trip takes more than just endurance training. The APT Mountain Performance Program utilizes an integrated approach to develop all areas of athletic performance. The level of athletic ability is one of the biggest variables that determines success in the backcountry that can be controlled. The Mountain Performance Program applies evidence based training techniques to build tougher, faster and stronger athletes while helping prevent injuries from overtraining. The components of an integrated performance program include:
- Flexibility: Having the ability to move without restriction is critical for all athletes. Lack of flexibility can cause imbalances that lead to injuries if uncorrected. All APT programs incorporate a combination of SMR (self-myofascial release), static, active and dynamic stretching to improve posture, enhance mobility and reduce the risk of injury.
- Endurance Training: A professional endurance program assesses your current level of fitness and goals to develop a training plan that progresses you safely. Frequency, duration, intensity and type of activity all have an effect on the energy system being trained. Let us take care of the variables to make sure you are developing the endurance you need for your goals.
- Strength Training: Strength training includes core training, balance training, plyometrics, SAQ (speed, agility and quickness) and resistance training. APT designs strength training programs that develop the stabilizer muscles (helps prevent injuries), build strength and finally develop power.
- Performance Nutrition: How you fuel your workouts can make or break your performance. Performance nutrition can enhance an athletes performance by structuring the types of food, when the food is eaten and how much is consumed. A proper performance nutrition program can delay fatigue, speed recovery by replenishing muscle energy stores, strengthen the immune system and maximize strength gains from a training program.
- Professional Coaching: A well designed performance training program needs to address many goals such as preventing injury, optimizing body composition (decreasing body fat percentage and/or increasing lean body mass), and increase athletic performance by improving flexibility, strength and endurance.
Developing an annual mountaineering training plan is the first step in effective program design for the year and/or preparation for a single specific event. Periodization is breaks the year down into periods of around 4 weeks (mesocycles). Following a structured training program will help prepare athletes for the unpredictable nature of the mountain environment.
- Foundation Phase: The foundation phase focuses on developing the fundamentals of flexibility, strength and endurance. The focus of the foundation phase is to build your endurance, or the ability to continuously exercise for long durations at low to moderate intensities. The primary endurance goal is to establish consistency and get the body accustomed to moving on a regular basis. Strength training focuses developing stabilization endurance by increasing joint stability and muscular endurance. Strength Endurance Training improves muscular endurance and prepares athletes for increased training loads required in upcoming training. This period usually lasts 4-8 weeks depending on the athlete.
- Base Phase: Base training focuses on developing the aerobic system. Strength Endurance Training develops joint stability while building muscular endurance. Maximal Strength Training improves muscular endurance and maximal strength by changing tempo, sets, reps, intensity and rest intervals. Power training can also be a valuable period depending on the athletes ability and specific training goal. The Base Period lasts 12-20 weeks.
- Build Phase: The primary goal of the build period is to transfer the gains made during the base period to prepare for a specific goal. The build period focuses on preparing the athlete for specific demands of the upcoming event. The training takes into account how many hours you will be moving, mileage, elevation gain and loss, pack weight, altitude, type of terrain. The focus is on developing specific endurance for the upcoming trip. The build period lasts 4-8 weeks.
- Tapering: The taper phase backs off training volume to consolidate the gains made during the build phase. The taper phase lasts 2-3 weeks for A priority events (main goals for the year).
- Peak: The goal of the training program is to arrive at the event in the best shape of your life!
- Recovery: A recovery phase is important to allow a few weeks of rest after an intense training program. At the end of any big training cycle, it is best to take a few weeks off from structured training to allow the body and mind to rest and recover. The recovery period lasts 2-4 weeks depending on the intensity of the training preparation and event.