GEC Himalayas Training Program

Trekking in Nepal, Annapurna Region and Everest Region


Preparation for Trekking in Himalayas

Trekking consist of a series of day hikes linked together with overnight stays in huts, inns, or local bed and breakfasts. They range from beginner multi-day desert tours or daily hikes to advanced multi-week high-altitude treks. Gear carried daily is limited to lunch, snacks, camera, water, and clothing for the day’s weather. Trekking is generally more taxing than hiking, requiring repeat endurance efforts with minimal recovery.

Trekking requires cardiovascular endurance (via aerobic training), strength endurance (through strength conditioning), and hiking-specific training (via hiking with a pack). Being in strong physical shape is one of the most important aspects for success on a high altitude trek. During your training, you should be planning to progressively ramp up your speed, duration (time or mileage), and pack weight of weekly training hikes to give you hiking-specific conditioning that cannot be matched by any other sort of training.


Training Overview

Training for Hiking, Trekking and Backpacking is usually going to involve a combination of training for specific fitness qualities, doing sport specific outings and practicing sport required skill elements. There are five major fitness qualities your general training should focus on for Hiking, Trekking and Backpacking. Those qualities are:

• Aerobic Endurance
• Anaerobic Endurance
• Upper Body Strength
• Lower Body Strength
• Flexibility

Cardiovascular Conditioning

Suggested activities include running, walking on an inclined treadmill, doing stair stepping or stepmill training, trail running, working on an elliptical machine, walking up and down hills, or participating in step aerobic classes. While biking, rowing and swimming are cardiovascular options for the off-season or earliest stages of your training, be sure as you get closer to your expedition that you include predominantly spinal-loading cardiovascular exercise such as any of the activities mentioned above.
When embarking on a cardiovascular training program for such a trek, be sure to include at least three to four sessions of 30 minutes of sustained activity at a moderate intensity, and build to four to six aerobic sessions of sustained effort for at least 45-60 minutes each. Be sure to include a 5-10 minute gentle warm-up before working at your target heart rate for the day (for most workouts, choose a level of exertion that allows you to connect a few words together in a phrase, but leaves you feeling comfortably tired at the end of the workout), and cool down with 5-10 minutes of appropriate stretching of the muscles you use most in your activity, including lower back, calves, hamstrings, hips and quadriceps.Training with free weights, bands, a backpack, bodyweight exercises, or gym machines will help you build overall strength, particularly in the core (lower back and abdominals), upper back, and legs. Developing strength in your upper back and shoulders will help you with such tasks as carrying a pack and using trekking poles effectively. The calves, hips, quads, hamstrings and glutes are all involved in ascending and descending trekking routes, and strength endurance is required in all areas of the legs and hips.

Strength Conditioning

Training primarily with free weights will give you the functional, trekking-specific strength that will help you most in the mountains. Free weight-training requires that you balance the weights as you would your own body, weighted with a pack, in three-dimensional space. When starting any strength conditioning program, complete two full-body strength workouts a week for 30-45 minutes each, focusing on compound exercises such as squats, lunges, step-ups, dips, pull-ups, rows, dead lifts, bench presses, pushups, and overhead presses. In the beginning phase of strength conditioning, your focus will be building a foundation for harder workouts; to that end, keep the weight light enough to concentrate on good form and complete 2 sets of each exercise for 12-15 repetitions. As you continue to train, you will shift focus to building strength, strength endurance, and mental and physical stamina; each phase varies the weight used, repetitions completed, number of sets, and rest interval. Most important in strength training is to be sure you maintain proper form at all times in order to prevent injury or strain.

Trekking Conditioning

Hike steep outdoor trails, gradually increasing your pack weight with each outing until you are at your target trekking pack weight. A reasonable goal would be to ascend 2,000 to 2,500 feet carrying an average pack of 15-20kg in a 2 hour period, or roughly 1,000 vertical feet in an hour. A good training option for pack weight is to carry water in gallon containers or collapsible jugs, so you can dump water at the top as needed, to lighten the load for the descent. In early season, you might include hikes that gain up to 1,500 elevation over 6-8 miles round trip and carry a light day pack; each hike try adding a few pounds until you are comfortable with a 20 kg pack, then begin increasing the total elevation gain, speed, and mileage. When you can gain 3,500 feet with a 20 kg pack, start decreasing rest breaks and drop the last 5 pounds of pack weight so that you can work on increasing speed. Recommended Broga & Gunung Nuang)

Altitude Training

One training technique that is useful for high altitude climbing is to include interval training in your weekly program. To do this, find a steep hill (Melawati Hill) or sets of stairs (Batu Caves or Condo) that will allow you to climb steadily for several minutes. Push as hard as you can while you go up, then recover coming down, and repeat for anywhere from 30-45 minutes. For hill walks, add weight to your pack on a regular basis until you can carry 15 pounds the whole time. Since you will be spending a number of days above 11,000 elevation on this trek, include as many hikes or climbs above 8,000 as you can to see how your body responds.

Flexibility and Injury Prevention

Pack carrying athletes carry additional weight for long stretches of uphill and downhill travel; they also may use trekking poles and walk for several days, or in some cases, weeks in a row. The muscles that get particularly tight when hiking include calves, hips, trapezius, quadriceps, and lower back muscles. The calves tighten during long uphill climbs. The hips and trapezius will feel tired and sore if your backpack is loaded unevenly or if you add weight before they have adapted to previous loads. Descents overload the quadriceps.

Our Goal…Annapurna Base Camp




Batu Caves – 2 times a week (4 – 6 round each times)
Gasing Hill – One time per week (1 – 1.5 hour long trek)
Gym training – 2 times a week (Cardio and strength work out). Start slowly and increase the pace of cardio work out and the distance for endurance training. Recommended to refer to your personal trainer.


Batu Caves – 2 times a week ( 6 – 8 rounds each time)
Gasing Hill – One time per week (2 hour long trek)
Gym training – 2 times a week (Cardio and strength work out). Push to the maximum of your ability. Recommended to refer to your personal trainer.

MARCH 2015 (First 3 weeks)

Batu Caves – 2 times a week ( 8 -12 rounds each time)
Gasing Hill – One / Two times per week (2 hour long trek)
Gym training – 2 times a week (Cardio and strength work out). Push to the maximum of your ability. Recommended to refer to your personal trainer.

MARCH 2015 (Final week)

Batu Caves – 2 times a week (8 -12 rounds each time)
Gasing Hill – One / Two times per week ( 2 hour long trek)
Gym training – 2 times a week (Cardio and strength work out). Continue but reduce the work-out to 75% to allow for recovery but still stay active with strength training.

APRIL 2015 ( 1st Week)

Batu Caves – 1 time a week (8 – 10 rounds each time). Recommended last Batu caves training on 2nd April.
Gasing Hill – One time per week ( 1 hour long trek). Recommended last training 2-3 days before flight to Nepal.
Gym training – 2 times a week (Cardio and strength work out). Continue but reduce the work-out to 50% to allow for recovery but stay active.