Hiking hills and mountain climbing - good for aerobic fitness?

What sort of zones do you guys go into when you’re doing this sort of thing? Anyone had HR data they’ve looked at while hiking or climbing for hours?

Hiking and mountain climbing are very good for aerobic fitness. For me, I’d guess if my HR gets into a high Z3 range, it stops being hiking and turns into a run, regardless of pace. I’ve never recorded HR but if I can’t catch my breath, then I’m going too fast. If you’re hiking under a load, it also has a great strength element since you’re essentially doing loaded step ups to the top and working eccentric strength on the way down. Anything that elevates your HR for multiple hours is going to build an aerobic base for you. However, I would not expect hiking to do much to raise your FTP without actually doing any bike work.

In my case I have a busy year and can’t dedicate my time to a full season because of a hectic schedule but I’m working on my aerobic fitness by following the low volume plans, and supporting the “off” days with other activities (hiking/running) to help with that aerobic base and just accepting I won’t see dramatic changes in FTP.

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I’m going to try it. Hike for a few hours with my HRM on and see what numbers come up.

So basically you’re saying that anything that puts your HR up will develop an aerobic base. That’s excellent. Means I could do other things instead of endurance rides and still work on my base, if I’m reading it right :smiley:

Is this why you hear of cyclists doing cross country skiing in winter? Because they know they’re doing base work?

Essentially yes. If all you’re concerned about is the base than you can do almost whatever you want provided it’s at the right intensity and provides enough of a stimulus to build your aerobic engine. However, if you have specific events like a 100 mile ride or something then I’d recommend making sure you train specifically for any goal event.

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