Second alpine fitness test

There's no point in doing a test only once. The first was the benchmark. The second is to see what the past 6 weeks have been all about. On to the next!

What is the AFT?

The Alpine Fitness Test is a test from Training For The New Alpinism (Steve House, Scott Johnston — Patagonia). It's one of many kinds of fitness benchmark tests for mountaineering.

It’s 1000ft of box steps (859 steps on our plyo box) wearing boots and carrying 20% of your body weight in a pack. This is to simulate the gear you'll be hauling up the mountain.

After the box steps, you'll do 60 seconds each of dips, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, box jumps. You get 2 minutes recovery in-between each exercise. You may rest during the exercise, but the timer doesn't stop.

Arie's performance

Exercise 1st test 2nd test Change
1000ft box steps 42:52 34:34 -19%
Dips 49 51 +4%
Situps 46 41 -11%
Pullups 18 23 +27%
Box jumps 20 28 +40%
Pushups 62 60 -3%

Arie improved his 1000ft box steps. It improved by nearly a fifth. The rest got a little bump, especially the box jumps. By pushing harder on the box steps, the box jumps felt a lot harder. He's still 2 jumps shy of making the "Good" grade. His end heartrate was about 10bpm higher than last time.

The decreases in pushups and situps aren't too worrying. They're still well within the "Good" grade. We'll pay attention to them more as we rework our program.

Lieke's performance

Exercise 1st test 2nd test Change
1000ft box steps 41:38 36:00 -14%
Dips 40 50 +25%
Situps 30 31 +3%
Pullups 7 11 +57%
Box jumps 27 33 +22%
Pushups 31 36 +16%

As you can see, Lieke improved across the board. She made a massive jump in box-steps, taking 14% off of her previous time. She used a different backpack this time, which impinged on her shoulder muscle. That made the jump in performance smaller than expected in both pullups and pushups.

How do we improve further?

It's interesting that Arie's box-step problem is leg strength (low heartrate, lactic acid buildup). Lieke's box-step problem lower cardiovascular fitness (high heartrate, no lactic acid buildup). We'll figure out how to tackle those problems.

We will continue to work on our pullups. We've started progressions to do one-arm pullups. We do a lot of core already, so we probably won't change much there. The rest of the exercises will be done with more weight or higher intensity.


We'll also both keep carrying our weighted packs on our daily hikes.

Previous test

You can find our first alpine fitness test here.

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