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How to prepare for the Tour du Mont Blanc: a comprehensive guide

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Wondering how to prepare for the Tour du Mont Blanc? You’re in the right place. 

The Tour du Mont Blanc might be the most beautiful and exhilarating trek you’ll ever do, but completing it requires more than enthusiasm and a flight ticket. 

It takes hard work too. Proper physical preparation is essential if you want to have any chance of fully enjoying the journey without succumbing to those common challenges like knee pain, shin splints, lower back pain, cardiovascular strain, and altitude sickness. 

In this guide, we’re going to delve into how to prepare for the Tour du Mont Blanc to help you get ready for this iconic trek. Let’s get the low-down.

1. Cardiovascular preparation for the Tour du Mont Blanc: boosting heart and lung health

Preparing for the Tour du Mont Blanc demands cardiovascular endurance, so get started with some easily accessible aerobic exercises to help your heart and lungs…

Running and jogging: Regular jogging or running sessions are excellent for improving cardiovascular fitness.

Walking: Long walks over decent distances (with some hills if you can find them!) will help too.

Interval training: Incorporate interval training to simulate the varied terrain you’ll encounter in the Alps.

For an in-depth look at the best way to train for a trekking holiday on the Tour du Mont Blanc, click here to check out our mountain trekking guide by army veteran and body transformation coach Dean McMenamin.

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2. Strength and mobility training: enhancing overall fitness

Overall strength and mobility contribute to a waaaaay more enjoyable trek, especially when you’re at it for as long as you would be trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc. That’s 7 full-on consecutive days! Check out the itinerary here

Full-body exercises

Functional training: Include compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and lunges to engage multiple muscles simultaneously and prepare them for the main event: the Tour du Mont Blanc. 

Bodyweight exercises like push-ups and pull-ups will enhance overall strength and mobility. Being consistent with your practice will lead to increased strength, enhanced flexibility and better overall mobility too – perfect preparation for trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc!

Flexibility work

Yoga or Pilates: Incorporate flexibility-focused activities like yoga or Pilates to improve joint mobility too. It really does do wonders for the body (and the soul!).

3. How to prepare to minimise your chances of getting Altitude Sickness on the Tour du Mont Blanc

Avoiding altitude sickness on your Tour du Mont Blanc will largely come down to gradual acclimatisation and good hydration, so make sure you pack a great bottle and have proper acclimatisation allowances built into your itinerary.

Keep up the cardio

Aside from that, there are a few things you can do that might lessen your chances of falling foul of altitude sickness on your Tour du Mont Blanc. Keep working on your oxygen-carrying capacity and overall fitness by incorporating regular cardiovascular exercises into your routine, like running, cycling, or brisk walking. 

Train high

As your trip approaches, include specific altitude-focused training, walking or jogging at higher elevations whenever possible. And if it’s feasible, plan shorter hikes or treks at moderate altitudes to allow your body to adapt to reduced oxygen levels. 

Try diaphragmatic breathing exercises

Learning some new breathing exercises could help to improve your respiratory efficiency ahead of your trekking Tour du Mont Blanc. Why not try practising deep diaphragmatic breathing? Inhale slowly through your nose, allowing your abdomen to rise, and exhale gradually through your mouth. Aim for 5-10 minutes of daily practice, incorporating a counting rhythm if it helps.

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4. Combatting knee pain: strengthening your foundation

Knee and joint pain are common challenges for hikers, especially during long and challenging treks like the Tour du Mont Blanc. To fortify your knees, focus on:

Strengthening exercises

Quadriceps strengthening: Incorporate exercises like squats, lunges, and leg presses to build strength in your quadriceps (those guys play a crucial role in knee stability, don’t ya know!)

Hamstring Exercises: Strengthening your hamstrings helps balance the forces acting on your knees. Include exercises like deadlifts and hamstring curls into your workout routines.

Low-Impact Activities

Cycling and Swimming: Low-impact activities like cycling and swimming will improve your overall leg strength without putting excessive stress on your knees.

Not seen our Tour du Mont Blanc trekking itinerary yet? Click here to check it out!

5. Training exercises to help you avoid shin splints on the Tour du Mont Blanc

Shin splints can quickly creep in and seriously dampen your trekking experience, so they’re always best avoided. Here’s how to prevent them:

Calf raises

Simple calf raises strengthen the muscles in your lower leg, helping to improve stability and reduce the risk of shin splints during trekking. Check out the proper way to do calf raises with Dean here.

Gradual Conditioning

Gradually increase the intensity of your training: Build up your walking or hiking intensity gradually to allow your lower legs to adapt to the stress.

Proper Footwear

Well ahead of your trekking Tour du Mont Blanc, invest in well-fitted, quality hiking boots with proper arch support to reduce strain on your lower legs. Make sure you’ve bedded them in by the time your trek comes around, and complete all your training walks in the same pair.

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6. Alleviating lower back pain: core strengthening and posture awareness

A strong core and good posture are key to preventing lower back pain when you’re doing something as serious as trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Core Strengthening

Planks and bridges: Incorporate exercises like planks and bridges to strengthen your core muscles, providing better support to your lower back.

Posture Awareness

Backpack fitting: Ensure your backpack is fitted properly, distributing weight evenly to avoid putting undue strain on your lower back.

Be mindful of your posture

Try and become more mindful of the way you’re sitting and standing from hereon in. Is your tailbone tucked? Got your bottom at the back of your chair? Back straight? Shoulders back? Hop to it – it all helps you avoid lower back pain!

When should you start training for the Tour du Mont Blanc?

Now you know what you should be doing, when should you be doing it? To give yourself the best chance of experiencing a happy, pain-free trekking Tour du Mont Blanc, start your training program well in advance of your trip, to allow for adequate conditioning.

Here’s a rough training timeline that could help: 

12-16 weeks to go: Begin your conditioning program with a focus on building strength and endurance.

8-12 weeks to go: Introduce more specific trekking-related exercises and gradually increase intensity.

4-8 weeks to go: Include longer hikes or walks to simulate trekking conditions and test your endurance.

By preparing properly and consistently, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the Tour du Mont Blanc with confidence and fully appreciate the breathtaking landscapes that await you in the Alps. 

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Remember, properly training for the Tour du Mont Blanc doesn’t just enhance your physical resilience, it also ensures a FAR more enjoyable and memorable trekking experience. Made even better by the company of a great group of likeminded trekking junkies, no doubt!

That’s who you’ll be sharing your Tour du Mont Blanc trekking experience with when you book with The Bucket List Company. The manageable monthly payment chunks, flexible trips and experienced, dedicated local AND UK guides don’t hurt either!

Click here to check out the Bucket List Co itinerary
for our Tour du Mont Blanc

If you don’t book it now…will you ever? 

Click Here For More Info On Our Tour Du Mont Blanc Trek

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