Fitness When Climbing a 14er

A Fitness Routine to Conquer the Mountains

Fitness when climbing a 14er starts with a good workout routine. According to expert mountain athlete and Certified Personal Trainer, Robert Grevious, a solid routine will greatly benefit you in your attempt to conquer your first 14er.

So Many Mountain to Tackle

There are 53 fantastic 14ers in the beautiful state of Colorado. Four of them (Mount Blue Sky (Formerly Mount Evans), Grays Peak, Torreys Peak, and Mount Bierstadt) reside in Clear Creek County and are the closest 14ers to the Denver Metro Area. 14ers are a great idea if you’re looking for good exercise, fresh air, great views, and if you’re lucky – wildlife viewing.

Two hikers walk up a hill with a vast expanse behind them.

Don’t Go Without Training

Don’t just pack up one morning and start the journey up one of these mountains without any type of preparation or physical training.

While it may seem like the task of completing a 14er can be done without training, I am under the firm belief that it is better to reach the top (summit) happy and full of life as opposed to grumpy and half dead! And that’s just to reach the summit! You still have to go back down!

What is 14er Exactly?

14ers range all the way from 3 miles to 26 miles round trip (Pikes Peak is 26 miles) and can take anywhere from 3 hours to 15 hours to complete, depending on your pace. 14ers are not to be taken lightly and a basic fitness routine will greatly benefit you in your attempt to conquer your first 14er.

We all know, or should know, that 14ers are above 14,000 feet, and oxygen is much thinner at that elevation – thus there is a huge cardio aspect involved in any attempt of a 14er. Having a strong aerobic capacity (cardio) is a good idea before you start your journey to conquer the summit.

So What Works?

Not only is aerobic endurance vital to an enjoyable hike, but muscular strength and endurance as well. Most mountains are full of boulders that need to be climbed, leaped, stepped over, and jumped on, and as I said before, some trails can be as long as 26 miles, and take up to 15 hours to complete!


Now Let’s Race to the Top! 

Having these tools (strong aerobic capacity, muscular strength, and endurance) is far more important than any equipment you can buy and are vital to an enjoyable, injury-free journey to your first of many Colorado summits!

Rob’s 14er Workout

Monday and Friday

  • Treadmill Workout: Walk fast for 2 minutes at each incline level up to 10% and then back down.
  • Example: 5 minute warm up, 2 minutes at 1%, 2 minutes at 2%, 2 minutes at 3%, 2 minutes at 4%, 2 minutes at 5%

Tuesday and Saturday

  • Weighted Squats – 4 sets of 20
  • Walking Lunges – 4 sets of 20
  • Leg Extensions – 4 sets of 20
  • Leg Curls – 4 sets of 20
  • Standing Calf Raises – 3 sets of 50

Article by Robert Grevious
The Training Spot and Precision Fit Cations
Robert Grevious is a 14er enthusiast, a Nationally Certified Personal trainer, and the owner of The Training Spot and Precision Fit Cations.

Clear Creek County is the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Located just west of Denver along Interstate 70, Clear Creek has 396 square miles of public lands to explore, as well as four mountain peaks above 14,000 feet. Clear Creek is comprised of charming mountains towns Idaho Springs, Downieville, Lawson, Empire, Georgetown, and Silver Plume, which are all along the I-70 corridor. Learn more about Clear Creek County here.