Conquering the Summit: Half Dome Training Tips for a Successful Adventure
Hiking Half Dome is no mean feat, especially if you want to tackle it as a day hike. For most of us, it requires a build up before our bodies are capable of the 8 mile, 4,800 feet of elevation gain hike it takes to reach the top, followed by the underrated 8 mile downhill return, which is punishing on the knees and feet. The good news is, with time and dedication, most people are capable of making it successfully! Here’s a simple Half Dome training plan to get you ready to reach the summit:
Half Dome Training: Cardio
Goal: Hike 16 Miles and 4,800 Ft Elevation Gain
The most physically-demanding part of the Half Dome hike is the 8 mile, 4,800 vertical feet of elevation gain trek to the top. This grueling ascent is then followed by an 8 mile descending hike that is taxing in its own right. So how do you train for the cardio part of Half Dome?
Here’s a simple 8 Week plan to prepare your cardiovascular system:
- 5 Mile Hike 2x Per Week. If you live in a hilly or mountainous area, find hikes with elevation gain. It will pay off in the long run!
- 15 minutes on a stair climber or incline treadmill 2x Per Week
- 7.5 Mile Hike 2x Per Week
- 20 minutes on a stair climber or incline treadmill 2x Per Week
- 10 Mile Hike 1x Per Week
- 25 minutes on a stair climber or incline treadmill 2x Per Week
- 12-15 Mile Hike 1x Per Week
- 30 minutes on a stair climber or incline treadmill 2x Per Week
Half Dome Cardio Training Notes:
Go at your own pace on the hikes. If the distance is too much, try breaking the hikes up into shorter jaunts on more days. If the hikes are not challenging enough, add distance and look for trails with more elevation gain. The goal is to push yourself and improve each week.
Strength Training Tips for Half Dome
Goal: Ascend a 400 foot long cable route to the summit of Half Dome
The iconic cables that aid hikers in the final ascent of Half Dome can be brutal at the end of an 8 mile hike, especially if there are a bunch of other hikers making the ascent at the same time. During the middle of the day, it can take up to 30 minutes to reach the summit. That means long periods of holding on and supporting your weight using your hands and upper body.
Here’s a simple 8 Week plan to prepare your upper body:
- 25 push ups 2x Per Week.
- 10 Dips 2x Per Week
- 10 minutes on a rowing machine 2x Per Week.
- Bonus: 1-3 pull-ups 2x a week
- 40 push ups 2x Per Week.
- 15 Dips 2x Per Week
- 15 minutes on a rowing machine 2x Per Week.
- Bonus: 4-6 pull-ups 2x a week
- 50 push ups 2x Per Week.
- 20 Dips 2x Per Week
- 20 minutes on a rowing machine 2x Per Week.
- Bonus: 7-10 pull ups 2x a week.
- 65 push ups 2x Per Week.
- 25 Dips 2x Per Week
- 25 minutes on a rowing machine 2x Per Week.
- Bonus: 8-12 pull ups 2x a week.
Half Dome Strength Training Notes:
Break these up into as many sets as necessary. If you decide to include pull-ups in your routine, you can do them assisted or unassisted. The goal is to improve your upper body strength. Any improvements you make in the 8 weeks will make your ascent that much more enjoyable!
Remember, Half Dome Training Should Be Fun!
At the end of the day, remember that the goal of all of this work is to better enjoy the Half Dome hike. For many people, summiting Half Dome is one of the most memorable experiences of their lives. The more you train, and the better prepared you are to face the challenge, the more incredible your experience will be.
Join Us on a Half Dome Guided Adventure!
View our current Half Dome trip listings below, and do Half Dome in style while learning more about the incredible history of this iconic landmark and Yosemite National Park.