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Training Tips

Increasing the all-important Strength-to-Weight ratio

This article is part of a series of articles I have written on the physical prep and training for adventures that I specialise in. Reproduced in full from WILD magazine, Australia’s longest running outdoor and adventure based mag, where you can see my column on line or subscribe and get delivered to your door.

Here, I describe for WILD magazine how anyone can prepare for those really tough days that push you towards breaking point.

Are you avoiding the weights at all costs? Afraid of gaining bulk? Joe Bonington discusses how any adventurer can increase strength without putting on muscle mass.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and reasons why strength training is an absolute must for your outdoor activities, whether you’re out on the walking trails, competing in an ultra or on your first alpine ascent.

A stronger you, is a stronger you – but what does this really mean?


Strength is a state of mind. To be strong is to be strong in your mind, body in soul. Strength implies resilience, both mentally and physically. Strength is having the mental fortitude to keep going even when things get tough. Strength is being able to cope with the knocks, scrapes and setbacks. Strength is dealing with atrocious conditions and environmental upsets that weren’t part of your original plan.

Wilderness and adventure sports and activities have a major difference with most other forms of physical activity. As well as having to be fit enough for our given sport, to be able to cope with the rigours of the physical activities involved, we also have a major – and I mean major – wild card to throw in the mix: environmental conditions. The best laid plans of mice and men are often laid bare by changes in the environment.

The Value of Strength

When considering training and getting fit for an adventure, those who solely focus on the cardiovascular aspect (which, to be honest, is the majority of would-be explorers) we are doing ourselves a major disservice.

As well as specific strengthening for your given activity, you should have a strength and conditioning element that will improve…

…continue reading this article in full at WILD magazine here.

Joe Bonington
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Joe Bonington

Joe Bonington's mission is to help as many people as possible lead a fitter fuller and more adventurous life by helping ordinary people achieve extraordinary things.

Joe is seen as an expert and leader in his field,  Possibly the southern hemisphere's leading strength and conditioning coach, for outdoor and adventure sports.

He has seen 8 of his clients summit Everest, clients cross the Greenland Icecap, ski to the North Pole, ski tour and ski mountaineering in Antarctica, Iceland, South America and Norway, climb peaks all over the world, trek all the continents and enter trail running , ultra and multi-stage events in the Gobi, Andes, Himalayas and the Sahara.

As well as a sought-after coach, Joe is a presenter and speaker.

He is also the founder and owner of Joe's Basecamp Gym, based in Brookvale on Sydney's Northern Beaches.

The gym is home to unique functional fitness, strength and conditioning, and endurance training programs for trail running, trek training and mountaineering. The facility caters for all outdoor, adventure sports and wilderness activities - a one of a kind Bucket List gym!

If you want to know more about our coaching programs contact us here to find out how you can be a part of our great community of like-minded people.

If you would like to know about working with our trainers to get the most out of your adventures, your events, your sport contact us here.
Joe Bonington
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