Kindal climbing her mountain and getting the 1,000 step up test completed.

1,000 Step Up Test: The Alpine Mountain Test

Besides growing Fit Women's Weekly into a thriving fitness brand and business...

And living in the mountains and being happy with my life...

I've always wanted to climb an alpine mountain. Specifically... Mt. Rainer so I can ultimately climb Denali in Alaska.

I don't know why I want to climb a snowy... ice cold... hard as heck... alpine mountain. It makes no sense really... but I do.

So when I saw this book...

I had to buy it...

  • First Dan and I purchase fitness books quite a bit to continually learn
  • Second this book was about mountain climbing fitness... what else is cooler??

In the book there are a number of fitness tests to determine if you have the ability to climb an alpine mountain. The 1,000 step test is my favorite.

I remember my first time. I thought it was going to be so easy... but WOW it was hard. I was a sweaty mess.

Let's get into the test and then I'll share how to train for this test and how to warm up for it too.

The 1,000 Step Up Test

  • Poor: Over 40 minutes
  • Good: 20-40 minutes
  • Excellent: Under 20 minutes
Kindal pushing really hard in a pushup
Intensity Tip

Doesn't have to be on a 12 inch box but does have to equal 1000 vertical feet. So a 12 inch box = 1000 stepups... an 18 inch box = 667 steps... and a 8 inch box = 1493 steps.

Both feet need to make contact with the top of the box but not on the ground.

Weight represents a climbing backpack and 20% of your bodyweight.

This workout/test is a high rep endurance workout. Keep that in mind becuase I want you to pay attention to how your legs feel as you continue your steps.

Listen to your:

  • Ankles
  • Calves mainly
  • Hips
  • Quads

If you attempt to do this... and you feel discomfort... don't push it. Listen to your body and take any discomfort as a sign for needed mobility and flexibility training.

How To Correctly Step Up So You Can Go Fast

Step 1:

Always keep one foot on the box at all times. This is the key.

Step up so both feet are on top of the box.

Step 2:

Step opposite leg down while the other let remains on the box.

Tap the ground and come straight back up with the leg you just took off the box.

Step 3:

Keep alternating legs.

One comes down... taps the ground... and comes right back up to the top of the box.

Most women tend to step up like this (what NOT TO DO):

  • Step one leg on the box
  • Step the other leg on the box
  • Step one leg off the box
  • Step the other leg off the box

This test is about stepping up. Not coming down. Keep that in mind.

How To Warm Up For The 1,000 Step Up Test

Warming up for this test is vital.

  • There are so many reps
  • You will fatigue at least half way through
  • You will also mentally fatigue because it's a very repetivite workout

A good warmup will help you move with speed during this workout.

Ankle Mobility First

When you're stepping up on a pretty tall box... you're knee will (or should) bend past your knee. This will require your ankles to be warmed up.

I have you covered with the perfect warmup workout called:

Calf And Ankle Mobility

This is the perfect 5 minute warm up workout for this workout.

Calf And Quad Foam Roll

Go grab your foam roller and if you have some trigger or massage balls... grab those too. I wrote a post about the best massage balls which I highly recommend you purchase.

First, roll your calfs with either a large foam roller or a larger trigger ball like the Alpha Ball or the Supernova.

DO NOT smash your calf... just give it a generous roll.

Second, take your foam roller and roll the entire length of your quad from just above your knee all the way to your hip flexor.

Don't go fast but make sure you stay moving.

Do both calves and both quads for at least 60 seconds.

Light Squats And Swings

Now grab a light kettlebell... a 26 pound to 35 pound at the heaviest... and do this little warm up workout:

  • 5 Squats (bodyweight or goblet)
  • 5 Swings
  • 5 Squats
  • 10 Swings

Do this little routine two times through. You are not going for speed or intensity. Just getting your body moving and warmed up.


There are three modifications you can make for the step up test.

Get Rid Of The Extra Weight

First, get rid of the added weight and go bodyweight only.

This will make it a lot easier and more comfortable. Suprisingly, when I use the backpack to add weight... I always sweat more. And then I get mentally fatigued faster because the backpack is not as comfortable.

Lower The Box Height

I deally you want to use a 12 inch box. But I prefer to use 16 inches. I enjoy the challenge.

The goal of the workout is 1,000 vertical feet so if you go lower than 12 inches, you'll need to add in more steps. However, taking smaller steps up will make the workout a lot easier.

Use A Suspension System

If you're brand new to doing step ups... use a suspension system for assistance.

If you're using a suspension system or rings to help with your step ups... set a max time of 30 minutes and see how many steps you can do.

I want you focused more step up strength and form... not speed.

Want To Get Stronger And Conquer Any Fitness Challenge?

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As a member, you can:

  • Ask questions about getting fit and working out...
  • Get trained and learn to exercise smarter...
  • Get all the personalized modifications you need to succeed...
  • Plus so much more!

I am enrolling more membership spots right now. But only 300 women max are allowed in this small group. So if there are spots available... go sign up for FWW LIVE .

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