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The Outdoor Athlete [Paperback]

Courtenay Schurman , Doug Schurman
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Jan 2009
Outdoor sport enthusiasts show incredible dedication to their endeavours and "The Outdoor Athlete" is the ideal training manual to help readers hike longer, paddle farther, ski faster and climb higher. This is the most comprehensive training guide available, with 65 exercises, dozens of locales and 20 programmes. The following activities are included: hiking, trekking, backpacking, alpine mountaineering, scrambling, rock climbing, ice climbing, mixed climbing, trail running, mountain biking, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, randonee skiing and telemark skiing. The book provides enthusiasts with the training guidelines, sport-specific programmes and instruction on exercises so they can prepare for and excel at, their outdoor pursuits.

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The Outdoor Athlete + Mountaineering: Training and Preparation (Outdoor Adventures): Training and Preperation + Altitude Illness: Prevention and Treatment (Mountaineers Outdoor Expert)
Price For All Three: 36.11

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Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Human Kinetics Europe Ltd (1 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0736076115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736076111
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 17.8 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 639,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Courtenay Schurman, MS, CSCS, is an avid outdoor enthusiast active in mountaineering, rock climbing, biking, strength training, rowing and step aerobics. She is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She has more than 10 years of experience training wilderness athletes, including amateur skiers, kayakers, hikers and clients wishing to tackle Mount Everest or 100-mile trail runs. Doug Schuman, MBA, CSCS, is a competitive powerlifter and has been a certified strength and conditioning coach through the NSCA since 1998. Active in mountaineering and rock climbing, he co-authored and co-produced the Train to Climb Mt. Rainier or Any High Peak DVD (2003) and co-authored numerous wilderness sport articles at

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars OMG 2 Nov 2011
By Jayson
OMG dont these two babble on.This is like reading a school text book.Heavy reading that could have been avoided.The information given could have been done in half as many pages.I get the impression from thier writing style,that if you met them in person,they would be the sort that love the sound of thier own voices..
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, THE book on fitness for outdoor sports 30 Dec 2008
By J. M. Esteban - Published on
This is excellent reading (and reference) for anyone who is active in outdoor sports from hiking to paddling to biking. There's no fluff or hype here at all. It is a dense (in a good way) book full of detailed information and exercise science that should help anyone who is serious about improving his/her performance and, importantly, who is interested in remaining injury free. If I were to choose one book on outdoor fitness this would be it. (It's far better than Conditioning for Outdoor Fitness, which I have also read.)

The book is organized into three parts:

1) Foundation for Outdoor Fitness.
If you wanted, you could skip this chapter and just move on to the specific conditioning programs for the activity you're interested in, BUT you'd be missing a critical point of the book: creating an understanding of why a foundation is important and how to build it for your activities. And besides this, it's surprisingly interesting. This section covers everything from basic training to assessing your fitness, increasing your endurance, maximizing your strength, nutrition and overcoming environmental obstacles. There are tons of nuggets here. A few that I like:

* The Components of Sport-Specific Fitness chart, which breaks down the needs for each sport into aerobic conditioning, anaerobic conditioning, upper-body strength, lower-body strength, flexibility, skill, cross-training (e.g. off-road biking rates a 4, 4, 3, 5, 2, 4, 1 in each of these areas respectively, which makes total sense). This is very helpful for setting priorities, especially when you have limited time to workout.
* FITT (frequency, intensity, time, and type of exercise) parameters.
* Advice on establishing training blocks.
* Cross-training chart which shows the activities that have low to high overlap with the sport you're interested in.
* Very specific guidelines for assessing your cardiovascular and strength fitness (e.g. vertical push is measured with an overhead dumbbell press. Completing 5 reps with 25% of body weight rates a 1. 70% of body weight rates highest and is a 5. Of course not all outdoor sports demand a level 5 for vertical push--for climbers this is ideal, for trail runners it's overkill.)
* Developing your own, personalized aerobic/anaerobic and strength programs--The Tabata Intervals are not for everyone, (they're killer), but have been great for me.

There's just tons of info in this first section, some of which I haven't gotten to yet.

2.) Conditioning for Specific Activities.
This is the section that most people will probably turn to quickly as it provides detailed info and guidelines on the needs and training for seven areas of outdoor sports: hiking, trekking and backpacking; scrambling and mountaineering; climbing; trail running; off-road biking; canoeing, kayaking and rafting; snowshoeing, cross-country and backcountry skiing. The chapters are about 12-20 pages in length and offer practical and insightful advice for building endurance, strength and stamina for everyone from beginner to advanced. For example the hiking, trekking and backpacking chapter offers detailed training (aerobic and strength) programs for a moderate hike (8 miles, 17 lb. pack, 3,400 ft. of elevation gain), an intermediate backpack (3 nights, grand canyon rim-to-rim, 35 lb. pack, 5,000 ft. elevation gain), and an advanced high-altitude trek (6-day Kilimanjaro at 19,340 elevation, with 20 lb. pack, long days with great vertical). Each training program is highlighted in carefully constructed charts and there are numerous helpful tidbits that you sense are derived from personal experience (e.g. sore quads are often a problem after a high vertical descent with a pack--authors recommend reverse step-ups, Bulgarian squats and backward lunges to help avoid).

3.) Exercises for Peak Performance.
The final section offers up the specific exercises they recommend. The Exercise Finder chart is useful for adapting or creating your own training programs as it not only notes the goals for each exercise (e.g. body stabilization, flexibility, etc.), but also the most applicable sports. Each exercise is clearly explained, demonstrated in photographs and precautions and variations are noted.

There are a few negatives that bug me so far:
* It is very dense. Future editions would benefit from a better, more reader-friendly layout--more white space, more sub-heads, and more photography.
* There's no index. A real pain in the butt especially for a book that has so much information.
* At times the charts are a bit difficult to understand or refer to exercises many pages away.

In the end, however, these irritants are easy to forgive because the book is just loaded with tons of useful information. I'd like to see a sequel entitled The Outdoor Athlete II: More Performance Training for...
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The next best thing to living with your personal trainer 11 Dec 2008
By Rick Anderson - Published on
Wow this book is comprehensive! It is a complete cookbook of recipes to improve your physical ability to have fun in the mountains. It's deceptively easy to imagine that a Pilates class and a couple hours a week on an elliptical trainer are all it takes to play safely and comfortably in the mountains on the weekends. Many of us over 30 with career and kids have learned the hard way that this isn't enough.

Strength training, endurance training, aerobic conditioning, balance, flexibility, periodization, cross training, sports nutrition - it's all there. It is the best description of both the need to vary your training and practical ways of doing so that I've ever read. It is reminiscent of the Bill Pearl classic "Getting Stronger", yet immeasurably better in its comprehensive approach. There is a fitness evaluation to help you identify your needs. It has suggested daily and weekly training regimens for varying levels of fitness for each sport, some lasting as long as 23 weeks. There is a long section of recipe cards (if you will) for each stretch and exercise prescribed. Each of these "recipes" includes a detailed description of the exercise, photographs demonstrating the suggested form and movement, precautionary suggestions to prevent injury and suggested variations. I have a lot of books on my shelf and I've never seen anything better.

I guarantee that if you buy the book, read it and follow its recommendations the day after your first workout you'll say "#@!#$%$# my legs are sore!" I know, it happened to me.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real individual help from a book 25 Mar 2009
By M. O'Neill - Published on
The Outdoor Athlete is a must read for the serious outdoor person and the weekend enthusiast alike.
The Schurmans have produced a readable exploration of a complex subject. I was very much impressed with the well engineered methodology used to assist the diverse group known as Outdoor Athletes.
The book is set into sections. The first leads the reader through the physiology of training as applied to the outdoors. The next describes evaluation of various aspects of fitness. It also introduces actual tests the reader can do on their own. The final section and one that I found most intriguing applies it to individual sports. The Schurmans present a rating based definition of several outdoor sports. Then starting from where you have tested yourself to be, they assist in defining a personal routine to build your weaknesses while maintaining your strengths. All of this is built around sample routines developed for specific sports. Each of the routines while highly modifiable can also be a stand alone program. By the end the reader also would be well enough equipped to actually build your own routine.
If you are dedicated enough to your outdoor activities to be considering training, this book is a top of the list consideration. It is well presented, straight forward, and is built around each individual finding the best route to their own goals.
I am an avid bicyclist with a lot of Rock climbing combined with some mountaineering and ocean Kayak. With the tools I have learned, I am much better equipped to be prepared for whatever I dream up next.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Complete Guide for Anyone Who Has Fun in the Outdoors 2 Jan 2009
By T. Griffin - Published on
I've been looking for a long time for a book that can help me train for both winter sports and summer activities. I like to cross-country ski when there is snow in the mountains and then hike and backpack when summer comes. At last, here is a book that satisfies the needs of a variety of outdoor athletes. It includes specific training programs for mountaineering, cross-country skiing, backpacking and other active outdoor sports. (Sorry golfers, you're on your own.) There are charts that let you personalize your own training program depending on the type of activity and the time you have to prepare. I'm particularly impressed that the authors address aerobic and strength conditioning for each sport they cover. I've been using it and found it is clear, informative--and motivational.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive training manual for the outdoor athlete 27 Feb 2009
By Cossack - Published on
Not to be confused with the Outdoor Athlete written by Steve Ilg in the 1990', which did not live up to the title (although it did have some amusing pics of Steve in leopard tights). The Schurmans have put together the long needed comprehensive manual for training for demanding outdoor sport. It can be used as a total training program for a novice to an experienced athlete, or in specific sections to fill in the gaps for those that find themselves underperforming in specific areas.

The book is jam packed with useful information and has helped me understand that performing well in the mountains is mostly a reflection of a disciplined training regimen. Outdoor Athlete is well structured and illustrated publication, a valuable addition to anyone interested in improved performance in outdoor environments.
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