A strenuous day on the trail can easily leave you sore and exhausted, especially if you’re not well-conditioned. That’s why it’s important to get your body ready for a hike by incorporating simple exercises in your workout routine. With the right training plan and a bit of creativity, you can create an effective hiking exercise routine without leaving home.
When preparing for your hike, you want to target the major muscles of your legs and core. To do this, you need to work on exercises that are both compound and multi-joint. Incorporating lateral training into your routine will help you move better up and down the trail by strengthening your hips and knees. These are often weak points in hikers and can be prone to injury. To train your hips and knees, try doing bench step-ups. This is a great exercise to do with your hiking pack or a weighted vest for an added challenge.
Another important hiking exercise is plyometrics. This type of movement will improve your agility and balance, which is key for hiking up and down steep inclines. To perform this exercise, start by laying on the floor. Then, lift your legs into the air and jump explosively in one direction and then back again. Repeat for 10-15 reps on each side. When you’re strong enough, you can add a lightweight backpack to intensify the workout.
Adding plyometric exercises into your routine will also help you prepare for hiking up and down hills. To do this, you need to train your leg strength and agility by doing jumping exercises. To do this, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, squat down so your butt is below your knees. Then, explode upwards by pushing your hips forward. You should feel a stretch in your quads and glutes. Once you’re done, repeat. To make this exercise harder, you can increase the height of your jumps.
In addition to working on leg and core strength, plyometrics will help you build the endurance needed to tackle those long days on the trail. To do this, you can incorporate jogging intervals into your hiking workout. To spice things up, you can even wear your hiking pack to the gym to simulate carrying your gear and hiking with a heavy load.
Lastly, you can also use the stairs or a treadmill at your gym to do hill and incline workouts. Running up hills or stair climbing will help you build the leg strength and stamina necessary to climb some of the steeper sections of a hiking trail. You can find a lot of hiking-specific training plans online, but creating your own plan is an easy way to ensure you’re training for the right hiking workouts. Once you have your workout plan, set small goals for each run or hike and track your progress to stay on track for your hiking goals. This will keep you motivated and help you achieve success on the trail.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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