Exercises To Prepare For Hiking
Before you decide on your first hiking sandals or hiking sunglasses that make you look cool, you need to be sure you are in the right physical shape to take on an expedition. There is no off-season for hiking; it’s an anytime sport although some hiking trails are decidedly more easy on the body than others. If you can deal with weather, you can enjoy backpacking, day hikes, scrambling, and mountain climbing and countless other outdoor activities. To get all you can from your precious free time for enjoying the great outdoors, you have to be in good shape.
If you are new to hiking or have hiked in the past and decided to jump back on the bandwagon for more, its best to test and develop your physical fitness for the trail before you slip on hiking socks or even know what hydration packs are. If you want to join the ranks of the hardcore hikers, you need to know the value of physical training to be fit for the challenges ahead.
You will also have to invest time learning advanced backpacking and first-rate hiking skills, but it is equally important to incorporate functional exercises in a healthy lifestyle to improve overall fitness and health to prepare for extreme hiking specifically.
Here are some of the finest exercises for hikers. And they are good. They mimic the actual natural movements you’ll be performing as you hike. They strengthen muscles and improve balance and that helps, big time when you are walking through rough terrain.
The goblet squat is an easy muscle building exercise especially beneficial for hikers. It targets the big muscles of legs – the glutes, quads and hamstring to make them powerful for hiking. For performing this exercise:
- Choose the correct kettlebell or dumbbell for your hand
- Hold the dumbbell close to your sternum
- Stand straight holding the weights keeping your body weight back on your heels
- Now move your body down until your hips and thighs are parallel to the floor
- Make sure your body weight rests on your heels, not on your knees
- Now raise your body until stretched straight.
- Repeat 10 to 15 times.
- Increase the weight for increased resistance and more benefits.
Weighted Glute Bridge on a Bench
The weighted glute bridge on a workout bench is a popular exercise for lower body strengthening muscles. Its focus is on building the glutes and hamstring muscles to empower your body for tough hiking drills and other sports. You don’t need a bench for this exercise, but you will need a barbell or medicine ball. Alternatively, use a floor bag if you don’t have access to a barbell.
- First, lay straight on the floor and keep the weight on top of your legs.
- Keeping your feet flat to the floor, raise the pelvis by squeezing the buttocks and pushing your upper back into the floor. Adopt a bridge position and hold.
- Release the buttocks to lower the pelvis back to the floor.
- Perform several reps in a single set.
The key here is not the weight of barbell or medicine bell but the correct posture. The higher you raise your body the more effective it is.
Lunges are an essential part of all kinds of workouts, be it muscle training or fat burning. Some novice hikers assume climbing is the most difficult part of the sport and descending the easiest but this is not the case. As tough as it is to climb a height, walking down the slope is equally challenging. You require strong core muscles to maintain body stability to move down without pain or injury. Downhill lungs prepare your body for crossing the steps effectively.
For performing downhill lunges:
- To begin, stand straight with your body weight on your heels and your shoulders straight.
- Move your right leg a step forward concentrating on your core muscles.
- Lower your body and bend the right knee to a 90-degree angle, keeping your weight on your heels.
- Hold for a few seconds.
- Then, stand up and move your left leg one step forward.
- Lower your body and bend your left knee to 90 degrees as you did with the right.
- Repeat the steps for 50 yards of downhill lunges to prepare your muscles for hiking.
Hanging Knees Raising
Hanging knees raising is an interesting exercise. It focuses on building the core muscles of the body and strengthens the back. Though this exercise does not work on leg muscles, it’s an important one for hikers. It increases the strength of the body for carrying heavy backpacks without strain or injury. The strong core muscles developed by this exercise are also important for climbing the heights.
- First, find a pull-up bar or jungle gym.
- Hang on the bar stretching your arms to full length.
- Now, move your knees upwards all the way up to your chest in a chair like position.
- Keep hanging but lower your body down.
- Perform 10 to 15 reps in one set.
Stairmaster, as the name suggests, is a very beneficial exercise for climbers and hikers. It strengthens leg muscles and prepares them for climbing and mounting tasks. It’s also an essential cardiovascular exercise that increases stamina. Hikers need a well-nurtured body that can maintain its stability over distance, terrain, and altitude without falling short of breath. Cardio workouts on the Stairmaster machine are a must for serious hikers but if you don’t have access to a gym you can perform this exercise on any hilly surface still get results.
- Start by warming out at a slow pace.
- Gradually increase your stepping speed.
- Continue stepping for 20 minutes as a beginner and increase your duration as you increase your strength.
There are chances of spraining your muscles performing this workout but it is part of the preparation needed for successful badass hiking.
Stretching exercises are mandatory for all sporty and adventurous individuals. They increase the core strength of your body to prepare it for tough tasks. For hikers, stretching and balancing exercises builds up the stamina for climbing and descending.
There are various stretching exercises performed by athletes and hikers. This one is common.
- First, sit on the floor with your legs stretched in front of you.
- Keeping one leg in the stretched position bend the other to press the foot against your inner thigh. Then, bending at the waist, lean forward.
- Hold for half a minute and return to the start position.
- Switching legs.
By incorporating these exercises in your routine, you will certainly be able to put yourself in a better position to deal with all those challenges you’re going to face during a hike. However, you can also add some other movements to your routine to get better results. For instance:
- Kettlebell deadlift: By using the kettlebell, you will be able to make the deadlift a lot safer than the traditional version. All you have do is squat down while keeping a kettlebell in your hands. Just be sure to drive drown using your heels and keep your head up all the time.
- Walk out hip stretch: Yoga enthusiasts would find it much similar to the “half pigeon” move and it works quite effectively to stretch and open your glutes. You can consider doing it after your leg workout to lower the risk of injuries.
- Dumbbell press on Bosu: To train your hip flexors and hamstrings, you can do single leg dumbbell press and make it more effective by doing on a Bosu The little variation will make this exercise a lot more difficult, so be ready to challenge yourself.
Two Things To Remember
When doing any exercises to prepare yourself for hiking, you need to bear two important things in mind. First, you should spend some time doing some warm-up moves. By warming up your leg muscles before you perform a movement, you will be able to handle the exercise in a much better way. To warm up, you can spend about half an hour doing cardio, such as a rowing machine, a stair mill, or simply running.
The other important thing to understand is that the effectiveness of your exercises will depend on the frequency and repetition of different moves. Do perform too many reps in the beginning though and take your time to understand the movement first. Then, increase the number of reps and sets to make your workout challenging and more productive.
It only takes a few minutes a day to go through these highly effective exercises for hikers and the benefits to health and fitness begin straightaway. When you are out battling the terrain and the weather to see what’s around the next corner or over the top, being it will be being physically fit that gets you over there.