If you’re looking to explore the great outdoors, there’s plenty of time to do it! From late spring through mid-November in many parts of the northern hemisphere, conditions are just right for day hikes and backpacking adventures. And don’t think that once winter hits your trekking has to end – all you need is a pair of snow boots and voilà – off into nature’s beauty
While it may be tempting to throw on your hiking boots and hit the trail, doing so without proper preparation could leave you feeling sore or worse. But don’t worry too much; building strength and balance for a gentle hike is easier than you think! With a little patience, you’ll soon feel ready for whatever Mother Nature has in store for you.
How to train for hiking Without Hiking?
Taking a hike is extremely rewarding, yet it can be hard to take pleasure in the sights and sounds if you don’t prepare adequately. If you’re not already an avid hiker, make sure to devote some time beforehand properly equip yourself with all the necessary gear – from proper footwear to snacks and hydration.
Hiking trails are undeniably not like the streets we’re used to walking on. They tend to be more rugged with various levels of inclines and hurdles, which makes them all the more difficult for novices. But that’s ok because one does not have to spend all day in a gym training for it! There are several exercise basics you can pay attention to before venturing out:
- Strength. Strengthening your leg and core muscles is essential for any hiker. When these muscles are strong, it makes carrying a load much easier and allows for longer hikes with less fatigue. Without this, you won’t be able to hike as far or as long before tiring out.
- Endurance. Trekking can often take a vast amount of time, and it thusly necessitates that you strengthen your most utilized muscle groups: legs, core muscles, shoulders, lower back. By doing so, you will develop the necessary stamina to last through long hikes without discomfort or fatigue.
- Balance. To make the most of your journey, you must ensure that your base is strong and secure.
- Cardio. To round out your exercise routine, add a form of cardiovascular training to the mix – you’re sure to find one that will fit into your lifestyle. For example, running or cycling can be an enjoyable way to get in some extra cardio!
Strength Training for Strenuous Hikes
You don’t have to be a professional athlete or even in peak physical shape for strenuous hiking, but there are things you can do that will help prepare your body. Physiologically speaking, hikers need strong gluteal muscles and posterior chain strength to drive themselves forward with good mechanics.
But as exhaustion slowly creeps in, our posture tends to collapse and we start taking shorter strides. These habitual movements lead to shortened hip flexors, which means less glutes are used while more calves are engaged. Although this poor form will still take us closer towards the peak of that amazing outlook, it diminishes some of the joy out of what should be an incredible experience. By being stronger you can truly enjoy each step taken and fully appreciate your surrounding environment – making every moment richer than before!
To achieve optimal well-being, it is essential to build strength in all your muscles; however, when going on a hike, strengthening the posterior chain is critical. The back side of your body from heels to spine–which includes glutes and lower back–must be sturdy for any strenuous hikes you may take. In addition to that, having sufficient mid-back and rear delts will help carry heavy supplies up even steep peaks or for hours at a time.
Exercises to Train For A Strenuous Hike
If you want to proficiently conquer a challenging hike, the following exercises will condition and fortify specific muscle groups for maximum efficiency on the trail.
For hikers, goblet squats are a fantastic exercise option as they effectively target larger leg muscles like your quads, hamstrings, and glutes (which are the most used during hikes). Moreover, these exercises are incredibly simple to perform! Incorporating them into your training regimen is an ideal choice for anyone looking to build strength in their legs while hiking.
To begin the kettlebell squat, grip a weight of your choice (either a kettlebell or dumbell) firmly with both hands in front of your chest. Stand tall with feet slightly wider than hip width apart and press down into your heels for stability. As you lower yourself to parallel, ensure that knees are aligned over toes rather than inwardly bowing outwards- when you hit this position – push up through heels until hips fully extend before repeating! Increase difficulty by increasing the amount of weight used per repetition: as they say, no pain no gain!
A kettlebell deadlift is an essential exercise to incorporate into any hiking workout regimen. Deadlifts tone your hamstrings, which are crucial muscle groups for hikers in order to traverse over terrain quickly and efficiently.
To start, you will want to begin with a lighter weight kettlebell. Stand with both feet hip-width apart and toes pointed forward; hold the bell in both hands so it rests between your thighs while standing upright. Keep your spine neutral and hinge slightly at the hips. Gradually crouch down until the kettlebell rests on the ground between your feet. At this point, tense your legs to straighten them before thrusting backwards and lifting yourself into an upright position.
Many hikers mistakenly believe that the toughest part of their journey will be the uphill portion, but it’s usually the descent that leads to throbbing quads. These targeted exercises not only help condition and prepare your legs for those steep declines, they also strengthen key stabilizer muscles and core strength – essential components of successful hiking!
Search for a steady decline that you can easily manage. Your body should be aligned with your shoulders back and chin relaxed. Activate your core muscles and move forward with one foot, allowing your hips to descend until the front knee forms a 90-degree angle. Make sure the knee is directly above the ankle rather than pushed ahead of your toes. Center most of your weight in the heels when standing upright again before transferring energy into propelling yourself further down using both feet together. As time progresses, strive to perform fifty yards worth of downhill lunges!
If you want to improve your mountain climbing skills, then step-ups are an essential exercise. They focus on the quads and glutes muscles, which are especially important when it comes to scaling heights.
Position yourself directly in front of the box or bleacher. Begin with a smaller height if this is your first time; reaching for 10-16 inches should be sufficient. Gradually raise the box as you become more comfortable performing the exercise. Lift one foot to reach the top and use your strength to step up firmly onto it until both legs are straightened out completely upright at the peak of its position. Step back down using that same leg, then alternate sides for successive reps!
Hanging Knee Raises
This exercise stands out from the others since it is not targeted towards strengthening your lower body. Hanging knee raises, however, work to empower and fortify your core muscles – something that can prove invaluable while on a long hike with a heavy backpack in tow. A strong core will also help you nimbly bypass any trail obstacles encountered along the way!
How to do it: To complete this exercise, locate a pull-up bar or jungle gym at the nearest park and grasp it while your arms are extended. Then, use your ab muscles to draw your knees towards you as if seated in a chair before slowly returning them to their original hanging position.
Start Building Your Lung Capacity
To combat breathlessness when hiking, it’s essential to strengthen your lungs and invigorate your cardiovascular health. This can be done by engaging in a heart-pumping cardio activity several days each week, such as running, biking, swimming, or even brisk walking. Any exercise that increases your heartbeat will do the trick! Here are three ways to strengthen your breathing capacity:
Make it a goal to accomplish three cardio workouts per week
To increase your endurance and fortify your lung capacity so you can conquer those lengthy trails, try to fit in at least three cardio workouts per week. This is the suggested amount of time that experts think will bring a 5-15% boost in your lung capacity. Cardio exercises may include anything from running, walking or cycling – so it’s up to you!
Practice breathing exercises
To maximize your weekly workouts, be sure to set aside time for some straightforward and effective breathing exercises. Not only can breathwork assist with hiking lung capacity growth, but it also prompts the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) which brings feelings of equilibrium and relaxation. Experience this uncomplicated breathing exercise to remain concentrated, relaxed, and energetic on trails as well as in daily life.
Unlock your breath and optimize your lung capacity for hiking by doing a few simple stretches. These easy movements can help to release tension in the shoulders, chest, and side body while expanding the muscles of your rib cage so that you can really take deep breaths during activity. Making room for air with these exercises will make all the difference when it comes time to explore nature!
If you want to avoid injury and improve your recovery rate, stretching is essential. However, the question remains: when and how should it be done? In recent years, static stretches (wherein one holds a single position for a set period) have been considered as discouraged before exercising. As an alternative solution, focus on 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretching prior to strength training – some good examples are running at low intensity, jumping jacks, high knees exercises, and butt kicks.
In conclusion, training for hiking without actually going on hikes can be done with the help of a simple workout plan. The key is to find the right combination of activities that best prepares you for the physical demands of a hike. With enough practice and dedication, you’ll be ready to tackle any trail that comes your way using the techniques mentioned in our article on How To Train For Hiking Without Hiking.