Hiking doesn’t have to be complicated, and neither does the training for it! If you just just getting started on your hiking journey, or if you are looking to step it up a notch, we are sharing with you our three favourite hike specific exercises to get you moving!
With three personal trainers amongst team THC, you are sure to meet one on your next trail with us, so please say hi and have a chat about your training!
Lunges. Whether it be standing lunges, walking lunges or jumping lunges, there is a difficulty level for everyone here! By engaging your glutes, core, stabilisers, and quads, you are giving your entire body a good chance of handling the trails with ease if you incorporate lunges into your training.
Depending on your level of fitness, we recommend starting with standing lunges. Take a step forward with one foot, and while putting your weight through that front foot heal, and then hind foot toes, lower yourself ( with upper body remaining tall and straight in the center) until about a 45 degree angle in your knees, and then standing back up again. You can start to jazz it up a bit with confidence and fitness, by turning them into one of the many variations of this exercise.Want to train for the descents too? Put your ‘back’ foot on a small step, and lung forward. This will help train you for the downhill portions of hiking, but we will cover that in another post.
How it helps your hiking: Just like heading up a steep incline, lunges mimic the uphill battle that we find ourselves in, in a controlled environment.
Single leg squats. Squats also help to strengthen the lower body, from ankles to hips. To start this exercise, we recommend it being a standard double leg squat until you are comfortable with the movement and have the strength to handle the next step.
Once you are ready, we move into a single leg squat. Take one leg out forward and off the ground. Then, balancing on the other foot, lower yourself into the squat. Stand close to a wall or chair on your first try of this one to balance if you need. Your ankles and feet will love you for this one as they get some strengthening.
Just like with the lunges, this one requires you to put your weight predominantly in the heel of the feet, with little to no weight in your toes. This will protect your knees, and help you strengthen the right muscles.
How it helps your hiking: This exercise helps with ‘hikers’ knee, and goes along way in strengthening the stabiliser muscles around your knees and ankles to prepare them for uneven surfaces.
Mountain climbers. Amazing for core activation, upper body stability and strength, as well as lower body control, mountain climbers will help you burst up those mountains in no time! Well, they will definitely go along way to getting you there faster.
Starting on the floor on your toes and hands in a tall plank position, bring one foot up towards the inside of your elbow (without letting your foot touch the ground at all). Hold it there, before returning it to its starting point where you can place it back on the ground. Swap sides after each repetition. Do this in slow motion for an extra core activation, or add some cardio to it by making yourself into a mountain climber running man.
How it helps your hiking: This exercise will help your core, stabilisers around joints, and upper body strength, essential for carrying a heavy pack. Your core carries more importance than you might think, so make sure you don’t ignore this muscle group.