10 Tips on How to Train for Hiking

10 Tips on How to Train for Hiking

Hiking is a fun thing to do but it will be difficult for you to enjoy nature if you are out of breath while on the hike.

Although hiking is one of the most simple tasks to do as with just quality shoes and desire for adventure you can be on your way into the wilderness.

While hiking is a metal escape but it is definitely an activity that requires lots of muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance.

It is very important to incorporate workout for hiking into your fitness regime as these specific exercises will strengthen the muscles that you will use while on a hike and give you more strength and endurance to enjoy the surroundings.

When you are in shape for hiking you will feel stronger and would be able to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, sounds and smells with your muscles, ligaments, and tendons on your side and ready to respond if you stumble or slip on unknown terrain.

10 Tips on how to Train for the Hiking Trip

#1. Start With the Basics

Most Common hiking injuries are Ankle rolling and Ankle Sprain.

You need to get started with basic exercise if you are out of shape or you weren’t active for long enough time.

Here are some of the basic Exercise to help you get started

  • You need to build the muscles that protect your Knees and Ankles by walking or running in sand.
  • For building small stabilizer muscles around your ankle and knee you can get started by standing on the tennis ball or balance disc.
  • Further doing crunches can help you keep balance on uneven surfaces.
  • Push-ups are great to get started with upper body strength.

#2. Strength-Training Exercises for Hiking

Strength training exercise works on developing core strength that can help you with overall strength and fitness for traveling on an uneven trail.

Here is the list of the strength exercises which are ideal for hikers.

  • Mountain climbers
    This total-body workout helps strengthens your core, back, arms and legs.
    Watch this video for doing mountain climbers.

  • Hip bridge
    This workout strengthens your abs, butt, hips and lower back.
    Watch this video for doing this.

  • Russian twists

This is a workout for abs and Core body strength.

Watch this video for doing this exercise correctly.

  • Forearm planks

This simple yet powerful exercise helps in building strength in the core, shoulders, arms, and legs. Watch this video to know how to do Forearm Planks.

  • Side Plank
    This exercise can be done as an alternative to forearm plank or as an addition to it. This exercise helps in strengthening your abs and side muscles.

To know how to do it correctly watch this video.

  • Exercise ball squat with overhead press
    This is one of the best exercises to strengthen your leg muscles.

To do this exercise properly you would need an exercise ball and two 5-pound dumbbell weights and watch this for more details.

#3. Balance Exercises for Hiking

Balancing exercises helps in strengthening your legs and ankle and helps improve balance and your bodies ability to know its position and react to it with proper movement (better known as Proprioception).

Here are some of the best exercises to improve your bodies ability to balance and respond properly to different terrains.

Watch the videos given below to do each exercise properly and to improve your balance.

This exercise has the purpose of strengthening the legs and improves balance and this could be difficult to do initially but your balance will improve drastically in the long run.

  • Standing single-leg balance

  • Step back to balance

  • Jump squats

  • Lunge off step

#4. Cardiovascular Exercise for Hiking

Cardiovascular exercise is a must when you are training for hiking.

These exercises are basically the ones that raise your heart rate, which means you can bike, Swim, Run, Walk or do another activity that gets your heart and lungs pumping.

After initial exercising, you can up your game by starting to train with weight so that you can carry a significant amount of weight when you go for a backpacking hike.

You can get started with smaller weight and keep on the increase in small amounts as you move ahead.

These Cardiovascular exercises will help you increase your Stamina and get stronger every day.

#5. Training by going on Short Day Hikes

You can begin to train for hiking by going on shorter hikes on easy terrains like city parks or going up and down on hilly region or stairs.

Especially for beginners, this helps your body knows that you are going to push its limits and you can get started by going for a walk two times a week initially and make sure to do a brisk walk to get your heart beats up and keep it up for at least 30 minutes.

Another thing that you can do is make sure you wear the same shoes that you will be wearing on the actual hike so that your feet adjust with them and you do not face any issue while on the actual hike.

#6. Long and Hilly Hike

The main aim of training by doing long and hilly hiking is to training your body to hike the same distance and elevation gain and loss similar to your hardest hiking days.

You can increase elevation and distance every week to get fitter.

If you live in a region with hilly terrain or something similar to that, then you can train there or if you don’t have access to such region then you need to get a bit creative and can meet your hiking goals by going up and down on stairwells or you can do multiple laps up and down on a small ridge.

You can hike faster than your intended hike so that you can compensate for hiking back-to-back for multiple days.

You can also log your average hiking speed, distance traveled and elevation gain and loss to measure your process and physical preparedness for your trip.

#7. How to Avoid “Hiker’s Knee”

Hiker’s knee is often referred to as the pain caused in the knee mainly because of worn hiking boots or muscular weakness in the quadriceps and hamstrings.

This can definitely be avoided and it can be avoided by exercising to build quadriceps, calves, and hamstrings. Doing a brisk walk is a great exercise to strengthen these muscles.

There are multiple exercises that could be done to avoid hiker’s knee that include lunges, step ups, split squats, and hyperextensions and many other exercises that targets the legs.

You can also use trekking poles to help avoid the stress on the knee.

#8. How to Use Trekking Poles

Use of trekking poles can be helpful in reducing the impact on the knees.

These poles can help anybody to keep their balance on rocky and uneven terrain. These are just like your extra limb while you are navigating.

Here’s how to use them efficiently

  • Keep your arms slightly bent at the elbows in a fairly neutral position, and use your shoulders to move forwards.
  • Keep a relaxed and loose grip on the poles by using the straps.
  • When hiking downhill, keep the poles slightly in front of you. Shorten your steps to reduce the impact on your knees and If the trail is very steep or muddy, try forcing the poles into the ground and taking side-steps up to the pole.
  • When hiking uphill with poles, you should use the poles to push off, not pull yourself up the hill. Avoid planting the tip of the pole in front of your lead foot.

You can watch this video for more information.

#9. How to Choose Hiking Boots and Shoes

Choosing the right shoes for the hike and getting comfortable with them is one of the most important things.

Your fitness would not matter if your shoes get rip off very quickly or they make you very uncomfortable on the trip.

The good and quality shoes will help you protect your feet and ankles and help you prevent the impact of your knees.

There are different shoes available for different terrains so, it is advisable to do some research before buying them and later get comfortable with them by going to practice hike while wearing them.

#10. Getting in Shape for Backpacking

For your multi-day hiking trip, you need to be prepared for long days of walking with weight on your back.

You need to give yourself time to prepare for your backpacking trip.

You need to go for walks and shorter hikes with weight at least three times a week.

Wear your backpacks on hikes and gradually increase the load until it is as heavy as it will be on the trip or you should train with heavier than the actual weight that you will carry.

You can also increase your strength by lifting weights and doing other strength exercises.

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