Whether you’re looking to get back in shape or improve your hiking stamina, these four exercises will get you ready to ascend in no time!
Squats are not just one of the best exercises for hikers, but also one of the best workouts that you can do, period. The reason is simple: Squats target all of the major leg muscles, including quads, hamstrings, and glutes. If you are starting with squats for the first time, I suggest starting with bodyweight squats. As your squat becomes stronger and more developed, you can slowly ease your way into adding weights.
If using barbells and dumbells are not your thing, you can perform tons of complex, more challenging variations to your squats using just your body.
Learn more about different variations and how to perform squats here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squat_(exercise)
Stair Climber Machine (Or Climbing Any Staircase)
Climbing stairs will simulate walking up a trail or going up a hike more than any other exercise could.
Stair Climber machines are a real test of your stamina and will push your limits in more ways than one. A good starting point will be to aim for 20-30 floors at a moderate to slow pace. Eventually, the goal should be to aim for 100 floors climbed at a rate of 25-30 minutes.
However, the best part about climbing stairs – it can be done anywhere! Of course, having a machine to assist you is always nice, but a lot of us (especially in a post-Covid world) won’t have access to a gym or cardio machines.
If you don’t have access to a gym with a stair climber machine, find any staircase and start moving! Remember that one flight of stairs is considered 12 to 14 stairs. So keep that in mind when working that in to your workout plan.
Having good core strength is essential when it comes to hiking. A strong core will help boost stability and balance during your hikes. As a bonus, planks don’t just work your core, but also the muscles around your shoulders and legs. The best part about planks, however, is that you can do them almost anywhere.
As simple as the exercise is, it can be quite difficult to master. If you haven’t done many planks before, a good starting point would be to hold the position for 25-30 seconds at a time. Repeat this for 4-5 sets throughout each day, and you’ll soon be looking at a core of steel!
You can read more about planks here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plank_(exercise)