If you think that the only way to train for a hike is by going hiking, you’re not alone. But if you’re just getting back into hiking or are planning a longer hiking trip than you’ve tried before, proper off-trail training is important.
A combination of strength training, cardiovascular exercise, balance and stretching can add up to a well-tuned happy hiker. We've pulled together some of our favorite fitness tips and resources with the help of long-time AGC guide Claire Lukas.
Why: Strength training provides core strength to keep you upright and balanced. It improves bone density, increases the strength of connective tissue, muscles and tendons.
Here are a few of our favorite resources for strength training:
Strength Training for Hikers (video)
Top Three Exercises for Hikers (video)
Training on the Trail (article)
Why: Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise (cardio), is any exercise that gets your heart rate to beat at a higher rate than normal and your breathing rate to increase over a sustained length of time. Find something that you enjoy and mix it up.
Here are some suggestions for hiking-specific cardio training that you can do on your own, in a gym, or outdoors.
Stairmaster - Treadmill - Bike - Hike - Swim - Stadium stairs
Total Body Hiking Workout (article with pictures)
Hiker-Specific Treadmill Workout (article)
Why: Our brain depends on three different signals to get its information. Adding exercises to strengthen your core, legs and ankles will improve your balance and stability, reducing the risk of ankle rolls and knee damage on the trail.
These are some of our favorite resources for balance training:
Hiking Training (article)
Balance Training Exercises (video)
Why: Stretching is another important component to a successful training program and probably the most ignored. Here are a few websites with helpful stretches and suggestions for dynamic and static stretching:
You know your body better than anyone. Finding what feels good to you is the most important part of a training program. Whether it’s at home, at the gym or on the trail, your training routine should be something you look forward to and that prepares you to be a happy hiker.
For a more in-depth looking at training for hiking download our hiking e-guide, prepared and practiced by AGC guides.
Requisite disclaimer: Any exercises you read about on this site are to be attempted at your own risk. It's always a good idea to do weight lifting movements with a partner and/or spotter. Any action taken based on the contents of this website is to be used solely at your own discretion, risk and liability. Always consult appropriate health professionals before proceeding with any action related to your health and exercise. While the information provided in this article is believed to be accurate, the author assumes no liability for the use or misuse of information.