Hiking is a full-body fitness endeavor.
Scrambling over boulders, traversing near-vertical climbs, then clamoring back down requires strength, conditioning, cardiovascular and muscular endurance, stability, mobility, flexibility, and symmetry.
It’s not a simple activity—though you already know that if you’re an avid hiker.
“Making sure your body’s prepared requires training each of those different characteristics and attributes to make sure your body is ready to handle the different stresses,” says Joel Seedman, a strength and performance specialist and owner of Advanced Human Performance in Atlanta, GA.
The reality is most people neglect to train their weaknesses or adopt a holistic program. You might feel strong, but your body can start to break down from the rigors of hiking and potentially set you up for injury. Cross training—specifically strength training—can keep everything strong and healthy. “You can bulletproof your joints and ensure your muscles can absorb force, rather than placing the impact on your joints and connective tissues,” Seedman says.
To give you a comprehensive plan, Seedman created the ultimate hiker’s workout. It’s a series of moves that’ll strengthen your entire body, focusing on unilateral movements that can pinpoint weaknesses and strengthen stabilizing muscles that’ll go a long way in helping prevent injuries.
The Ultimate Strength Workout for Hikers
Work through these exercises in a circuit. Complete all moves for their recommended reps, then start from the top and cycle back through for two total rounds.
“Keep up a fast pace, because the conditioning and cardiovascular components are obviously critical,” Seedman says. Because this is a full-body strength circuit, you’ll have local recovery between exercises that work different body parts and muscles, so you can train everything without having your heart rate drop too much.
Use this cross-training program—or any other full-body strength training program—two to three times per week.