Are you actively waiting for the seasons to turn warmer?
If you’re still waiting for the right weather for hiking, you should be working on your fitness while you’re in transition (that’s one way to wait actively). This way, you can hit the slopes with as much frequency and enthusiasm as you can muster and still feel great afterwards.
That’s not to say training ends when hiking season begins. You should continually maintain your strength so that your treks will truly be enjoyable and injury-free. Here are 5 easy workouts that you can do virtually anywhere and at any time of the year.
Although this is a pretty common routine, lunges helps strengthen your quads, which are one of the most actively used muscle groups during hikes. You can do 10 repetitions of lunges, lunging your way from one end of the room to another, making sure that your torso us upright and your knees are not going beyond your toes (you should still be able to see the tips of your shoes or feet when you look down on your foot during a lunge). The bent knee need not touch the ground as you lunge.
You can do variations of the lunges. You can lunge while holding dumbbells in both hands (arms are straight and on the sides of your torso. You can also do downhill lunges on slopes near your place so you’re able to handle those descents with more ease and less discomfort.
You can do 3 sets of 10 every other day to give your legs time to recover in between lunge days.
These helps strengthen your quads and hamstrings, as well as your glutes and calves. You can do 3 sets of 10 repetitions every other day and throw in variations. You can, for example, hold a single dumbbell close to your chest with both hands and keep it steady as you squat.
Also, make sure that your knees do not go beyond your toes as you squat. Position your feet at an angle a bit wider than your hips so that you have more leverage. Do not hunch or let your rear end scoop outward too much as you go down. Your spine must remain aligned and stable. You can practice in front of a mirror to ensure your form is correct all throughout. It’s better to do just 10 squats in the correct form than 50 in bad form as you’re straining and working out the wrong muscles in the latter scenario.
Your inner and outer thighs are also as important in hiking, so you also need to work them out so you’re less likely to strain your hip area. One easy way to do just that is by doing side skips, as demonstrated in this video. Do about 3 sets of 10 reps, or more if you’re up to the challenge.
A lot of stepping goes on in hikes, and what better way to step more capably than simulating the activity itself? You can use the steps on your stairs (if you have them where you live) or a 12-inch box or platform. Have a dumbbell in each hand (choose the weight appropriate to your current strength) and step up the box with your right foot and raise your left leg up high while you’re on the box/platform (don’t let it land on the box). Your weight should be on the right leg the whole time. Then, go back down and let your left foot land on the ground while the right foot stays on top of the box. You should not pause when you’re on the platform, the whole routine should be continuous.
Do this 10 times and then switch sides to work on the left leg. You can do 3 sets of 10 for starters and gradually go up to 3 sets of 20 repetitions.
The core – which includes the abdomen, lower back, glutes, obliques, and thighs – is very essential in any physical activity, more so in hiking, where there’s a backpack to deal with on top of the challenging terrain. To help you strengthen it without unnecessary strain on other body parts, do planks.
You can start out with your arms stretched out and in push-up position, making sure your hands are shoulder-width apart and your spine aligned and straight, with your rear end slightly pushed upward (but not too much that it looks like you’re bending over). Look straight ahead, feeling a bit of stretch in your neck, and try to feel the effort in your contracting back muscles instead of your arms or legs.
Aim to hold your planks for a minute (longer is even better). If you’re new to this, rest for 10 seconds and plank again. You can let the whole planking routine last for about 5 minutes.
You can also do variations. You can, for example, go lower and plank on your elbows instead of your hands. Make sure you do this on a mat or have cushioning for your elbows. You can also raise a foot alternately throughout the plank. You can also let one leg bend towards your chest and back in position alternately while planking.
Another variation you can try is holding your right arm off the ground and straight ahead and your left leg up and off the ground at the same time and hold this position for as long as you can. Repeat this for the other arm and leg.
Have you done any of these workouts already? Tell us what you’ve been doing!