If you think hiking is a simple exercise to perform, you’re not wrong. Just choose your trail and start walking like you usually do, right? Sure. But if we’re talking about uphill hiking, then that’s a different story.
Unlike essential hiking, uphill hiking is a lot harder. Walking on ascending, uneven ground while fighting the force of gravity is not an easy feat. It will take up twice the energy you need on a regular hike.
No, you don’t need to know Physics to do uphill hiking. What you do need are good preparation and proper exercise. However, which exercise helps prepare for uphill hiking?
It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing the best pants for hiking. Choosing one of the best backpack brands for hiking isn’t going to be a factor, either. What’s essential is conditioning your body and making sure you’re fully ready for your trip.
We want to help you get ready. That’s why we prepared a simple workout plan consisting of the three best exercises for uphill hiking.
Each exercise in this workout routine strengthens your leg muscles and core. At the same time, it also builds endurance to make sure you last longer while on the trail.
Training for a Hike: General Overview
If you want to train for hiking, here’s a run-through on what you should be focusing on:
- Strengthen your core and leg muscles. With a stronger lower body, you can carry the load of both yourself and your backpack.
- Fix and improve your balance. Having the right balance ensures a stabler base that will allow you to traverse uneven grounds like a professional trekker.
- Improve your endurance. Strength is nothing without endurance. Hiking can be a lengthy activity, so having enough endurance to finish your trip is a must.
- Proper cardio is critical. Running, biking, or jogging are essential exercises for a successful uphill hiking trip.
Before you execute your workout plan, make sure that no health restrictions are getting in the way.
Check-in with your doctor and see if you’re allowed to do the set of exercises in your workout. You can work with a certified trainer if you don’t know where or how to start.
Rules for this Workout Plan
- Your training should start at least seven to eight weeks before your uphill hike.
- Strength training should be done in two (2) nonconsecutive days.
- Rest days should also be two (2) nonconsecutive days. If you feel that your body is burned out, take more rest.
- Cardio sessions will be three (3) nonconsecutive days. Avoid cardio during the last two weeks before your uphill hike.
- During the last two weeks before your hike, change your cardio workouts into an hour-long brisk walk.
- Ease up on all your hiking training routines two (2) days before the actual trip.
3 Best Exercises for Hiking
Now that you’re all set, here three of the best exercises for uphill hiking:
Squats are a staple in any workout plan. It’s an excellent all-around exercise that involves all key muscle groups (core and legs). For this particular squat, you’ll be adding a jump to develop both strength and power in your lower legs. Keep in mind that you should jump and not hop (there’s a difference between the two).
How to do Jump Squats:
- Position your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Squat down until your thighs become parallel with the ground.
- Keep your feet flat, chest up, and knees over your toes.
- From the squat position, push through your heels and explode upwards.
- Jump a few inches off the ground. Do not overdo it, or you will get tired even before you finish your set.
- Make sure your landing is soft and quiet.
- Once back in the squat position, immediately go for another jump.
- Execute the exercise 12 to 20 times.
Your back isn’t the only one that’s carrying the weight of your backpack. Your hips take a hit as well. The hip roll workout routine works by targeting the glutes and other support muscles in your hips. In turn, it will improve overall strength, endurance, and stability.
How to do Hip Rolls
- Stand on either your left or right leg – whatever leg you’re comfortable with.
- Start leaning your body at your hips.
- Keep your back straight and start lifting your other leg back behind you. It should be slightly off the ground.
- Start rolling your hip away from your standing foot.
- As you roll your hips back again, make sure you keep your body straight.
- Execute the exercise eight to 15 times on each side.
If you find it hard to balance, hold onto something stable and firm like the back of a chair. Doing so will keep your toes on the ground.
Uphill hiking involves an endless amount of stepping up and walking over things. Doing step-ups will help you get used to the pressure. This exercise Improves strength and builds endurance in both your quad and glute muscles. That way, you can overcome obstacles along your trail.
To do this exercise, you will need a stable surface that’s off the ground. A training box would be a great prop when doing this exercise.
How to do Step Ups
- Start with either your left or right foot on the ground (base leg) with the other foot on top of the step. The knee on the step will be bent.
- Step up until you’re standing with your other leg nearly straight, and you’re balanced on top of the step. Bend your base leg slightly with your other leg poised about an inch above the step.
- Pause for a bit before stepping down, returning your base leg to the starting position.
- Execute this exercise 15 times for each leg.
There you have it! Three quick and easy exercises for uphill hiking. Keep in mind that these exercises are to be done as a single workout routine. (Find the Best Hiking Watch)
That means you’ll need to do them all in one session. Make sure you do proper stretching before starting your exercise. Always hydrate before and after your workouts. Happy hiking!