If you are a hiker looking to get strong and prepare properly for hiking season, you are in the right place!! As a Certified Personal Trainer and someone who has worked in the fitness space for over 8 years now, my greatest passion is helping people feel equipped and fit for their outdoor adventures! And quite frankly, this needs to be talked about more because it can make ALL the difference in overall enjoyment of difficult hikes. Simply put, putting in the work off the trails is crucial to crushing it on the trails. This workout is ideal for building strength specifically for hard ascents or backpacking trips.
Perform these moves as supersets (2 exercises, back to back) for 3 sets of 12 reps each, then move onto the next superset. Rest as needed between sets but minimally between superset exercises. Make sure the weights you use feel challenging – if you reach the 12th rep easily, the weights are too light for you my friend!
Exercise #1: Weighted Step-ups
Placing one foot up on a stable surface and holding two dumbbells, push off of top leg as you bring the bottom leg up to stand fully on the step. Repeat, keeping top foot up the whole time. Switch legs after 12 reps.
Exercise #2: High Cable Rows
Using a rope or handle attachment on a cable set-up, pull towards your face, keeping elbows high. Squeeze through your upper back and shoulder blades. Complete 12 slow reps.
Exercise #3: Deadlift
Using a barbell, kettlebell or two dumbbells, hinge the hips back while keeping knees only at a slight bend (do not squat). Lower weights down to shin height, keeping back flat, core tight and shoulders back. Complete 12 slow reps.
Exercise #4: TRX Mountain Climbers
Placing feet in TRX straps, lift up so feet are hovering and palms are supporting you. Keeping your core tight and your body in a straight line, slowly draw the knees in and out, one at a time. Complete 12 reps per leg slowly.
Exercise #5: Elevated Reverse Lunge
Place a weight plate or small, stable step on the floor in front of you. Holding two dumbbells, start with both feet on the plate/step. Take a big step backwards with one foot, lunging down to tap the back knee to the floor. Keep other foot planted on plate/step as you continue lunging back. Switch sides after 12 reps.
Exercise #6: Lat Pulldowns
From a seated or kneeling position, grab onto bar/handle attached to cable system with arms fully extended overhead. Keeping the core tight, pull elbows down by the ribs, bar to chest and squeeze through the back muscles. Complete 12 reps.
Exercise #7: Single Leg Glute Thrusts
Laying back on the floor, place a dumbbell on the hips. Plant heels and shoulders firmly down, then lift your hips/butt off the ground, squeezing at the top. Complete 12 slow reps, ideally holding at the top for 5 seconds per rep.
Exercise #8: Side Plank Crunches
Begin in a side plank position. With the hips elevated, crunch your top knee to your top elbow. To modify, simply lower the bottom knee as a kickstand for support. Complete 12 reps per side.