If you’re lucky enough to live in the right area, hiking can be a year-round activity. However, sometimes the winter months are so brutal that it’s just not feasible to get outside for any hiking unless you plan to strap on some snowshoes or cross-country skis. Other hikers may just want to incorporate some fitness routines into their hiking lifestyle. Regardless of what’s keeping you inside for a couple of days a week, here are some exercises that are specifically designed to increase your ability and strength as a hiker.
Two of the most important muscles you use when hiking are your glutes and your hamstrings. This exercise works them both. First, place your upper back crossways on a bench and keep your feet flat on the floor, keeping your body in a bridge. Add weight across the top of your thighs in the form of a weightless barbell, medicine ball, or anything that will get you in the 35-50 pound range (you can adjust this weight up or down to start and as you get stronger). When you’re set in the position and with the weight resting on your legs, raise your hips to elevate your weighted middle and squeeze your buttocks at the top of the movement. Remember to keep your feet flat throughout the exercise. Do 10-15 reps per set.
The Goblet Squat is one of the best “all-encompassing” exercises you can do to work out most of the lower body muscles used in hiking. You’ll equally work the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. To do a Goblet Squat, pick up a dumbbell or kettlebell and hold it in front of your chest. Next, slowly squat until your thighs are level with the floor. Don’t bounce your knees, and then lift from your heels, up through your glutes. Keep your head upright and keep the weight close to your chest. Start out with 10-15 reps per set.
Reverse Bosu Lunge
As far as exercise equipment goes, the Bosu ball is perhaps a hiker’s best friend. There are countless exercises you can perform, but here’s one of the best for working your glutes, thighs, and hips. Place your front foot on top of the Bosu ball and then take a step back with your rear leg. Lower your hips until your front leg is at a 90-degree angle at the knee. Push yourself back up using your front leg and driving up with your foot. To finish the movement, slide your rear foot back up. Perform ten reps for each leg.