Conditioning for Hiking
We’ve all had an epic year of adventures on the trail!  You should feel really good about the fitness gains you’ve made over the season. It’s important to maintain (or even improve) your fitness in the off-season so that your body is ready to handle hiking and backpacking the trails again next spring.
But you don’t need to spend hours in the gym hitting every body part in conditioning for hiking. *Keep it simple and start with perfect form.


Training Rules with Exercises:
  • Stand tall
  • Abdominals contracted
  • Chest open while slightly engaging the shoulder blades (spine neutral)
  • Stay slow and controlled with exercises
  • Have fun!


These 5 exercises will keep you strong and fit in the off-season:





Conditioning for Hiking
1.  Squat to Knee Pull with Arm Overhead
(Targets total body)
    • With your feet about shoulder width apart, push your hips back into a squat position.
    • Go back as far as possible, keeping your spine in a neutral position.
    • Stand up tall and pull your right knee in towards your chest. Simultaneously reach your left arm towards the ceiling.
    • Hold the balanced position for 2-3 seconds before going back down into the squat.
    • Repeat the sequence for 30 seconds; switch sides.
    • Add a dumbbell to increase difficulty when stability improves.



Conditioning for Hiking
2.  Scap Pinch to Push Up
(Targets back stabilizers, chest, shoulders, back of arm and core).
    • Start in a push up position with arms straight, but not locked.
    • Keep shoulders pressed down away from your ears.
    • Pinch (retract) your shoulder blades together without bending your elbows.
    • Release (protract) the shoulders blades slightly, hold for 2-3 seconds.
    • Then lower into a push up.
    • Press back up, hold 2-3 seconds.
    • Repeat the sequence up to one minute.
    • Easier: Modify position from knees.
    • Harder: Try lifting one leg 1-2 inches off the floor.



3.  Lunge to Diagonal Reach Back
(Targets thighs, hips, glutes, core and balance)
    • Start in a stationary lunge position with your right foot forward and left foot back. Your weight is even on both legs.
    • Lower down into a lunge, keeping your weight even on both legs. Don’t let your right (front) heel come up off the floor.
    • As you straighten both legs back up, reach one arm up and back at a diagonal with your abs pulled in tight.
    • Go back down into your lunge, then reach with the opposite hand as you straighten the legs.
    • Alternate your arm reaches with your lunge for 30 seconds.
    • Switch legs and repeat the sequence.
    • Alternate reaches across the midline of the body to change it up!



Conditioning for Hiking
4.  Bridge March
(Targets hips, glutes and core)
    • Lie on your back with your feet at hip width and arms out wide at a 45 degree angle.
    • Push your hips up into a bridge position.
    • Alternate lifting your heels up while keeping your hips still (stable). Don’t let your hips lower.
    • If successful with the heel lifts, add a alternating foot lift.
    • Keeping making the marching movement bigger and bigger without letting your hips drop.
    • Do the bridge march for 30-60 seconds.



5.  X-Mans
(Targets the entire back side of the body)
    • Lie on your stomach in an ‘X’ position with your arms and legs wide.
    • Pull your abdominals in and retract your shoulder blades slightly, but breathe comfortably.
    • Slowly lift the arms and legs and squeeze your glutes. Hold position for 2-3 seconds.
    • Slowly lower down and repeat the sequence.
    • Keep your arms and legs long – no bending the elbows or knees!
    • Make easier by just doing the upper body or just doing the lower body to start with. You can also alternate arms or alternate the legs to it make easier.
    • Bonus move: Add rotation by opening your chest to one side. This will challenge the sides of the waist.



Combine these 5 exercises with a 20-60 minute walking, biking, running, swimming, or rowing program 3-4x a week and you may even improve your fitness for the 2015 season!


*Consult your physician before starting any new exercise program.

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