The Ultimate At Home Workout for Hikers

I designed this ‘at home’ workout to help you become a better hiker. During the fall months, the weather cools off and in some places the trees start to change colors. Fall is the perfect time to start hiking.

I love hiking because it’s a form of exercise that gets you outdoors and can often be a social event. It’s good for the body, mind and soul! Scientific studies have suggested that outdoor exercise can benefit your mental health along with your physical health. In fact some medical practitioners have started using outdoor exercise as part of the treatment program for patients suffering from psychological illnesses like depression.

A couple weeks ago my friend Brittany flew in from LA to pay us a visit. I was so excited to see her and share beautiful Costa Rica with my friend. We planned an ambitious day trip to the Poas Volcano National Park and the La Paz Waterfall.

Poas Volcano
We’re standing in front of an active volcano!

Our excursion involved two different treks, one to get a view of the volcano and the other a climb to the top of the La Paz waterfall which involved traversing several winding flights of stairs.

La Paz Waterfall
It was cold!

After a very active and exciting day with my friend I slept very well. But, the next morning I woke up to a set of very sore legs. I was shocked! I work out my legs regularly, why are they sore from a days worth of hiking?

Even if you’ve been working out regularly, your exercise program might not adequately prepare you for the rigors of hiking. Take me for example, I workout everyday, but my body didn’t recover quickly from our hiking trip. The exercise science term used to explain this little mystery is called the specificity principle.

The Specificity Principle simply states that to become better at a particular exercise or skill, you must perform that exercise or skill.

My muscle soreness was the result of the body performing a skill it’s not used to performing, climbing up steep hills and stairs all afternoon. My regular workouts had been designed to help keep me lean, strong, energized and healthy, but not to make me a great hiker.

After my adventure with Brittany I decided to create a workout that would specifically improve hiking skills. My mom was coming in for a visit in a few weeks and I didn’t want a reoccurrence of my post-hike leg soreness.

There aren’t any hiking trails near my casa so I selected a combination of exercises that would mimic the skills needed for hiking. This workout is designed to increase your muscular endurance while allowing you to practice the skills of climbing hills, stepping up inclines, and balancing – and you can do it at home!

At home workout for hikers

  • As always, start with a good warm-up.
  • Do each of these exercises at a quick pace, in good form, for the prescribed number of reps, then move on to the next exercise.
  • Since the primary goal of this workout is to increase your endurance, keep your rest breaks to a minimum.
  • Do this entire circuit of exercises 4-5 times.
  • Increase your reps as you become more advanced.

Walking Lunges

Walking Lunge

 

  1. Step out with your lead leg, bend your knees and lower your hips. Keep your torso erect with your shoulders directly above the hips. Don’t let your lead knee extend past your toes.
  2. Inhale and keep the spine neutral as you rise up.
  3. Step forward with the back leg and lower back into a 2nd lunge.
  4. As you preform additional reps you will travel across the floor.
  5. Beginners start with 20-rep sets (10 each leg). Advanced go for 30-rep sets (15 each leg).

Sprints

 

The Inchworm

At home workout

  1. Reach or squat down so that your hands are on the ground.
  2. With a strong core “walk” your hands out in front of you and extend your body until in a plank position.
  3. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your torso stiff with braced abs. Do not stick your rear up in the air or let your hips sag toward the ground, the glutes should be firm. Hold for 2 counts.
  4. Walk your feet up to meet your hands. Focus on engaging your core during the exercise.
  5. Beginners start with 10-rep sets. Advanced go for 15-rep sets.

Skater Jump

skater jump

  1. Cross your left leg behind your right and lower into a half-squat, your right arm out to the side, left arm across your body.
  2. Leap to the left while switching your legs and arms.
  3. Return to position one by leaping toward your right.
  4. Beginners start with 20-rep sets (10 each leg). Advanced go for 30-rep sets (15 each leg).

Rest

For 60-90 seconds walk it off! You can march in place, pace, or just walk but take a few seconds for active rest before you start with the walking lunges again.

 

I added this workout into my routine twice a week. When my mom and I did the same hiking trip together last Friday, I woke up on Saturday with no leg soreness. Success! Thank you specificity principle!

Poas Costa Rica

Do you have a favorite fall activity you want to get in shape for? Tell me about it! Leave a comment!