Need to prep your body for a mountain trek? Then use these must-read ways of getting your body in the best shape for the challenge ahead. These are our experts’ top tips to reach peak performance, and help you go the extra mile on any trekking adventure.
5 Ways To Get Your Body Ready For A Mountain Trek
Get Busy with Cardio
Cardio exercises are key to building up your stamina for any mountain hike. If you’re going to be climbing up challenging and steep terrain, improving your cardio is simply essential. Fortunately, there are plenty of fun ways to train cardio. Running, ball sports, aerobics: anything that gets your heart rate up and your blood pumping is a great choice.
If we could only recommend one type of cardio workout, we’d settle on HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training). HIIT was specifically developed as a cardiovascular exercise routine and is known to deliver quick gains in stamina and strength. You can join a HIIT class at nearly every gym, follow a free Youtube class, or simply create your own High-Intensity Interval Training schedule at home.
The concept is simple: you get your heart-rate up during 60-seconds exercises, then have a short break in between to catch your breath, etc. If you want to get busy with your cardio, HIIT is a great choice to train for mountain treks.
Don’t Skip Leg Day
Another essential part of your mountain trek training routine is leg-centric exercises. Don’t skip leg day, or you’ll suffer the consequences when stuck on a steep mountain slope. Your leg muscles will be working overtime to get you to the summit, which is why you should prep them for the task ahead. Leg strength training can be done at home, allowing you to easily fit it in with your daily routine. There is a wide variety of exercises you can try, including squats, lunges, or stepping (using a platform).
You’ll find plenty of free exercise videos on Youtube, which can help you figure out which exercises work best for you. Simply mix and match those that you enjoy doing, and create a custom workout that focuses on leg work.
Another tip is to incorporate climbing movements into your daily routine. Instead of taking the elevator or escalator, use the stairs whenever possible: it’s a great way to get an instant mountain trek workout, without having to schedule the time for it!
Focus on your Core
When climbing up a steep slope, or even when carrying a heavy backpack on flat terrain, core muscles and posture are two important things to get right. Your core muscles include your abdominal muscles, pelvic muscles, and back muscles. Combined, this ‘core’ of strength is essential in keeping you balanced and supporting your posture. Mountain trekking can put a lot of strain on your core, which is why training it beforehand is essential.
Again, core training can easily be done from the comfort of your own home. Whether you follow an online training video or use an exercise ball: get crunching those abs and get ready for the challenge ahead.
Go on Training Hikes
One of the best ways to prep for a strenuous mountain hike is by going on easier day hikes. Try doing some practice runs in less challenging terrain. This not only will help your muscles prep for all-day hiking, but it’s also a great chance to test out your hiking gear. For example, the hiking boots that you plan on wear on the mountain trek. You can also choose to start practicing with hiking poles if you plan to carry these on your trek.
Plus, training hikes are a great way to learn how to pace yourself, preventing you from burning your energy too quickly when on the actual mountain trail. Yes, cardio training, core exercises, and leg workouts will get your body in great shape, but hitting the actual trails and putting it into action is also an essential part of your prep!
Mix up the Training Terrain
When you venture out on training hikes, try to mix up your training terrain whenever you can. Nearly every kind of mountain trek will challenge you with different terrains at different stages of the climb. You need to be able to hike all kinds of undergrounds, such as muddy and slippery slopes, but also sharp rocky ledges. Though the best microspikes for hiking can help you keep your grip and traction, they can’t do all the hard work for you. That is why we recommend training on different types of terrain before your adventure. Try hiking on loose undergrounds, wet undergrounds, etc, and learn how to keep yourself stable and secure.
Also, training on different terrains is a great agility work-out, helping your ankles, feet, and knees prepare for quick corrections on-the-go. So, if you have the chance, mix things up on your training hikes – and learn how to tackle every terrain with ease.