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Training for Hikers

by | Nov 21, 2018 | Training | 0 comments

When planning to take on a challenge or event, such as the national three peaks, a charity hike or a weekend away kayaking, we think of the activity specifically when we consider training.  

For instance, if we are planning to hike up Snowdon, we may start training by performing smaller hikes up hills, and work up from there. This is what we call event specific training. The benefits of such training are that the muscle groups targeted by the exercise are absolutely specific to the event we are training for. 

The downside to event specific training is that, besides finding a steeper, longer slope to walk up, our training will rarely exceed the demands of the event we are training for. 

In a series of three articles, I will look at conditioning resistance training. This is training performed either in a gym or at home, using tools that help us to exceed the demands of the event we are training for. Resistance training is training that focuses on the use of weights, rather than cardio training.  

The first of these articles will look at hill or mountain walking training. I will run through a handful of exercises that will target the significant muscles used to get us up and down a mountain. 

A workout targeting a long hike we will start at the top and work down. 

Think of walking, think of legs. We will get there, but I will start with shoulders and an exercise that will help carry that heavy bag. 


The Shoulder Press; 

For this exercise, you will need access to dumbbells. We will look at a weight that allows us to achieve little more than 10 repetitions, over three sets (3x10 shoulder presses). 

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and sit on a bench with back support. 
  2. Plant your feet firmly on the floor about hip-width apart. 
  3. Bend your elbows and raise your upper arms to shoulder height so the dumbbells are at ear level. 
  4. Pull your abdominals in so there is a slight gap between the small of your back and the bench. 
  5. Place the back of your head against the pad. 
  6. Push the dumbbells up and in until the ends of the dumbbells touch lightly, directly over your head, and then lower the dumbbells back to ear level.

The downside to event specific training is that, besides finding a steeper, longer slope to walk up, our training will rarely exceed the demands of the event we are training for. 


This exercise will likely feature in most of our workouts. The crunch targets your core, and a strong core will help with stability. Often instability can result in a poorer performance in other areas of the body. The core is just that, the central strength, so keeping it in shape is very important. 

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. 
  2. Place your hands behind your head so your thumbs are behind your ears. 
  3. Don’t lace your fingers together. 
  4. Hold your elbows out to the sides but rounded slightly in. 
  5. Tilt your chin slightly, leaving a few inches of space between your chin and your chest. 
  6. Gently pull your abdominals inward. 
  7. Curl up and forward so that your head, neck, and shoulder blades lift off the floor. 
  8. Hold for a moment at the top of the movement and then lower slowly back down. 


Finally, we will look at the lunge. The lunge targets your legs, and these need little explanation when forming a hiking workout. 

  1. Assume a hip-width stance and hold the weight in front of your chest. Begin by stepping back deeply with one leg, maintaining the hip-width stance. 
  2. Continue to lunge back until the knee of your back leg reaches the ground. 
  3. To come out of the lunge, push equally off your front leg and back leg and return to the starting position.