Right now we are all stuck in our homes for an unforeseeable amount of time and while this can be rather discouraging it is also an excellent time to get yourself prepared for your next big adventure.
Hopefully, depending on the state of the world, I will be doing a big hike at some point this year, possibly even two. My plan to prepare was to go to the gym and crush the stair-master as often as possible and then do as many steep hikes as I could, however, gyms are closed and everyone is currently staying in their homes to prevent further spreading COVID-19, as they should be. So I’m taking this time that I’ve been given to prepare my body from home and these are some of the exercises that you can do from home to prepare yourself for your next big adventure as well.
The main types of exercises we’ll want to focus on are core, cardio, and legs/glutes.
CARDIO is important for what should be obvious reasons. High cardio capability will allow you to hike more strenuous hikes without getting as exhausted and most importantly without getting out of breath. These are a few exercises you can do at home to work on your cardio:
Burpies: while this is no one’s favorite exercise it is a great one. This high cardio exercise is an excellent full body movement that not only gets your heart rate up but also works your core, legs and arms.
Jumping Jacks: they’re such a basic exercise but who says that moves need to be hard to be effective? Try to stay light on your feet but keep up a quick pace with your jacks in order to really push yourself.
Bonus if you have stairs or even one step: jump on and off of your step with both legs glued together. To work your calf muscles more try to bend your knees less and swing your arms less and rely on pushing with your toes and feet.
CORE is important because it keeps your body stable while hiking. It is especially important if you’re going to be carrying a heavy backpack as it takes a strong core to hold yourself in a proper position to not hurt your shoulders or back when carrying a heavy load.
Plank: is actually one of my favorite exercises which is probably a bit masochistic of me but whatever. Plank is an amazing full body exercise that can test your limits. Not only does it work your core but you’ll also feel it in your legs, glutes and arms.
Mountain climbers: are also a good full body exercise. A fast pace will give you an awesome cardio challenge, you’ll feel your glutes, core, legs and arms on this one. Not only that but I mean, they’re called mountain climbers, seems like they should be on this list…
Bicycle crunches: works the oblique’s which you’ll need as your moving, twisting and changing shapes depending on your hike you’re doing. If there’s clambering of any kind you’ll bet that your oblique’s will be put to work so they’re an important part of your core to keep strong. You can modify your bicycle crunches to having straight legs, having your leg go straight up rather than bent, or working on one side only for a certain amount of reps before switching to the next.
Scissor kicks: are another exercise that doesn’t take too long to feel the burn. Scissor kicks will target your lower core and the movement of them challenges your balance as well as works either side of your core well. It also works almost as a distraction as sometimes the moves where you have to be still can seem to drag on forever. You can either do small, quick, fluttery kicks or you could fully lift your legs one at a time and lower slowly for a full scissor kick.
LEGS and GLUTES are probably the most obviously important muscle grouping to prepare for hiking. If your legs and glutes are weak you can only take yourself so far and push yourself so much. This is especially important to train if you’re planning on doing any steep uphill treks.
Leg lifts: lay on your side and lift your leg straight up to activate your glutes. If you want to really feel the burn you can make a series here using leg lifts as the base. You’ll want to challenge yourself by doing holds, pulses, and kick-backs as well. If you set your reps and do all of these ensuring you don’t set your leg down between moves you’ll really feel the burn.
Squats: are kind of the most evident to get ready for your hike. You’ll be having to do lots of steps upwards depending on your hike and each one is like a tiny squat, so in preparing your legs and bum with deep squats you’ll be ready to take on that mountain. Try different variations like sumo, pistol (lol), and jump squats.
Lunges: again, seems like it makes sense right? Try out different style lunges like forwards, backwards, deep lunges, pulses, or lunge dips to really up the challenge level on your lunges.
Hopefully some of these exercises will keep you motivated and get you better prepared for when you can get outside and to that big hike you’re dreaming of. While we can’t get to the gyms or on all the trails we can keep ourselves active and encouraged in these quiet days at home.