Training Series: My Hiking Workout Plan

Training for an upcoming hike? Want to remain in hiking shape?

Today, I’m going to walk through how I train for my larger hikes. I started utilizing this training in March of 2017 and in July of 2017 I am noticing some major efficiency gains. This hiking training combines cardio and strength with minimal items needed (which is perfect for me, being a minimalist and all!) It is a slight modification of this REI Training I found.

Required Items: 

  • Stair, bench or PlyoBox – 12in or Higher
  • Resistance Band – Multiple Weights (as you progress, you’ll want more resistance)
  • Dumbbells – Varying Weights (as you progress, you’ll want more weight)
  • Yoga Mat – Optional


My Training Week:

Monday – Cardio: 60 min walk. Resistance: 3-4 sets of each exercise.
Tuesday – Cardio: 45 min interval training.  Resistance: Rest Day.
Wednesday – Cardio: 60 min walk. Resistance: 3-4 sets of each exercise.
Thursday (Recovery Day) – Cardio: 20 min walk.  Resistance: Rest Day.
Friday – Cardio: 60 min walk. Resistance: 3-4 sets of each exercise.
Saturday – Cardio: 90 min easy walk or training hike. Resistance: Rest Day.
Sunday(Recovery Day) – Cardio: 20 min easy walk or training hike. Resistance: Rest Day.


Cardio Training Explained:

  • Walks: I tend to average 3-4 mph for these walks. I use these walks to keep my legs active. I am not trying to stress any muscles here.
  • Interval Training: I do a 5min warmup walk and then I begin higher levels of intensity for short bursts. My cadence is usually 30-90 seconds of a run or sprint, followed by 2 mins of my normal walking pace. I often align these intervals with a music playlist.
  • Training Hikes: It’s always best to shake up where you’re walking or training. My training hikes are often a little less intense than the longer hike I am training for. These training hikes help me get accustomed to different elevation, surface, and path incline/decline changes.


Resistance Training Exercises:

Step Ups: 

  • Stand facing your stair, bench or PlyoBox.
  • Step up with your right foot and fully extend your right hip and knee.
  • Raise your left knee/thigh to be level with your waist (left knee should be bent at 90 degrees, forming a backward lower case ‘h’).
  • Bring your left foot back down to the floor and repeat for 10 to 20 reps.
  • Switch legs and repeat your 10 to 20 reps.

Heel Downs: 

  • Stand on your stair, bench or PlyoBox. Your left foot should be hanging off the side.
  • Flex your left foot (toes pointing upward) and lower it down near the floor.
  • Bend your right knee and lower your left foot toward the ground. (Keep control over this movement. It should be nice and smooth.) Let your left heel hover just above the ground before returning to the starting position.
  • Complete 10 to 20 reps
  • Switch legs and repeat 10 to 20 reps.

Upward Chop – Resistance Band:

  • Securely attached a resistance band to a low anchor point. Position yourself in a lunge pose (left leg in front of you slightly bent as the right trails straight behind). You should be facing the direction of the anchor point. The band should be taught.
  • Without moving your feet position (though they will rotate), pull the band toward yourself while twisting  your torso (If left foot is forward, rotate torso toward the right, if right foot is forward rotate torso to your left.). The band should be traveling in a slight upward diagonal direction.
  • You should finish the motion facing away from the anchor point, hands at shoulder level, legs now in the reversed lunge position as you started. In a controlled manner, return to original position.
  • Repeat for 10 to 20 reps.
  • Switch leading foot and repeat 10 to 20 reps.

Side plank:

  • On a yoga mat, position yourself to be lying on your right side; Place right elbow and forearm on ground underneath you. Your right hip should remain on the ground. Feet should be stacked on top of one another.
  • Lift your right hip off the ground and hold for 5 seconds. (Your body should be straight on a slight diagonal angle.)
  • Lower hip back to ground.
  • Repeat 10 to 20 reps.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

Squats w/ Shoulder Press:

  • Place feet shoulder width apart. Knees should be slightly bent. Hold dumbbells at your side.
  • Bend knees and lower buttocks toward the ground. The back should remain as straight as possible.
  • As you return to the starting leg position,  raise the dumbbells above your head and straighten your arms. Lower arms and return to starting position.
  • Repeat for 10 to 20 reps.


So that’s it! Pretty simple, right!? How do you train for your adventures? Let me know in the comments below. 

As always, I must insist that you check with your physician before making any adjustments to your workout schedule. Read more about my disclaimers here

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