Training For A Hike: Get Ready With Our Easy Guide


If you are planning a hiking trip, preparation can help increase the potential for success. In addition to getting all the necessary hiking gear, you should make sure that you are in good physical shape before taking off.

Training for hiking is the most ideal way to get in good physical condition before grabbing your hiking backpack and trekking poles. If you are new to hiking, you may not know how to train for a hike. In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about training for hiking.

Creating a Training Schedule

When creating a training schedule, you need to figure out the type of hike you would like to do. Will you engage in a strenuous day hike to the mountain summit? Or are you planning an overnight hike in the wilderness? Maybe you want to be part of a challenging long-distance hike?

For all these hikes, you will need to be in good physical condition. There is, however, a major difference between training for a long-distance backpacking trip and a 1-day trip.

As long as you have average fitness, you should be able to complete a 1-day hike. To prepare for a single day hike, walking more often may be enough.

Overnight hikes and long-distance hikes, while carrying camping gear, are pretty different. Training for these types of hikes will require much more than basic exercises – you will need a workout routine. The workout routine should help you do the following:

  • Increase strength in the main muscles needed by hikers. Stronger core muscles and legs will have the ability to support the load you pack in your backpack and help you hike longer and harder.
  • Build endurance in the core and leg muscles, as well as your lower back and shoulders. Being an all-day activity, hiking requires a lot of endurance.
  • Improve balance. This ensures that you are more stable, helping you navigate uneven terrain more easily.
  • Improve your cardiovascular endurance.

You should create your schedule early enough and start training for hiking approximately eight weeks before your long hike. While the training schedule largely depends on personal preference, you can achieve an ideal mix of workout types for each week by using the following schedule:

  • Two non-consecutive days of strength training.
  • Two non-consecutive days of rest – take more rest time if your body needs it.
  • Three non-consecutive cardio sessions.

How to Train for a Hike – Strength and Cardiovascular Training

Strength Training Exercises

Before you start any of the following exercises, there are some things you will need to keep in mind to avoid hurting yourself. These include:

  • Make each exercise fit for your body, not the other way around.
  • If an exercise hurts, skip it, or modify it.
  • Move at a pace that favors you. Go slow at first. Increase the repetitions or consider adding resistance as you progress.
  • Warm-up before the exercise. a 5- to 10-minute walk should help you warm up.
  • Always inhale during the initial exertion. Always exhale when returning to the start position. When you are doing faster exercises, focus on breathing regularly.
  • Rest for about 30 to 45 seconds at the end of every exercise.

Note: Always remember that you are training so that you can have fun once you wear your hiking boots and hiking pants. If you hurt yourself, you may have to skip the hiking trip.

1. Jump Squats


Squats are an ideal all-around workout for all the muscles in the legs and lower body in general – you will need all these muscles during your hiking trip. Adding the jump to your squats helps you develop more power in the lower legs. The steps below will help you execute jump squats:

Step 1: Starting with both feet about shoulder-width apart, squat down until your thighs are approximately parallel with the ground.

Step 2: Keep the chest up, knees over the toes, and feet flat.

Step 3: When coming up from your squat, push through the heels, explode up, and jump a couple of inches up.

Step 4: Land quietly and softly and immediately goes into another squat. Repeat 15 to 20 times.

1. Hip Roll Exercise

If you will be carrying a hiking daypack, most of its weight will be riding on the hips. The hip roll exercise will work the glutes and other groups of muscles supporting the hips – this should improve both endurance and stability.

Step 1: Stand on the left leg.

Step 2: While keeping the back straight, lean your body forward at your hips. Next, lift the right leg off the ground slightly, behind you.

Step 3: Roll (rotate) your hip away from the standing foot.

Step 4: While rotating the hip back, be sure to keep the body in a straight plane

Step 5: Repeat 10 to 15 times on each side.

Tip: If you are finding maintaining balance being tough, consider holding onto the back of a chair.

2. Step Up Exercise

When you are out hiking, you spend the whole day stepping up and over numerous things. The step-up exercise helps you build endurance and strength in the quad muscles and the glutes – this helps you handle all the obstacles you may come across.

This exercise does require a prop – you will need a stable surface, approximately 8 inches from the ground. If you do have an aerobic step or a training box, use it. If not, the bottom step on your flight of stairs should be ideal.

Step 1: Start with the left foot on the floor. Place the right foot on the step or training box – the right knee should be bent.

Step 2: Step up until you are standing with the right leg close to being straight and you are well balanced on top of your step. The left leg will be slightly bent and then the left foot approximately an inch above the training box.

Step 3: Pause for a moment on the balanced position and then step down, returning to the starting position.

Step 4: Repeat this 15 times on both legs.

3. Heel Down Exercise

After stepping on top of a log or boulder, getting down will require that you have the ability to lower both the pack weight and your body while staying under control. This is key to ensuring that you do not end up with stumbles and leg injuries.

The heel down exercise will work the quad muscles and glutes, giving you enough balance and strength to step down efficiently and smoothly. For this exercise, you will need to use a stable surface, about 8 inches from the ground, as a prop.

Step 1: Start by standing on top of the stable surface, balanced on the right foot and with the left foot hovering over your side.

Step 2: Lift the left foot toes up and then bend the right knee while slowly lowering the left leg, until the left heel is poised just above the ground.

Step 3: Power back up using the right leg until you get to the starting position.

Step 4: Repeat 15 times on both legs.

4. Squat Curl Overhead Press Exercise

In this exercise, you will be combining the squat with lifting a moderate amount of weight. The squat will work the lower body muscles while lifting the weight will help you develop the energy you need to take your backpacking backpack on and off while on the trail.

You will need a pair of lightweight dumbbells to perform the exercise.

Step 1: Stand with your feet about a shoulder-width apart, the arms on your side, holding one dumbbell in each hand.

Step 2: Press the hips back and squat down (as if you are about to sit on a chair). Try bringing the thighs parallel to the ground.

Step 3: Power back up and return to the starting position. Use the upward momentum to help you while you curl up and then press the dumbbells overhead, with your palms facing each other.

Step 4: Go back to the initial position and then repeat ten to fifteen times.

Tip: Keep the neck and back in a neutral position. Avoid rounding the shoulders or craning the neck when performing the exercise. Ensure that the knees are not going past the toes during the squat.

5. Bridge with Hamstring Curl Exercise

The bridge will engage the core muscles and hence help you improve balance. The hamstring curl will help build the hamstring muscles and the glutes – this will help with the uphill sections and other sections that may require using trekking poles.

For props, you will need a medium-sized exercise ball. To make sure the ball size is ideal, sit on it – if the tops of the legs are parallel to the floor, the ball is ideal for you.

Step 1: Lie on your back with the arms extended down on the sides. The heels should be resting on top of the exercise ball.

Step 2: Tighten both the abs and the glutes while pulling the legs back, rolling the exercise ball toward the butt.

Step 3: Stop when the knees are bent at approximately 90+ degrees.

Step 4: While rolling the ball away, extend the legs straight.

Step 5: Repeat about 15 times.

6. Side Plank with Leg Raise Exercise

Planks help exercise leg muscles and the core muscles, including the glutes and obliques. This exercise adds a leg raise to the plank, helping build endurance in the muscles which support hips and the muscles that move.

Step 1: Lie on the right side, supporting yourself with the elbow under your shoulder. The right arm should be perpendicular to the body while the left-hand rests on the left hip. The left elbow should be pointing up and the feet and legs should be stacked on top of each other.

Step 2: While raising the hips into a plank, tighten your core. You should create a straight line from the feet to the head.

Step 3: Raise the left leg up and slightly back slowly. While doing this, keep the leg straight and the hips still.

Step 4: Lower the leg and raise it about 10 times. Repeat 10 times on the other side.

7. Hip Clock Exercise

After donning their hiking shoes and hiking gloves and spending the whole day on the trails, most hikers complain of knee soreness and fatigue. The hip clock exercise helps you build strength in the hips – this can help prevent knee issues by offering you improved control over the knees.

Step 1: Stand while ensuring that your weight is balanced on the left leg and the left knee is slightly bent.

Step 2: Ensure that your back stays straight and your weight is centered over your standing knee.

Step 3: Now, imagine that you are standing at the center of a clock. Lift and then extend the right leg, reaching forward to the 12 o’clock.

Step 4: Bring the leg back to the center. Repeat the same movement toward 9, 6, and 3 o’clock positions. While reaching for each position, maintain balance, and do not allow the hips to shift from side to side.

Step 5: Shift to the other leg and repeat. Do five to eight sets on each leg.

Cardiovascular Training

At this point, you should know how to train for a hike in terms of strength training. Doing cardio training before the cold weather hike or summer hike is extremely important too.

The ultimate goal of cardio training is to optimize the body’s recuperation power. Cardio will help you improve endurance. It will also help improve the body’s ability to repair itself after a long day of hiking.

Cardio training includes:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Cycling

The key is to push the body to the point of fatigue. However, avoid pushing the body to the point of exhaustion.

Start with light exercises while increasing the heart rate. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of the workout. Eventually, you can consider adding weights to the exercise.

Globo Surf Overview

Training for hiking is extremely important. If your body is not ready to handle the challenging trails, you won’t have a successful trip. If not knowing how to train for a hike had been holding you back, this guide should help you.

It is important to note that mental preparation is as important as physical training. Surprising downpours and cold weather are some of the major challenges you may have to deal with on the trails. To face these challenges, you will need mental strength.

More Backpacking/Hiking Reviews:


  1. How to Train for A Long-Distance Hike In 5 Easy Steps,
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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!