Hiking is fast becoming a favourite hobby or activity among Malaysians. You may be hiking to keep fit, or you may be hiking for the magnificent view at the top. As it goes, the journey to the top doesn’t come easy.
Having said that, we can vouch that hiking is not a skill that is born with you. You do not need to be an athlete to hike. You do not need to be born with hiking genes to hike. You certainly do not need six packs to hike. All you need is strength.
Many people underestimate the power of the brain when they hike. If you are all set physically but your brain is not conditioned to hike, we are sorry; the hike is going to be your worst nightmare for some time.
All you have to do to mentally prepare yourself is to keep reminding yourself that no matter what, you will keep going. Crawl, if you must but never stop. One foot after one foot and the mountain will reward you in the sweetest way possible. Many stumble due to not preparing their mind for what is to come.
It is going to be tough. Hiking is never easy even for the well-seasoned hikers. The mountains have their own mind and a route is never the same. But at the end of it all, it is always highly rewarding. There is a reason why hikers keep hiking even when the going gets tough. It is an experience that you need to experience at least once in your lifetime. We can bet that you will be at it again in no time.
The route might be slippery, there might be big boulders to manoeuvre, steps to climb, thick ropes to hang on to, leeches, insects, friends leaving you behind, and the lists can go and on and on. All these can be dusted off if and only if you are mentally strong. Your mantra should be: KEEP GOING.
So, now that you can work on conditioning your brain, how are you going to work on your physical strength? No, you do not need that expensive gym membership or out-of-your budget workout attires. All you need is the willingness to work out and we are all set to go.
We are here to give you workouts that you should be doing if you want to go hiking. For beginners, this will ensure that you are well-prepared for your first hike. For seasoned hikers, this will keep you in tip top condition. These are the hiking workouts that can be done at home.
These hiking workouts at home should be done at a pace that best suits you. Start slowly and steadily. Always keep in mind that the seasoned hikers were once beginners like you. Build up the reps at a gradual pace. This is highly crucial to prevent injuries that might require you to rest for weeks on end. Most importantly, breathe. Keep the breathing rhythm steady. Breathing is the key for all workouts.
Let’s move on to the routines for hiking workouts at home. We are focusing on resistance training that will strengthen your muscles, bones and connective tissues. You will be able to move efficiently and your body will be able to withstand the stress of hiking.
These hiking workouts at home can be done as complete workouts or as part of your existing workout regimen. Perform these workouts two times a week with a gap of at least 48 hours in between to ensure your muscles recover well.
Warm up! Yes, warm your muscles up! Let them know that they are going to be working hard to be stronger than ever! A 5 to 10 minutes warm up session is a must. Perform some light aerobic moves such as light jog and star jumps as well as stretches such as yoga pose to get the blood flowing.
As for the hiking workouts at home routine, use moderate resistance at the beginning. Start with two to three sets of 15 repetitions for each exercise. Be sure to rest for about 30 seconds between each set.
Now, if your breathing is not laboured and you feel great after this routine, you can gradually increase the resistance by adding weights and reducing the number of reps for each set. This will help you to get stronger. But, always maintain a steady pace to reap the maximum benefits out of these hiking workouts at home routine.
Squats are great hiking workouts at home and they are a pain in the bum (literally). Squats target the quadriceps, glutes, calves, hamstring, hip flexors, and abs just to name a few. Squats should be done in the correct form to prevent muscle injury.
Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and drop down as if you are sitting on a chair. Be mindful to keep your thighs parallel to the ground with your knees above your feet. Keep your chest up. Push your heels into the ground as you stand back up to complete one rep.
As you progress, you can add weights to your reps. You can hold sandbags on your chest or over the back as well as dumbbells at your sides. This will add resistance to your routine. You can also proceed to jump squats if you feel like a total badass.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step one foot forward and bend your knees to 90 degrees. Be sure to align your knees to be over your feet. Lower your body straight down. Push the midfoot and heel of the front leg onto the ground to stand back up. Repeat with the opposite leg to complete a rep of this hiking workout at home routine.
To add resistance, you can hold sandbags, dumbbells, or loaded packs.
The ideal height for step ups would be 16 to 18 inches high. But, if you are not comfortable with this height you can start with less and work your way towards this height. Step up onto the bench or box, bring the left leg up towards your elbow and step back down. Repeat with the opposite leg to complete one rep.
To add resistance to this hiking workout at home routine, use a dumbbell or sandbag.
This routine requires the use of resistance band. Stand to face the anchor point of the resistance band. Hold both handles of the band and step one foot back. Bend both your knees into a reverse lunge. Maintain your knees at 90 degrees. Keep your core tight. Pull both your elbows backwards. Get back to your starting position and repeat by stepping the other leg back to complete one rep.
Dumbbells are required for this hiking workout at home routine. Get to the push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet set wide. Lower the body and push back. Upon pushing back, row one elbow back till the dumbbell is near your chest. Repeat with the other elbow to complete one rep. Be mindful of the form of your plank. Maintain a flat straight back throughout the routine.
If you are not familiar with the full body plank position, you can begin with dropping your knees while performing this routine.
All these hiking workouts at home routines are going to make you stronger and fitter for your upcoming hike. Be consistent, breath, and KEEP GOING!