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How to Train Your Body for a Hiking Trek

If you think you're out of shape or not prepared for a trek, or maybe you believe you're too old for it. Why should you make the effort to get fit for a hiking trip? Most trails will tear up your quads if you're not prepared for them. You’ll still be able to trek but you won't enjoy it as much if you're not prepared and your muscles aren't conditioned for descents and ascents. Secondly, how much time do you need to prepare? If you haven't been keeping fit, you should start about two months before your hike. This allows your body to be well-conditioned in good time for your hike. Here are ways to train your body for a hiking trek:

1. Go hiking 

The best way to prepare for a hiking trek is to go right ahead and do it. Walk up and down paths and hills that are similar to whichever path you’ll be trekking (the one you're training for). Santiagoways.com offers organised group treks to Camino de Santiago that can be really fun. Here you can also get tips on how to train for that particular trail with tips on what to carry in your backpack too.

Camino de Santiago
Camino de Santiago

2. Train with a fully loaded Backpack 

It is ideal to train with a fully loaded backpack to help your body get adjusted to carrying it. You can walk to work and up stairs while carrying a heavy backpack for your body to adapt to it. There's no better way to get fit enough for your trek than actually experiencing it. 

3 Train with trekking poles 

They take pressure off your knees and help to propel you uphill. If you don’t train with trekking poles and then decide to use them on your trek, they will tire your arms and shoulders because they will use muscles you've not used whilst training.

4. Run sprints 

Run 20-second sprints on flat ground first and then advance to running them uphill. Step down exercises are the best eccentric exercise you can do for your quads. This exercise can be done pretty much anywhere. Get a step then stand on it and slowly lower your foot down until it just barely touches ground level. You don't want to transfer all the weight to your down leg. You just want to barely touch the surface and then bring it back up again. Do these in sets of 10 or 20 with the aim of doing 100 total. 

5. Do lunges 

You can do these either as a forwards or backwards lunge. You can do about a hundred of these and once you hit a hundred you can upscale this exercise by using dumbbells, gallon jugs and whatever weights you can find to increase more pressure to your legs. You can do them just about anywhere even when you're on the bus. You don't need any equipment at all. All you need is a floor and enough space to be able to do the lunge exercises effectively.

Although trekking can be fun, it can also be dangerous. Always do some kind of training to avoid body cramping and muscle damage. Also, it is important to know the trail well or have a guide to avoid getting lost and putting yourself in danger.

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