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by Katelyn Sepmoree January 22, 2017

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Keep Your Legs Trail Ready with these Exercises 

Five Exercises to Help Prepare for Your Next Hiking or Backpacking Trip | CloudLine Apparel

Hello everyone, my name is Katelyn Sepmoree. I am a professional golfer who likes to do some recreational hiking on the side. Like with golf there are specific exercises that will be beneficial in training for your next time on the trail.

First, the best way to prepare for a backpacking trip is, of course, backpacking. However, here is a list of 5 exercises you can do in a gym to get you ready to hit the trail.


First thing to expect when you are backpacking along with carrying weight that is gain and loss of elevation will quickly raise your heart rate. As a result, most of these exercises are cardio-centric.


1. Get on the treadmill and crank the incline up

Five Exercises to Help Prepare for Your Next Hiking or Backpacking Trip | CloudLine Apparel

This will simulate the steep elevation you might encounter. Depending on the where you will be hiking, there could be a lot of elevation gained. This will quickly raise your heart rate and cause fatigue. Adjusting the treadmill to an appropriate speed and relatively steep incline will allow you to build up stamina so that you can crank out those miles.


2. Stairway to…the never-ending stairs

    Five Exercises to Help Prepare for Your Next Hiking or Backpacking Trip | CloudLine Apparel

    That’s right, the one that kicks our butt the most. The dreaded stair climber. This is actually one of the best (in my opinion) cardio machine in a gym. For an extra bonus do this exercise with your pack! Start out with a slow pace to get your rhythm and then speed it up a bit. Push yourself but not past your limits. Start with 10 mins and build up.


    Along with building up your cardio stamina, it is also important to strengthen your ankles and knees. We have all experienced what I call “noodle legs”. After a long walk and steep climb its inevitable the legs will get fatigued. Fatigued muscles increase chance of injury. Not to mention the terrain in which you will be walking over i.e. tree roots, rocks, stairs etc. could be tough on your knees and ankles.  Side note: to increase stability while walking I also recommend trekking poles.


    3. Walking Lunges

      Five Exercises to Help Prepare for Your Next Hiking or Backpacking Trip | CloudLine Apparel

      Walking lunges will hit almost all of the muscles in your legs and glutes. Combining this with walking rather than stationary will increase balance and ankle stability.   Doing 3 sets of 15 reps will be a good start. When you feel comfortable add weight by carrying dumbbells in each hand.


      4. Ankle Stability

        Five Exercises to Help Prepare for Your Next Hiking or Backpacking Trip | CloudLine Apparel

        This exercise can be done anywhere. Stand on one leg with a slight bend in your standing leg. Extend and elevate the opposite leg just slightly above the ground. Now imagine your extended foot is a pen and air draw the entire alphabet in script.

        This basically results in you moving your ankle around in circles, but writing the alphabet is a good length of reps. Repeat with other foot. Slow and steady wins the race on this exercise. Doing this exercise slower requires more control, balance, and strength.


        5. Second Ankle Stability

        Five Exercises to Help Prepare for Your Next Hiking or Backpacking Trip | CloudLine Apparel

        Same position as the alphabet ankle exercise. With the extended leg lightly touch the ground at 12:00, 3:00, and 6:00. In other words, slightly tap the ground in front to the side and to the back. While keeping a bend in the standing leg. This exercise increases knee stability, ankle stability, and balance. Complete 3 times each way on both legs.


        Remember to Stretch 

        Five Exercises to Help Prepare for Your Next Hiking or Backpacking Trip | CloudLine Apparel

        One last important note! Do not forget to stretch and elevate the legs after a long walk! If you have access to a foam roller I recommend rolling out your legs! Stretching and recovery of your muscles is crucial to avoiding injury and also helps with soreness!

        That’s a wrap! I hope these few tips are helpful and get you ready for your next adventure!

        See more of Katelyn's adventures on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and on the LPGA Symetra Tour


        Now that you know how to get fit for your next hike, read our tips for hiking solo.

        Katelyn Sepmoree
        Katelyn Sepmoree

        Katelyn Sepmoree is a professional golfer playing on the LPGA Symetra Tour since 2013. Attended the University of Texas at Austin. Graduating in 2013 with a degree in Political Science. Four year letterman on the University of Texas golf team and member of the 2011 Big 12 Championship Team. Katelyn spends her free time hiking and backpacking with friends.

        3 Responses


        April 23, 2018

        Hey, Katelyn

        All of these points you mentioned are right.

        But did you know, that all of these exercises can increase the LUNG CAPACITY of those engaged in it?

        And increased lung capacity is something we need when hiking.

        What do you think?

        Backpacking Enthusiast
        Backpacking Enthusiast

        June 14, 2017

        This is a very informative article. The exercises for preparation for a hike (or playing golf) are good ones to follow. I don’t backpack much anymore, but always enjoyed the challenge. Thanks for sharing this information. Backpacking Enthusiast

        Dave Andrews
        Dave Andrews

        January 23, 2017

        Great advice. My trekking days are over, but I keep my legs in shape looking for golf balls that I hit, by mistake, into ravines and up on the slopes of wooded hillsides on the courses where I play. A good exercise also is carrying your bag while playing golf. The extra 20-25 pounds or so helps strengthen your leg muscles. If you spray the ball like I do you can get a good five or six mile “hike” out of a round of golf. Pars and birdies this year, Katelyn!!

        Leave a comment

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