As rewarding as backpacking can be, it also places a high pressure on your body. Even if you carry a light pack to lighten the load, the kilometers will not hike themselves. Spend some time preparing your body before your journey, and you’ll be more likely to conclude each trial day cheerfully weary rather than terribly hurt and drained.
This training schedule is intended to target parts of the body that bear the majority of the strain on the course. The idea is to strengthen your core and primary leg muscles while also increasing your endurance in those same muscle groups.
Here’s a brief outline of how to prepare for backpacking:
- Build strength in the primary muscles that do the hard lifting. Stronger legs and core muscles can withstand large loads while also assisting you in powering up the path.
- Increase your endurance in the same muscular groups, as well as your shoulders and lower back, because backpacking is a day-long exercise.
- Improve your balance so you have a more secure foundation and can tackle uneven terrain in stride.
- Don’t forget about your exercise. Complement any strength-training program with activities you love, such as trail jogging, bicycling, or any cardiovascular activity.
Consult your doctor or a trained training professional before starting any training program.
Training Schedule for Backpacking
Begin training 8 weeks before you want to go hiking. A decent week’s worth of workouts should include the following (although feel free to change this program to suit your needs):
Strength training on two non-consecutive days.
Take two non-consecutive rest days; take more whenever you feel your body requires it.
three non-consecutive cardio workouts up until two weeks earlier
Two weeks before your trip:
Change your cardio days to lengthy day hikes (60+ minutes each) with a pack that weights roughly 80% of your trip weight. Add a fourth day of hiking training to one of your strength-training days.
Training Exercises for Backpacking
As you train, keep the following in mind:
- Make the workouts match your body,
- If something aches, alter or avoid the exercise—and take extra rest days if necessary.
- Move at your own pace, starting slowly.
- As your training advances, increase the repetitions or add extra resistance or weight.
Warm up by going for a quick 5- to 10-minute walk or jog.
- Inhale throughout the first effort and exhale as you return to your starting posture. Simply remember to breathe frequently throughout quicker activities.
- Rest for 30 to 45 seconds after each exercise (unless otherwise specified).
- Perform each of the exercises listed below once in succession, then rest for two minutes before repeating the set (a third set of exercises is even better if you have time).
Squats are a common fitness program staple because they give a fantastic all-around workout for all of the muscles in the lower body and legs—your body’s main engine. Including a leap helps to increase lower-leg power.
Hip Roll Exercise
The majority of the weight of your backpack is carried on your hips. This exercise improves the stability and endurance of the glutes and other muscles that support the hips.
Step Up Exercise
Hiking with a backpack requires an unending number of stepping up and over obstacles. This workout strengthens endurance in your glutes and quadriceps muscles, allowing you to manage whatever hurdles you come across on the route.
Heel Down Exercise
To get down after stepping on top of a rock or a log, you must be able to regulate your body and pack weight. This is critical for avoiding knee injury and stumbling. This workout strengthens your glutes and quadriceps muscles, allowing you to move smoothly and effectively.
Single-Leg Deadlift Exercise
As you center your weight over each side of your body, this exercise stimulates your hips and core muscles to build strength and balance.
Squat Curl Overhead Press Exercise
This exercise combines a squat to strengthen lower-body muscles with a rapid rise of modest weight to build the strength you’ll need to lug your backpack several times down the course.
Because not all backpacking activity is in a straight line, this workout prepares you for trail twists and turns. It improves your balance and core rotational power by strengthening your upper and lower abdominals, obliques, glutes, and leg muscles.
Side Plank with Hip Dip Exercise
Backpackers often complain about lower back fatigue. This exercise combines a plank with hip mobility to improve core endurance and reduce low-back pain.
The Benefits of Training
Training will help you to have a more enjoyable experience on the path. Instead of being exhausted and unpleasant when hiking, you may concentrate on having fun and taking in the beauty of nature. If you’re not over-exerting yourself, you’ll have more energy to explore side trails, snap photographs, enjoy your time in camp, or do whatever makes you happy. You’ll be able to carry more food or luxury goods if you have steel quads, such as a Kindle, tiny travel game, or flask. The advantages do not cease after the journey is completed. A healthy individual requires less time to recuperate after a vacation and has more favourable recollections of the event.
Why is training important for backpacking?
Backpacking requires training since it improves your physical fitness and stamina. It helps you to easily carry a big backpack, minimizes the chance of injury, and improves your entire hiking experience.
How long should I train before a backpacking trip?
The length of your training plan is determined by your present fitness level as well as the complexity of your backpacking trip. Before beginning on a moderate to difficult backpacking excursion, strive for at least 6-8 weeks of rigorous training.
What are the key components of backpacking training?
Cardiovascular conditioning (hiking or aerobic activities), strength training (particularly for your legs, core, and upper body), flexibility exercises, and balance training should all be part of a well-rounded backpacking training program.