Do you wish you were in better shape for hiking? Do you wish your legs didn’t immediately feel like they were going to give out the second the trail starts to creep up an incline?
I’ve been there! I’m sure I’m not the only hiker who struggles with this, but I’ve also never been a gym rat or been able to commit 1-2 hours of my life most days of the week just to working out.
Going on walks or hikes for 1-2 hours or more? Sure! But it’s far too easy for our fitness (and our hiker legs!) to plateau if we only rely on walking or hiking to get in shape.
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This 10 minute lower body, at home work out for hikers is perfect for you if you’re looking to shake up your walking or fitness routine but don’t have a ton of time, space or money to commit going to a gym or building out a home gym.
Remember: I am not a doctor or licensed medical professional. Always consult with your doctor or licensed medical professional before starting any new exercise program. Any information I provide is based on my own experience and training as a certified personal trainer. If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain or shortness of breath at any time while exercising you should stop immediately.
Lower body workout for hikers
Start off by simply moving moving your body and getting the blood flowing for 90 seconds – walking/marching in place, stepping side to side or even some jumping jacks if you’re ambitious.
Then we’ll do 60-90 seconds each of the exercises listed below.
I like to use either the Time Timer app on my phone to set a 30 second timer and to repeat. Or you could use online-stopwatch.com to create interval timers for each exercise, so it keeps looping for you and you know when to switch exercises.
Workout equipment needed:
Something heavy! You could use kettle bells, dumbbells, I like the adjustable dumbbells so I can change the weights on them over time or depending on what exercise I’m doing.
Or you can get creative and use gallon jugs filled with water or sand, bags filled with rocks, or even your loaded backpack – anything that will add some weight and give your muscles a challenge.
I guess what I’m saying is – no excuses here! Just because you don’t have weights on hand or don’t want to buy new weights, that doesn’t mean you can’t start working out today.
And you don’t need to start out with a large amount of weight. If you’re just starting your fitness routine – no judgment here! – you can start with just 5 lb weights and increase that when you feel ready. The most important thing is that you just start.
At home lower body exercises for hikers:
- Squats, for 90 seconds
- Lunge, for 90 seconds
- Calf raises, for 60 seconds
- Side lunge, for 60 seconds, alternating sides
- Step ups, for 90 seconds, alternating legs
Then add another 90 seconds of simply moving your body to help bring your heart back to normal and calm your muscles back down. Walk or march in place or step side to side, just to loosen up your legs.
Finally, finish with some gentle stretching. Focus on your quads, hamstrings, calves and hip flexors.
Use this preset timer to prompt you to rotate through the exercises!
Of course, you can make this workout harder or easier by using heavier weights, lighter weights or no extra weight at all on the squats, lunges and calf raises.
If you’re ready for even more of a challenge, before starting the lunges, place one hand on your hip and a weight in the other hand, extended straight up above your head and shoulders. Then do your lunges, alternating between each leg, and then switching the weight from one hand to other about half way through.
Using that kind of lop-sided weight will engage your entire core while lunging and make your body work a little bit hard to stay balanced. This is totally optional, just a way to switch things up and challenge your body in a slightly different way.
To make the calf raises a bit more challenging, you can either increase the weight you’re holding or even switch to a single calf raise instead of standing on both feet together.
Or if you have the time, you could do 2-3 rounds of this workout instead of just one.
If your main fitness plan is based around micro-workouts like this or the 10 minute Total Body Workout, try to squeeze in a short workout 5-7 days per week in addition to your regular walks and hikes.
For more active lifestyle and hiking tips, check out:
- 10 Minute Total Body Workout For Hikers
- How To Prepare For Hiking In The Mountains
- How To Hike Your First 14er
- How To Make More Time For Hiking