Spring time is hear and it's time to start lacing up the trail shoes and heading to the mountains. If you have taken the winter off from hiking no worries but if you want to step out on the trails ready to take on whats ahead add these 5 exercise into your routine. By adding strength and stability exercises into your regiment you can take on the technical trails and the steep ascents with confidence. Whether your taking on the AT or going for your backyard hike in Bent Creek these exercises will help increase your trail fun.
Foot Circles, by adding clockwise and counterclockwise foot rotations along with dorsiflextion(bending the foot up) and plantarflexion(flexing the foot down) 20 repetitions of each is a great way to warm up the ankles before starting the hike. This also builds strength and stamina in the small stabilizing muscles of the ankle. For those who are prone to roll their ankle this is a great exercise to keep the ankle strong to meet the demands of the unstable surfaces on the hike.
Calf Raises, to strengthen the ankle by hanging your heels drop off of a step then press through the ball mound of the feet as you lift your heels. I have found that throwing calf raises into my workout has kept me from cramping and having stiff ankles when the miles get long.
Lunges, these will help produce the power to climb up rocky technical terrain and when the mountain side starts to feel like going up a wall. I have my clients all work on basic movement patterns to help with body awareness in unstable environments. Incorporate front lunges, reverse lunges, side lunges to practice strength and stability in multiple planes.
Side Planks, core strength helps to keep the body stable and aligned which helps from having poor trail posture. For the backpackers or daypackers this will help prevent over straining the spine under the weight of the pack. There are many variations of side planks, my recommendation is to start with the knee down and arm strait. Work on building up to 30sec on each side for 2-3 sets each workout.
Flutter Kicks, laying on your back legs about12 inches off of the floor, hands under hips, lower back flat then begin to alternate small kicks. These are typically counted in a four count where four kicks equals 1 rep. Flutter kicks are a great core strengthening exercise specifically targeting the hip flexor muscles.
2 X PER WEEK, 2-3 SETS
20 Foot circles each direction & front to back
20 Calf Raises
20 Front lunges, reverse lunges, side lunges
30 Second side planks
20(4 count) Flutter kicks