Hiking is more than just a part of the culture here in Colorado — for some, it’s a religion. Whether you just have a few scenic hikes planned, or are a devout hiker planning a weeklong trip, we are sharing some information to prepare your body to handle high altitude and long uphill treks
Great views don’t cost money, but they do extract a physical toll.
Hiking is an endurance sport that benefits most from a good aerobic base. That means you will benefit from increasing your body’s ability to extract oxygen from the air and move it to your muscles. This primarily relies on the efficiency of your cardiovascular system.
The second area of importance is the strength of your muscles, ligaments and tendons. It is important to have some solid leg strength when that trail suddenly turns vertical, or when you realize just how heavy that backpack really is.
To address both of these needs, we designed a workout to prepare your body to get up and over those mountains this summer, so you can enjoy those famous Colorado views.
Dynamic Warmup: Start with a good 5-10 minute warmup of leg swings to open up your hips and get blood flowing to your muscles. Grab on to something stable and swing one leg at a time, going in an up-and-down and then side to side motion. This will decrease risk of injury and help you move better throughout your workout.
Get in the cardio: Simulate the demands of the ups and downs of mountain trials by incorporating HIIT Training (High Intensity Interval Training) rather than traditional “steady state” methods. This means that after a warm up you perform a maxim (high intensity) effort for 30 seconds followed by a 90 second rest period. Repeat this cycle 3 to 8 times, 3 for beginners and 8 for advanced). This can be done on a stationary cycle (best for beginners), elliptical or running (for those who are already significantly fit). Research shows that the overall benefits of HIIT training are far superior to steady state cardio.
Build muscle climbing strength: Load a backpack with water bottles or weights to simulate a full pack. Then, don that sucker and try for 20 slow, controlled lunges alternating legs. Repeat as many times as you can
Workout finisher: With the backpack on, do 10-20 squats. Then repeat. When you can’t do any more, take off the pack and bang out a few with just your body weight. Now you’re mountain ready.
Let’s chase some views this summer!