Exercises Hikers Should Avoid And Better Options

by | May 21, 2020 | 0 comments

Exercises Hikers Should Avoid And Better Options

Today we’re going to discuss exercises hikers should avoid and better options. This is especially important if you’re training for a long-distance hike. There are plenty of exercises for hikers, but which ones should you avoid? Which one are better options? Let’s look at some popular machines and see why they aren’t the best fit. We will also cover what some better options would be.

Good Exercises vs Bad Exercises

Now I’ve mentioned before that there’s no good exercise or bad exercise but context here is really important. For example if you’re recovering from like a groin strain you’re going to need machines like the abduction/ adduction machine. Or maybe if you injure your quads need the knee extension machine to help rebuild strength. As rehab machines they work great. They can isolate the the muscles that you need to help you with your recovery.
The downside is a lot of times these movements don’t really look like regular everyday movements. They may not be the best use of your time in terms of getting in and preparing for a hike. With that context of good vs. bad
exercise out of the way, let’s look at some exercises. I’ll provide the best alternative you can do instead to get the most bang for your buck.

Exercises Hikers Should Avoid And Better Options

Avoid Bicep Curls

One exercise that isn’t going to serve hikers very well is the standard bicep curl. Yeah, you may need to lift your pack up and that’s sort of a curl moment. But that is going to be such a very small percentage of your actual hike it’s not really worth training that on its own.

A better exercise might be a curl and a press. This exercise is going to now incorporate more of a functional movement pattern and it’s also going to up strength in the shoulders. Which is going to be really helpful when you’re actually heavier pack on your back.

Better Exercises for Triceps

The next exercise we’re going to talk about is tricep extensions. Again this is a really isolating movement for the
triceps on the back of the arm. It doesn’t really serve hikers a lot of purpose. The only time you use
your triceps on a hike is pushing your trekking poles into the ground.
A better option would be some sort of a dip which is going to incorporate the chest and shoulders a lot more. This is going to create a more stable platform for your pack. I like to think of dips as the squat for the shoulder such a great movement so much benefit it’s definitely worth putting in your program.

Skip The Pec Deck

The pec deck or the pec machine this machine is really great at isolating the chest which hikers don’t really need a ton of.
So instead we’re going to look at push-ups which are going to work the arms the chest and the shoulders as well as some back muscles. Push ups offer more benefit and are a lot more functional. Definitely a better option than doing the pec machine.
Steer Clear of The Hip Abduction/Adduction Machine
Next up is the hip abduction and adduction machine. This is when you sit in the machine and spread your legs and then close them again. Could it be more awkward?
In place of that exercise I’d suggest lunges, especially at angles. Like a 45 degree angle to the right or to the left even side lunges would be a great option here. Way more benefit and way more functional for the body than just the isolating movement of the machine.

No Knee Extension Needed

The knee extension machine this machine is super popular in gyms because it’s great at targeting the quads. For hikers I prefer more closed chain exercise. A closed chain exercise is where your feet are on the ground. A knee extension machine would be an open chain exercise. Closed chain is more beneficial for hikers since our feet are on the ground most of the time. Sitting down and swinging your legs in the air against resistance can isolate the quads, no doubt. However, for hikers, they are not the best option.
Better options would be the deadlift, squat, single leg deadlift, and Bulgarian split squat. Pretty much any leg exercise except for that knee extension machine.
How many of these exercises for hikers were you doing? Will you be trying the better options to prepare for your hike? Comment below and let me know! Hopefully you’ve found this helpful as you look to refine your exercises for hiking. Happy Trails!

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Lee Welton