Friends, if you want to enjoy hiking in the mountains as much as possible without suffering from fatigue and shortness of breath on long climbs, you should take care of good physical preparation. In this article, we’ll tell you how you should train before hiking tours. Read on and remember!
It should be noted that the issue of physical preparation is voluminous and requires a lot of time to study. Therefore, this article will cover the basics of physical preparation for hiking. You can find a lot of information on this subject on the Internet or ask the author of the article on Facebook.
One of the main conditions for successful and safe hiking is appropriate physical preparation. This type of physical activity, such as hiking, is very specific. In addition, depending on the terrain in which the hike is carried out, the characteristics of physical activity will differ. For example, during a hike on flat territory, the load during the day can generally be characterized as long (7-9 hours) of low intensity, in the pulse zone of 90-100 bpm. And in the mountains, where there are a lot of ascents and descents, the load will be variable – low, medium, and sometimes high intensity at a heart rate of 90-150 bpm. At the same time, ascents at a sufficiently high heart rate will constitute a significant part of the walking time.
In general, we can distinguish the main physical quality necessary for hiking is general endurance. Depending on what we want to develop, and should build a training process. But other physical qualities, such as strength endurance, should also be maintained at a sufficient level, so that there is no narrow specialization and imbalance in physical development.
In what follows, recommendations will be provided for people with an average level of physical fitness. They may seem too easy for professional athletes and too difficult for people with very low levels of fitness.
The essence of the training process is the adaptation of the body to stress. During sporting activities, a person takes the body out of balance and creates physiological stress for it. Immediately after a workout the work capacity drops. Later on, in order to adapt to a possible subsequent load, the body automatically starts the adaptation and recovery processes, the level of fitness increases. This is called supercompensation. That is, physical performance increases not during training, but during rest. After a temporary increase in the level of physical fitness, there is a gradual decrease to the initial level.
Ideally, each subsequent exercise session should be held at the peak of the supercompensation phase. To find out more precisely when this moment occurs, you can do medical research. Of course, this is unrealistic for an ordinary person. That is why one of the main indicators for subsequent training is the desire to train, a burst of strength and energy. Subsequently you can learn to recognize these signs and the process will adjust.
To increase fitness it is necessary to periodically stress the body, i.e. the load should gradually increase. If this is not done, the level of fitness will remain at the same level. Increasing physical loads occurs when the previous ones are performed without much difficulty.
The time of onset of supercompensation depends on very many factors. Let us consider some of them:
In no case should you overtrain, force the load or frequency of exercise. This can lead to injuries, chronic diseases and disorders of body systems. The training process will stop, regression will begin. The main signs of overtraining are as follows:
Of course, at the beginning of the training process moderate muscle pain (so-called “crepature”) is a normal phenomenon. The body adapts to loads. But there is no need to increase them in a hurry, everything should happen gradually.
No less important part of the training process before a hike in the mountains, along with training, is recovery. Without proper rest, progress is impossible. Above we have already mentioned the factors that influence the recovery of your body and the quickest achievement of the supercompensation. Let us consider some recommendations for the organization of rest.
For the majority of people, at least 7.5-8 hours. It is possible and more. An additional short nap during the day (0.5-1 hours) gives a good effect.
It is obligatory to have a full and balanced nutrition. As a rule, the Ukrainian cuisine contains enough fats and carbohydrates, but proteins may be lacking. That is why you should take more protein-containing products: poultry, beef, fish, cheese, eggs, nuts, beans, and peas. With a complete diet, with enough fruits and vegetables in the diet, the average person gets enough vitamins and minerals.
But with increased physical activity, especially in February and April, they may not be enough. To solve this problem, you can take additional vitamin and mineral complexes. The course of taking 2-3 weeks 3 times a year. It is best to do this in December, February, March and April. It is best to choose products that include both vitamins and minerals. Not bad proven vitamins from Vitrum company from the U.S..
But still the best source of essential micronutrients is natural products. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables, especially in the winter. Do not forget about the winter foods such as sauerkraut, soaked apples, black radishes, raw carrots and apples, boiled beets, dried fruits. Universal vitamin and mineral complex is a real Ukrainian borscht. It is very useful to use honey – 1-3 tbsp. per day (but it should not be heated above 60 °).
In heavy training periods you can use natural biostimulants: extract of eleutherococcus or radiola rosea to increase the capacity for work. Take 20-30 drops once a day in the morning. The course of treatment is 2-3 weeks. Increases not only physical performance, immunity, but also resistance to hypo- and hyperthermia, hypoxia, exposure to hazardous chemicals and radioactive substances.
A sauna is a good way to recover from workouts and prevent injuries. It is recommended to visit it 2-4 times a month. If there is no possibility – a hot bath for 15 minutes, with essential oils, 2 times a week. Additionally – massage. Stretching the muscles after the workout speeds up their recovery by about 15-20%. Do it also daily for 10-15 minutes on days when you are not working out.
Applying these simple techniques will improve recovery processes in the body, in general facilitate the training process.
The best way to develop general endurance is to do long running, fast walking, cycling, skiing, etc. All of this should preferably be done in the fresh air – at the stadium or on rough terrain.
If a person has not been engaged in physical training or sports before, then start the training process gradually. First it is desirable to consult a therapist by examining the contraindications to physical activity (make measurements of blood pressure, cardiogram, ultrasound of the heart). If everything is normal, you should first determine a safe pulse zone. There are many methods, but the simplest is as follows: subtract age from the number 220 and obtain maximum heart rate (HR). You cannot work at this maximum – this is the limit. From this number subtract 65 and 80%. This is the heart rate range for successful endurance training.
To give you an example, consider calculating the heart rate zones for running for a man in his 30s. The maximum, “red line” will be 220 – 30 = 190 bpm. The training zone is from 190×0.65 = 124ud/min to 190×0.8 = 152ud/min. Roughly speaking, you can run at a heart rate of 125-150 bpm. Briefly, for 2-3 minutes, you can go beyond this zone, raising the heart rate to 170-175 bpm. But such accelerations are included in the training after “running up” an appropriate “initial base”.
The heart rate can be measured with a heart rate monitor or step and count every second heartbeat for 10 seconds on the clock, then multiply that number by two and then by six. It is more convenient to measure the pulse on the carotid artery. Another indicator of the magnitude of the load is how you feel: a person should run comfortably, without panting. You can breathe both by mouth and nose.
If a person has not previously engaged in physical training, it is first necessary to “run up a base” to adapt the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system to the loads. To do this two or three running exercises a week with a total duration of 40 minutes (where 10 minutes is the warm-up and 30 minutes – the main activity). The main part should be run at a heart rate of 70-75% of maximum. If your heart rate exceeds 75%, and it is difficult to run, you should switch to a step for 2-3 min, and then continue running again. When it is possible to run (without switching to a step) about 5 km in 30 minutes, you can include in your training a variable run. Preparatory sessions can be 5-6, and can be 10-15. Increasing loads are gradual and continuous.
Not bad for the development of endurance is cycling. It is recommended to carry out two or three workouts a week of 1-2 hours each. Some people just ride their bikes in the city: they go to work and to business. In this way, you can “ride” a good number of kilometers in one day. A long walk on a bicycle on a day off gives a good training effect. In the winter period you can go skiing.
In addition to general endurance – the main quality that is necessary for hikers – it is desirable to develop and maintain others. Useful in this will be strength endurance. This quality is also very useful for hiking in the mountains. To develop it use exercises with their own weight, on gymnastic equipment, with kettlebells.
When performing technically difficult exercises, it is necessary to strictly adhere to the correct technique. It is difficult to describe the correct technique in a written text, so I recommend watching a video on the Internet or consulting a trainer.
It is best to use complex (compound) exercises, that is, those that involve a large number of muscles and joints. They are “powerful”, have a complex effect on the body, and allow you to work a lot of muscles in a shorter time.
The content of exercises will depend on the equipment that is available. The more there is, the more different exercises can be performed. There are three options for the location of the classes: the gym, the house and the stadium. The gym is best, of course. But you can also train at home by buying a gym wall with bars, crossbars; find 16, 24 and 32 kg weights or collapsible dumbbells. An extreme case is a stadium with bars and crossbar. You will also need a mat for push-ups and curls.
The physiological orientation of exercises depends on the number of repetitions in a lift or the time “under load”. To develop absolute power the number of repetitions in a workout must be from 1 to 5, to develop strength and increase muscle mass – 6-12 repetitions, to develop the power endurance – 15 or more repetitions. One repetition, depending on the difficulty of the exercise can last from 1-2 to 4-5 seconds.
Different exercises involve different muscles, but in general they can be divided into the following groups:
Since the development or maintenance of strength is an additional task, it is suggested to provide one or two workouts per week. Several exercises are selected for each muscle group and performed in 1-3 approaches. This is done in order to work the muscle groups “from different angles” and to diversify the training process.
Since it is desirable to develop endurance, it is suggested to organize classes in the form of a circular workout. Something similar is now known as crossfit. But crossfit workouts are often very hard and can damage the cardiovascular system and lead to general overloading of the body.
The method of circular training is as follows: exercises are performed in a circle, with a break of 20-30 seconds between exercises and circles. Thereafter, the rest time is reduced to a minimum. The number of exercises in one circle is 2-4, all of which train different muscle groups. The more exercises in a circle, the fewer the circles. With 3 exercises in a circle there are 6-7 circles, with 4 exercises – 5 circles. The exercises selected are complex, that is, those that act on large muscle groups. The heart rate zone of such exercises is quite high, but at first there is no need to hurry with the tempo. Later you can increase the number of repetitions in exercises, weight of equipment or reduce the time of exercises and rest between them. In order to support the training effect and versatile development, it is advisable to change partially the list of exercises about once every three months.
You should start your training with approximately 70% of the maximum possible load. That is, if the maximum number of pull-ups on a horizontal bar is about 10 times, then it is necessary to start your training with 7 repetitions in one step. Gradually, if possible, on each training add 1 rep. You can also gradually increase the weight of the equipment.
Consider such exercises for the development of general endurance as alternating and tempo running, as well as walking march.
Runs at the stadium or on rough terrain. The distance is approximately 5-8 km.
If the length of the stadium track is standard and is 400 m, then the alternating running sessions can be as follows
This is a good exercise to do on rough terrain, where the climbs will replace the accelerations on the stadium. The duration of such an exercise is 30-60 minutes at a distance of 5-10 km..
Held at the stadium or on not very rough terrain. Run at the same speed at a heart rate of about 70-75% of maximum. First there is a general warm-up for 5 min. The duration of the main part of the exercise is from 35 min. You can start with 5-6 km, adding 500 m every week. Over time, the distance can be brought up to 15 km and running time up to 80-90 minutes. It is difficult to run long distances all the time, so you should alternate short and long runs.
The above-mentioned exercises in running are performed after a “base” run.
This type of training corresponds better to the specificity of loads in hiking. It is carried out on rough terrain with a backpack weighing 5-10 kg for a distance of 15-30 km. Movement tempo is 4-5 km/h. Duration – 4-8 hours. Classes can be scheduled for a day off.
The list of exercises can be quite wide: with your own weight, on the crossbar and bars, with a barbell or dumbbells. In order not to increase the size of the article, let us consider those exercises, the description of which is more difficult to find.
Starting position is standing. When doing this exercise, squat to the maximum depth, and immediately do jumping with feet off the floor. As you land, squat again and do another jump-off.
This exercise develops power endurance and explosive power of lower body muscles: quadriceps and biceps of the thigh, back extensors, tibia muscles. Can be performed with small additional weight (10 kg).
Starting position: standing. While doing the exercise we squat on one leg, gradually putting another leg straight ahead. Hands are moved out to the sides or in front of you to keep the balance. The leg on which the squat is carried out, rests on the full foot. Reaching the lowest position, we immediately begin the upward movement. If at first you can’t keep your balance, you can hold on to the support with your hand. After rising to the starting position, change legs and squat on the other leg.
This exercise develops balance, strength and strength endurance of the lower body muscles: quadriceps and biceps of the thigh, back extensors, tibia muscles.
Initial position – standing in front of the support with a height of 40-50 cm (at knee level). While doing the exercise put the left leg on the support and stand on it completely. Lift the right leg and put it on the support, and put the left leg down on the floor. Push off with your left foot and stand on the right foot and put your left foot on the support. Then lower the right leg, leaving the left leg on the support, and continue the exercise.
This exercise develops strength endurance of the quadriceps femoris, gluteals, calf muscles. Can be performed with or without weights.
This exercise is loading legs one by one and must be performed dynamically. Starting position is standing. While doing this exercise, you should lower yourself on one knee and then jump up, switching legs.
This exercise develops power endurance of the quadriceps thigh, gluteal and calf muscles.
It is recommended to perform this exercise standing because it reduces the compression load on the spine, and the stabilizer muscles of the body are activated.
Starting position is sitting on the support. While doing the exercise, take turns pulling up on the rope. The legs are straight or bent at the knees and form a right angle with the torso.
This exercise develops the strength of the biceps, forearms, muscles of the back and abdomen.
Initial position is a horizontal bar with arms shoulder-width apart. While doing the exercise, raise your legs to the bar as straight as possible, and then lower them to the starting position. Strong leg swinging is not allowed. The legs touch the bar between the hands.
This exercise develops the power endurance of the abdominal muscles, partly the forearm and back.
Initial position is lying on back with legs bent at right angles, feet on the floor, hands behind head. While doing the exercise, lift your shoulders off the floor, keeping the lower back pressed. Do not put pressure on the neck with your hands.
This exercise develops the strength endurance of the abdominal muscles.
Initial position is lying on back. While doing this exercise, raise straight legs up to an angle of about 40-45 degrees to the support and make consecutive movements, resembling the work of scissors.
This exercise develops power endurance of abdominal muscles.
For the qualitative organization of the training process it is necessary to draw up an exercise plan (schedule). While planning a training schedule it is necessary to take into account that we all work, have families, and are engaged in other activities. All this imposes an additional psycho-physical load. In addition, a person cannot constantly and continuously, for months and years, improve physical performance. That is why it is desirable to divide all training process into macro cycles that are 2.5-3 months. Between them you are supposed to have a break for seven to ten days for psycho-physical recovery. After all, not only muscular but also nervous system gets tired during trainings. Macro cycles, in turn, are divided into micro cycles of a week (seven days).
To improve physical and technical performance frequency of training should be 3-4 times a week. The minimum number of classes to support and moderate development of physical fitness level is 2 times a week. The frequency of exercise will depend on the workload at work and in the family, overall health, age. There are no set norms, you need to listen to your body and understand it. If physical preparation, free time and work load allow you to exercise more often, it is possible to do 4-5 workouts a week.
We would like to pay attention to some sports that increase the general endurance of the body. If you can do these types of physical activity, it is very good. You can include cycling, swimming, playing soccer, basketball, skiing, rock climbing in your training schedule (plan).
But be sure to keep in mind that playing sports have an increased risk of injury.
Classes are desirable to spend 3-4 hours after meals. It is better to eat 30-40 minutes after the training.
Exercise duration for the development of power endurance 30-40 minutes, and for the development of general endurance – 45-90 minutes. It takes 4-8 hours to perform a walking march.
The best hours for exercise are before lunch, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and in the evening between 5 and 8 p.m. But here it all depends on the timing and characteristics of the body. It is not recommended to plan large loads immediately after sleeping – cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems are not yet ready.
Before the main part of the lesson, we do a warm-up – 5-10 minutes. It includes stretching and warming up all muscle groups (waving your arms and legs, bending, stretching, push-ups, squats, etc.).
As an example, let’s look at several programs that consist of three to five sessions per week.
The first program is for three sessions per week:
The second program contains four sessions per week:
The following CT circuits are tentative and may change for variety and different goals. There can be three exercises in a circle, and there are 7 such circles. The principle of proportionality must be adhered to. If running (soccer) occupies a prominent place in the training system, there is no need to plan large loads on the lower part of the body in the CT program. If climbing twice a week, exercises on the muscle group that “pulls on itself” should be as light as possible. With experience, the planning will become easier and clearer.
If there is a possibility, it is better to train in a gym or at home by purchasing the necessary equipment. A crossbar, bars, a set of kettlebells are quite enough for a high-quality workout. Weight of kettlebells should be chosen depending on the level of physical training. With 32 kg kettlebells on shoulders you can squat, perform fly strokes, and with two such kettlebells you can do deadlift. For the standing press you can use 16 or 24 kg kettlebells. They are needed for hanging on a belt when you will do more than 20 push-ups on bars.
So, if you are training at the stadium, where there is only a crossbar and bars, then the CT program may look as follows:
|Exercise/Circle||Lower body||Chest, triceps, delts||Back muscles, biceps||Abdominal muscles|
|1||Jumping out||Push-ups on bars||Straight grip pull-ups||Twisting|
|2||One-legged squat||Push-ups in the prone position||Reverse grip pull-ups||Lift the legs to the bar|
|3||Unfolding||Push-ups on bars||Pull-ups with a wide grip||Twisting|
|4||Long jump||Push-ups in the prone position||Pulling up on a towel||Lift the legs to the bar|
|5||One-legged squat||Push-ups on bars||Pull-ups with loosening||Scissors|
If you work out at home, where you have a crossbar, bars and 16-24-32 kg kettlebells, the exercise program may have the following look:
|Exercise/Circle||Lower body||Chest, triceps, delts||Back muscles, biceps||Abdominal muscles|
|1||Step-up with a 16-24 kg kettlebell||Push-ups on bars||Straight grip pull-ups||Twisting|
|2||Jumping out||Push-ups on bars||Reverse grip pull-ups||Scissors|
|3||One-legged squat||Kettlebell Press 16-24 kg||Pulling up with weight||Lift the legs to the bar|
|4||Jumping out||Kettlebell press 16-24 kg standing||Pulling up on a towel||Twisting|
|5||Kettlebell swings||Push-ups in the prone position||Pull-ups with loosening|
If you work out at the gym, the exercise program may look like the following:
|Exercise/Circle||Lower body||Chest, triceps, delts||Back muscles, biceps||Abdominal muscles|
|1||Squats with weights||Push-ups on bars||Straight grip pull-ups||Twisting|
|2||One-legged squat||Push-ups on bars||Reverse grip pull-ups||Scissors|
|3||Long jump||Bench Press||Climbing a rope without legs||Lift the legs to the bar|
|4||Kettlebell swings||Push-ups in the prone position||Climbing a rope without legs||Twisting|
|5||Jumping out||Standing press of kettlebells or barbells||Vertical block pull|
The author of the article – Kuluar teamleader Ivan Kucheryavyi
Photo – pexels.com