Tag Archives: Exercise

Training For Your Next Great Hike

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Photo credit: Ian Coble

Do you have an adventurous challenge coming up? Perhaps you’re a year-round athlete or outdoorsman (or woman), but some people like to take a few months off to enjoy other activities, spend time with family, maybe you’re busy with work or school. If that’s the case, now is the time to start preparing your body to take on its next hike. If you’re looking to reach a higher peak (literally or metaphorically), Backpacker has some tips to get you in shape and keep you healthy.

THE EXPERT
Jordan Smothermon,
head coach at StrongSwiftDurable in Jackson, WY
“We understand that mountain athletes put their bodies on the line,” he says, explaining his coaching philosophy. And you’ll never hear him ask what you bench. “The way to test our fitness is: If the weather changes, can we get down or out quickly and safely?” That’s the true measure of mountain fitness.

If You Do Nothing Else to Get in Shape for Hiking, Do These

1. Crunches.
2. Squats.
3. Lunges.
4. Push-Ups.
5. Step-Ups. 
Weight a pack (20 lbs. to start) and step onto a park bench 16 to 18 inches high. Add 5 pounds a week until you’re at 40 lbs. Add to your workout three times a week until you can do 700 steps in less than 30 minutes.

Three Best Exercises to Get in Shape for Hiking

1. Lunges
Hold equal weights in both hands (pro tip: buckets of nails look tough). From a standing position, step forward until both legs are bent at 90 degrees. Push up, bringing rear foot forward. Repeat with the other leg.

2. Poor Man’s Leg Curl
Lay flat on the floor and scoot your hips toward an elevated bench. Place your left foot on the bench. Lift your right leg up as high as you can bear. Press lefty down into the bench, clench your glutes and hammies, and raise your hips off the ground. Do 10, then repeat for other leg.

3. Band Walks
Tie a resistance band around your legs, mid-shin, so there’s tension while you stand with legs at hip-width. Stand straight, tuck abs, put hands on hips, and walk forward while maintaining the band’s tension between your shins.

The One Thing You’re Doing Wrong

MAKING SO MUCH DARN NOISE!
Athletes sometimes express emotion by yelling or grunting. That can be detrimental to their performance, because if They’re grunting, they’re thinking, This is hard, how am I going to make it? They’re already losing the mental game. Better bet: Focus all your output into the exercise, and none toward the noise.

5 Helpful Things to Say to Someone Trying to Get in Shape for Hiking

1. It’s hard. It’s supposed to be. Smothermon: Pacing is key here.
2. Suffer in silence. Stoicism is much more badass (see above).
3. One rep at a time.
4. Keep going. More of that.
5. THE MOUNTAIN DOESN’T CARE.

Plus one thing not to say: Good job!
Smothermon: Good job means ‘good enough.’ That’s not the goal.

Basic 9 Week Early Season Training Calendar

Smothermon advises building a good, early season strength base. When the season gets on and you need more endurance, you can easily trade short-burst power for long-burn performance. Think of your muscles as a savings account for fitness. As you move from segment to segment, build on the fitness and strength gains you’ve made.

Weeks 1-3
STRENGTH ➞ 3 days per week, 1 hour/session. “Put on strength now and you’ll have muscle that you can later sacrifice to build up your endurance.” Keep rest periods to a minute or two: “No time to flex in front of the mirror.”

Weeks 4-6
ENDURANCE ➞ 1 day per week for 45 minutes at moderate intensity (e.g. jogging, hiking)

Weeks 7-9
INTENSITY ➞ Increase weekly endurance workouts to 1.5 to 2 hours, and add 1 day of high intensity exercise with high output but less weight (e.g. speed hiking).

Ready for more? Check out our complete training archive for hikers of any age here.

Prepare for National Trails Day

backcountry-avalanche-safety-snowshoers-940x564Looking to get out on snow while you still can? In the Trails.com Snowshoeing section you will find everything from easy snowshoe trails to overnight backcountry snowshoeing and winter camping trips. They have winter trails everywhere from sno-parks and winter playgrounds to remote backcountry lakes, canyons, and mountain peaks – something for snowshoers and “winter hikers” of all abilities and experience levels. Each snowshoeing trip is a complete chapter from a snowshoeing guidebook and includes a detailed trail map, driving directions to the trailhead, and a clear description of the route, all produced by well-known outdoor guidebook publishers. Every snowshoe route is linked to USGS topographic maps from the trail overview page, and many also offer a host of additional features like photos, regional locator maps, and avalanche danger assessments. To find a great snow trail for you, just click on the link. Then browse by selecting a specific region or “Top Trail” from the list, or by simply clicking on the interactive state map. Get out, enjoy the trails, and tag us in your photos!

BCA + Atlas Winter Giveaway

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We’ve teamed up with Backcountry Access (BCA) to give away a pair of Atlas Endeavor backcountry snowshoes and BCA Scepter adjustable ski poles. Make your next snowy adventure the best one yet! This prize has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $320 but you can enter today and take home this prize for free!

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BCA + Atlas Winter Giveaway - Enter Now!

New registrations received by March 10, 2017 will be eligible to win. Winner will be selected by March 15, 2017 and contacted by email and phone by March 31, 2017. All fields must be completed for valid contest entry. Complete contest rules are available here.

About BCA

The “Access” in Backcountry Access means a lot more than just getting after it in the mountains. Since 1994, BCA avalanche safety gear has been designed to make backcountry riding and snow safety more accessible: more widely available, affordable and easy-to-use. The “A” in access also stands for access for all backcountry users, no matter what the means of travel. BCA dedicates discretionary spending towards promoting avalanche education, not restricting access to the backcountry. For more information or just to get stoked, visit backcountryaccess.com.

Winter Cross-Training

Winter Cross Training

What do you know about klister, gaiters, depth hoar, and wet butt syndrome? More often than not, northern athletes spend their winters doing a combination of snowshoeing and Nordic skiing and are all too familiar with the terms.

As one of the most rapidly growing winter activities, snowshoeing has been driven by the development of new, lighter, and smaller snowshoes that allow runners to maintain a more normal gait. Older wooden shoes — the kind you see hanging up on lodge walls — forced snowshoers to waddle to avoid stomping their shoes into each other. Now, however, with smaller asymmetric frames, runners on snowshoes are able to maintain a sub-six pace on snow.

Manufacturers like Atlas Snow-Shoe Company have designed a full line of snowshoes that range in size and weight, including smaller shoes for light hiking or running. Cognizant of the growing popularity of the sport, companies have sought to introduce snowshoe-compatible multi-sport winter footwear for exercising in the cold and wet.

A key figure in the engineering of the new breed of sleek snowshoes is Bill Perkins, a.k.a. “Snowshoe Willie,” who helped make Leadville, Colorado a snowshoe capital of the U.S. Perkins, who has been snowshoeing for more than twenty years, designed one of the earliest models of racing shoes in 1988 using aluminum tubing out of frustration with the shoes that had been available to him.

The synergy between running and snowshoeing also worked for Wayne Nicoll, an avid snowshoer in New Hampshire who touted “one training the other.” Nicoll had snowshoed for most of his life but didn’t race until he saw there were 60+ age categories in various New England races.

Beginning snowshoers who are in good running shape may want to start by hiking for their first time out. One training method is to track a one- to three-mile loop and do repeats, going faster each time. The snow will get packed down and you may feel comfortable running before long. Another technique is to work in short blasts of speed, especially on short climbs and descents. Running downhill in fresh powder is a real treat.

-Adam Chase (Atlas Team Captain)