Getting fit for hiking is essential if planning to complete the multi-day trip or carry a heavy load on the back.

Poor conditioning can result in back pain which can lead to discomfort when sitting or standing, reduced range of motion, swelling, and muscle stiffness. Performing a series of strengthening exercises leading up to the hike can help avoid the potential stresses and strains caused to the back.

Getting Fit for Hiking

Here are eight exercises or methods to help get in shape for the next outdoor adventure:

Abdominal muscles

Use effective exercises to help strengthen the abs. Perform the bicycle maneuver or crunches on an exercise ball 2-3 times per week with 8-12 crunches per two sets.

Leg raises

Strengthen the muscles in the region of the lower back using leg raises. Lie face down and place a folded towel or similar to support the chin and give extra comfort.

Tense the muscles in the leg and left up 2-3 inches and remain in that position for 10-15 seconds. Lower the leg to the start position and repeat with the other leg. Repeat the lift seven times for each leg.


Use pushups to help strengthen the shoulders and upper back. Complete four sets of 8-10 pushups which can be repeated up to three times per week.


Hiking to get in shape is much easier when the body is provided with all-round fitness conditioning. A session of 5-10 wall squats will help to strengthen the legs and glutes which is beneficial for its ability to strengthen the core.

The glutes are involved in several areas when hiking, including keeping the pelvis level, hip flexion, and moving the legs sideways. Other exercises to strengthen the gluteus medius muscles include the single-leg squat.

Put into practice

Start walking with a light backpack to get used to the extra weight on the back. Stick to a light load for the first few weeks and gradually increase until able to pack in the full amount of hiking supplies.

Practice with short walks in the local area to make sure the load isn’t too heavy or causes a lot of discomfort.


Get enough sleep while training and in the lead up to the planned hike. Getting fit for hiking isn’t possible when the body isn’t able to rest and recover.

Insufficient sleep can have a negative impact on the body’s ability to promote muscle recovery, which is vital to strengthen and build muscles in the region of the back or elsewhere.


A regular stretching session is certain to help minimize the risk of injury out on the trails. The preferred areas for hiker’s to concentrate are the inner thigh, quads, hamstring, and calf.


Working on the balance can have an advantage in several areas of the body. For instance, it has the ability to strengthen the hips, knees, and ankles, while also improving endurance and leg strength.

Add weight to the different balancing techniques to help increase the level of difficulty.

Check out some Popular Hiking Backpacks on Amazon: