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How do You Train?
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Kyle Purcell
(dufus934) - F

Locale: North Texas
How do You Train? on 11/08/2007 16:27:30 MST Print View

Just thought this would be a cool thread. How do you get ready for a backpacking trip. Either short or long, post your training experiences, routiens, etc. Okay....go!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: How do You Train? on 11/09/2007 07:00:50 MST Print View

I do nothing more than my usual routine of light weight training and bike riding. Maybe that's why I'm always sporting a "backpacker shuffle" after a 12 mile day...

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: How do You Train? on 11/09/2007 07:29:39 MST Print View

I find keeping a solid but not super strict running routine year round works very well for me. At the very least I get out 3 times a week. Two of those runs being tempo with quick hill sprints and the other doing circuits (running backwards, crossovers, skips and full out sprints around a local cemetery). The third day is for endurance so I either go out for a run exceeding an hour and fifteen minutes or I will go for a hike. I enrolled in a yoga class last summer which I still participate in every Thursday.
To keep myself going year round I make sure to sign up for small 3-5 mile races every few months to make sure I keep it up. As the saying goes "Your race results will last on Google forever". This year I made my goal the Herc Open speed hiking race in Vermot this past August. While I was the last to finish the long course in my race class, I also beat the 1/2 course cut off time by 20 minutes and the full course time by 2+ hours. I considered that success for a non-competitive hiker. This year I am eyeing the New Hampshire marathon next Oct

Kyle Purcell
(dufus934) - F

Locale: North Texas
weights on 11/09/2007 08:37:07 MST Print View

Do any of you guys think that lifting weights helps or hurts backpacking stamina?

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: weights on 11/09/2007 08:51:23 MST Print View

Not really sure if it hurts stamina, but it seems like too much lifting adds heavy useless muscle. Increasing muscle mass from things like pushups, pull-ups and other various calisthenics seems like it would do more good for all around power and strength. I will admit that you must be comfortable with yourself to join a Yoga class which is more often than not all women (such as the one I am in), but the power and strength you gain from some of the poses they have you do is incredible. Just make sure to eat things easy on the stomach the day of the class :)

Check this link out. I do some of these exercises on one of my running days and it has been great for overall strength.,7120,s6-238-263-266-11953-0,00.html

Edited by Jkrew81 on 11/09/2007 08:52:41 MST.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: How do You Train? on 11/09/2007 12:13:04 MST Print View

Train? I mostly don't "train", I just try to lead an active live and walk whenever I can. My training for backpacking in generally just going out and doing it. If I haven't been out for awhile I will start out doing 10 miles / day and increase that at a comfortable rate.

If I haven't been able to get away for a month or more, I just make sure my every day pack's weight is approx the same as my backpacking pack. This is pretty easy because my day hike pack and sometimes my "going into work" pack will have 10+ lbs of camera gear... which, when added to other things like my laptop often ends up being heavier than my backpacking pack.


Edited by verber on 11/09/2007 12:14:02 MST.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: How do You Train? on 11/09/2007 13:47:42 MST Print View

Most of my days, (3 days a week), are either 8 1/2 or over 15 miles.
Every other week I usually do 25+ and about once a month or two I'll do 35+.
About every 3rd week is a much shorter week.

Keeping this us keeps me in shape to do 100+ miles any time I want. You get plenty of repetition doing these distances to be in really good shape.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: How do You Train? on 11/09/2007 14:26:29 MST Print View

I just try to keep active as much as possible. I bike about 8 miles a day to and from class whether I want to or not, so that helps a lot. If i plan on doing a big mile trip, I try to run 5ks around town or treadmill about 3 times a week. I usually am very lax sticking with it though and end up doing it about once a week. I like to do weight lifting to keep general fitness levels up and have the strength to do other things like kayaking. You don't need much arm strength for backpacking, but it is important to have a good core, especially with a hipbeltless pack. Training for backpacking is pretty much like training for any other activity. as long as you make logical training choices, the harder you train (to a point) the better results you will have.

David Thul
(thuldj) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: How do You Train? on 11/13/2007 23:47:47 MST Print View

I train for backpacking a lot of different ways.

I do a lot of cycling because I enjoy it but it is also good for overall aerobic endurance. I also run 2-5 days per week. I mostly do speed work and hills, things like that. High tempo, med-high volume.

I also lift weights. I don't believe that building muscle mass hurts my endurance at all. That being said I am not a body builder. I also am not small, my weight is around 180lbs, height 5'11". I think people have misconceptions about how to lift for endurance and how muscle mass affects you. That being said, personally, the low weight-lots of reps style never seemed to be difficult enough for me to gain significant (or helpful) muscle from it so I lift higher intensity fewer reps.

I like to compare hiking styles to running types: sprinters, middle distance and distance runners.

I think of my own style as "middle distance". My range is usually between 5 and 15 miles per day so I think the extra muscle I have from lifting keeps me strong through these shorter distances much like an 800, mile or 2 miler would be.

Matthew Swierkowski
(Berserker) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: How do You Train? on 11/14/2007 10:43:54 MST Print View

I'd say that I normally just try to keep a generally good level of fitness by walking, inline skating and weight training. I used to cycle regularly too, but a prostate injury (from cycling) has made it so that I can't sit on a bike seat without major discomfort.

I had never really trained for a hike before until this year. I had a trip planned to the Sierras (9 days of hiking). I got my rear kicked on a hike earlier in the year prior to the Sierra trip, and was concerned that I would not be able to do what I had planned in the Sierras (8 - 10 mile days). So I started a regimen of walking with a pack on with some weight in it. I started doing this on sidewalks, but moved from NC to VA during the training. Where I live now I am close to a park with actual trails in it, which is a far superior workout to walking on the sidewalks.

At any rate, after about 3 months of this my fitness level for hiking was vastly improved. I went from doing 5 - 7 mile days to being able to do about 10 - 12 mile days now. This "epiphany" has got me trying to ramp things up further to comfortably get up to 15 miles a day.

Simon Harding
(SimonHarding) - F
Training on 11/14/2007 13:53:12 MST Print View

100 pushups, 100 crunches some other exercises, squats, 100 jumping jacks (silly, I know), stretches, back bends (prone, legs lifted, stretch arms back, squeeze shoulders together) and some other stuff, every morning except tues and thurs. Takes about 20 minutes at home.

50 pushups and 50 crunches every evening. I don't know why. I just do it.

4:30 am tues and thurs at the gym, 30 minutes on stairclimber set fast, followed by the above excercise routine and some others added, then 30 minutes of weights and other stuff at the gym weight room. I spend about an hour and 45 minutes.

Saturday AM, the same gym workout.

Sunday, yoga. Sometimes I swim, but its with the kids....

The yoga has been great for adding flexibility.

I add yoga MWF at noon when I can make it.

And I walk the dogs two miles most evenings, with heavy Danner boots on just for the helluvit.

I used to swim, but got bored with it after ten years, and my shoulder was acting up. I used to run, but my right knee hates it.

As for adding useless muscle mass I kind of figure the payoff has been the loss of useless fat around my midesction.

I am a big believer in being careful what you stoke the boiler with, rather than trying to work it off after you have put it in the boiler. But I also believe staying fit is worthwhile for innumerable reasons. And upper body strength can be helpful, especially if you run into something unforseen while backpacking. I also do trail maintenance work, and the upper body strength and back strength (my old back pain is gone), help when humping a saw or Pulaski all day.

This works for me, but the trail usually kicks my tail the first day or two!


Andrew :-)
(terra) - F

Locale: Sydney, Australia.
How do I train on 11/16/2007 00:36:24 MST Print View

Currently - Kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, running, Ocassional yoga (the missus is a yoga teacher).
Hope to start back at MA training (Muay Thai/BJJ) if schedule suits.
How this relates to hiking? I find that...
Frontsquats, pistols, deadlifts and farmers walks all help strengthen joint structure (plus the obvious muscle strength increase). The deadlifts put meat on your trapezius and lower paraspinals - you don't know the pack is there. Although I don't train for hypertrophy specifically.
The running and MA training is great for general fitness, as are certain kettlebell movements.
The farmers walks are great for ankle stability and proprioception.
The yoga is great for recovery abilities - reduced muscle tonus (reduced O2 & nutrient requirement) when relaxed etc.

Albert K.
(archer) - F

Locale: Northeastern U.S.
Mix it up. on 01/19/2008 20:22:01 MST Print View

Run - 3 days per week, about an hour a shot, year round (various courses, some hilly, some flat, sometimes I go slow, sometimes fast), plus:

May - Sept - Swim 3 days per week (1 mile per sesson), Yoga 1 day per week

Oct - April - Indoor bike trainer 3 days per week (40 min per session - it's way less fun than swimming);

Plus, year round:

Push-up, pull up, ab work out (Pilates machine) - 2 days per week

My 16 year old daughter still kicks my butt....

Edited by archer on 01/19/2008 20:24:11 MST.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Mix it up. on 01/21/2008 22:43:16 MST Print View

I mix it up alot too.
But at the moment, I ride to uni pretty much every day (I'm often in on weekends so its pretty much 5 days a week) on my MTB with panniers, with plenty of hills. Its 14.5km each way, and takes 28-50 minutes each way, depending on traffic, how Im feeling, and which direction Im goin (elevation differences).

I also run at least a couple of times a week for a minimum of 5km each time...often after I get home from my ride.

Every couple of weeks at the moment I go up into the hills and do a heavy pack training session up big rocky hills for at lesat 3 hours, with pack weights starting around 30kg.

I also do the odd body weight excercise...sometimes Ill do some abs excercises whilst relaxing in front of the TV, do some chin ups on the clothes line, push ups, etc.

I have just finished building by "jumping box", which is a 25" cube. I have a medicine ball that I hold whilst jumping onto it. Given how well conditioned my legs are from all the riding I do, its mainly a core workout...and its a really good one!

I also just bought a pair of old 5kg dumbells and will be doing alot of work with them.

I want a decent set of in combination with the 25" box, I can try out the "Jones crawl" workout... These guys know how to train...

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Re: weights on 01/22/2008 08:46:01 MST Print View

Jkrew81 wrote:
"Not really sure if it hurts stamina, but it seems like too much lifting adds heavy useless muscle"

This is complete b.s.
Unless you are lifting to gain bulk and you will not become a muscle bound body builder. A standard weight lifting program consisting of three sets of 10-12 reps will build muscular strength without a massive increase in bulk.

The idea behind weight training is that you keep you muscles balanced so that your do not incur injuries. For example; many backpackers will suffer from pronated shoulder aka rolled shoulders due to carrying packs (despite weight). A simple weight lifting routine that works the muscle in the upper back responsible for pulling your shoulders back and down will keep this problem from happening. This is just one example of muscular imbalances that backpackers can face. Some other are:

Pronated Shoulders
VO Strength imbalance (legs)
Lower back strain
Weak abdominals
Exterior calf weakness
Knee instability

Keep in mind that these muscular imbalances are more likely to occur in long distance backpackers (aka overuse injuries). Also you are able to train these muscles effectively by participating in various cross training programs. In my opinion it is much more effective to use a 30 minute weight lifting routine done twice a week to keep your body in balance. That way you get to spend more time actually hiking!

Edited by chadnsc on 01/22/2008 09:01:16 MST.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: How do You Train? on 01/22/2008 19:46:00 MST Print View

I try to get as much rest as possible.

Anitra Kass
(Anitraten) - F

Locale: SoCal
training on 01/22/2008 21:18:21 MST Print View

I think Chad is on to something. The most common muscular imbalance injury that I've noticed is when someone has a very strong calf muscle but the antagonist muscle (the opposing muscle), in this case the tibialis anterior muscle, is under developed comparatively (if you run your hand along your shin bone and pull your toes up toward the shin you should be able to see this muscle flex. It's to the outside the shin). This imbalance usually leads to shin problems.

Another muscular imbalance I see a lot (I coached and competed collegiately) is in the shoulder. Many people tend to be naturally much stronger in the front (anterior) shoulder muscles but naturally weaker in the back (posterior) shoulder muscles. This can lead to significant shoulder hunching. Make sure if you are doing shoulder that you not only do front and middle deltoid exercises but that you work your posterior deltoids and scapular muscles in addition to your typical back muscles. It's important.

Typically, people who are worried about "bulking up" should stick to low weight, high reps. It typically leans you up without bulking up. Much of this "bulking up" is considered to be genetic or has to do with the amount of testosterone one's body is producing. That's why women (who are not on steriods) aren't as big as men...we have less testosterone than men.

If you are really worried about bulking up or you just hate lifting then I would recommend at least doing some body weight exercises, tricep dips on rocks after you run, pushups, abs, pull-ups if you can find a suitable bar and maybe get yourself some resistance tubing so you can work all muscle groups but it's not like lifting.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: training on 01/22/2008 23:47:34 MST Print View

additionally if you are doing alot of endurance excercises, (running, walking, etc), you won't bulk up anywhere near as much as you are also training your body to do that. Your body reaches an equilbirium.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: Re: Re: weights on 01/23/2008 05:45:50 MST Print View

Hey Chad,
I guess I should have clarified my thought alittle better. Free weights with low weight high rep's def serves a strong purpose to gain strength and stability. I was thinking more along the lines of workouts on weight machines that isolate certain muscle groups. Either way, to each his/her own. Whatever makes your body strong and makes you feel good is what you should do.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
How do You Train? on 01/23/2008 09:29:25 MST Print View


Edited by skopeo on 04/24/2015 23:37:05 MDT.