Terra Firma Adventures

Hiking & Backpacking Strengthening Videos

Kristopher Artz June,2013 No Comments
Hiking & Backpacking Strengthening Videos

My daughter is nearly 9 and we have been talking about doing some overnight backpacking trips this summer . This is great and I am very excited, but it means I really need to be able to carry additional weight in my pack. The reality is that even though she will carry much of her own stuff, I will be taking more food and gear than if it was simply myself, and she will need some assistance carrying things. That’s why I have been researching various strengthening exercises that will help me to hike farther while carrying the things she will require but add a little too much weight to her pack. I am not a physical trainer nor do I profess to be  an expert when it comes to “exercises or muscle building, or training”… I have done a fair amount of research but I base much of my knowledge on my past hiking and backpacking experiences. In this post, I am more or less cataloging the short demonstration videos and a few articles I have found that I think are quite helpful.

Warm Ups:

As often occurs with any strengthening exercise, comes the loss of flexibility. In order to counteract that, I try to incorporate as many different and varying stretches as possible, plus it is best to stretch before a workout.

Here is an exercise routine I found that is specifically designed to warm-up before hiking…The video is kind of cheesy but I think the warm ups are pretty good.

Calf Stretch Warm Up…

and one for some simple stretches…


Anyone that has done a fair amount of backpacking with a heavy pack knows the importance of strong shoulders when lifting to put on or take off their pack, so here is a yoga video that primarily focuses on strengthening your shoulders…

For the weight room lovers out there here are some weight training exercises that will help. Get this…the trainer in the video is named “Chef Buff”! Pretty funny, and although I personally dislike the gym and weight lifting, we do have some small free weights that I will use to do many of the exercises he demonstrates.

Shoulders & Hips…

This one may make you look silly, but I think the balance, and leg work out you get  far outweigh the shameful stares.

Core & Lower Back:

Now we’re getting into it. Bending, twisting, turning, longer than normal strides over rocks. Almost all of the movements required while walking on uneven terrain while carrying a heavily loaded pack require a significant amount of core and lower back strength so here are a few I am doing.

 Pike Exercises…

Sit Ups…

This isn’t the technique you learned in your high school gym class. It’s a video that uses a product called an “abmat”  but I have seen other videos where people use a folded towel at their lower back instead.

Plank Position Push Ups…

Very good instructional video on proper form…

Lower Back…


One of the first things that I notice gets sore when I am carrying a heavy pack is my neck. Here are some from a chiropractor. Who knows more about the neck than a chiropractor?

Total Body:

The Bear Crawl…

Can you feel the burn?



As often occurs with any strengthening exercise, comes the loss of flexibility. In order to counteract that, try to incorporate as many different and varying stretches as possible. I am just doing the same old general stretches I learned in high school gym class and various sports that I have participated in. Examples are toe touches, torso twists, elbow pull stretches, and toe circles to name a few.

As you can see, I tried to touch on many of the critical areas associated with backpacking and I linked to short, concise videos which I feel make it much easier to understand the proper technique and potential problems one might encounter. I hope you have found the videos helpful or at the very least moderately entertaining. Please feel free to leave your comments or exercises that you feel I can include.

Here are some links to more information that I came across during my research. I hope you find them to be helpful too.







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