Advanced Conditioning Program

Optimizing your strength and endurance

By Kim Bowerman

This routine is for those who go for intense hikes regularly or have an established fitness routine. To help you stay fit for your next outdoor adventure or to get you ready to climb the next peak, try the routine below, developed with hikers in mind.

Advanced Cardio Component

If you aren't able to get out on the trails as often as you'd like, but already have a cardio routine, then maintain that routine and continue to increase your weekly cardio minutes each week. Weekly increases should be no more than 10 percent of your total minutes from the previous week. Following this protocol will ensure that you don't injure yourself or overtrain.

To make your cardio workout more specific to hiking and backpacking, add the following:

Stair-climbing intervals (stadium stairs are ideal):

  • Run all the way to the top and back down
  • Repeat for a total of 6 to 10 intervals
  • Increase intensity by carrying weighted pack, but not until you are fit enough to complete 10 intervals without the pack

Hill running:

  • Run from bottom of the hill to the top, jog back down
  • Repeat for a total of 6 to 10 intervals
  • Increase intensity by finding steeper / longer hill or by introducing weighted pack to workout

Note: Only increase workout intensity when you are able to complete 10 intervals at current intensity level. Once you increase the intensity level, start at six intervals and work up to 10.

Advanced Hiking Strength Program

This strength program is geared toward those who have already undergone basic strength training. If you have not done any basic strength training, or if you have not done so in a very long time, start with the Basic Strength Program for the first month or two and then move onto the Advanced Strength Program. The following is the advanced program with two circuit training workouts.

To get the most out of your advanced program:

  • Start with at least 10 minutes of cardio activity to warm you up (e.g. skipping, running, cycling on stationary bike, etc.)
  • Do the strength circuit, as follows
    • Complete one cycle (all eight exercises) of the strength-training circuit
    • Five minutes of cardio
    • Complete another cycle of the strength-training circuit
    • Five minutes of cardio
    • Repeat above if you do a third cycle
  • At least five minutes of cardio as a cool-down exercise

Strength-Training Tips

To get the most out of your strength training:

  • Make sure to follow the repetitions prescribed for each exercise
  • There should be very little rest between exercises
  • The entire circuit should be completed at least two times
  • After completing the first circuit cycle, do five minutes of cardio and then start second circuit cycle.

Click here for advanced training exercises

Remember to Rest

Don't think rest is part of your training? Think again. Proper rest allows your body to rebuild and recover, which helps to prevent overtraining and injury. Take an "easy week" every 3 weeks or so. While you should still work out, decrease your minutes slightly, do one less strength workout and take one extra rest day for that week.

About the Author

Kim Bowerman is Nomadik's very own physical trainer and calisthenics advisor. A graduate of the University of Guelph 's BSc in Human Kinetics, Kim is currently the fitness coordinator at a corporate fitness centre. An avid hiker no matter what the season, Kim has climbed Vietnam's highest peak, and trekked trails through out the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Laos and Myanmar. Her next destinations are Nepal and the Canadian Rockies. If you have any questions for Kim, feel free to drop her an e-mail.

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