10 Best Exercises For Hiking That You Need To Try

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On the day of the hike, I always feel uncomfortable even before I leave my bed. Out of sheer habit, I force myself to go out to get some fresh air and get ready then I start packing for hiking.

Throughout the course of packing, I go through a feeling of almost dread, and more times than once, I convince myself to hike next month before my friends show up at my door and force me to go with them.

After I leave my house and eat something along the way (Tip: Avoid hiking on an empty stomach, always eat something 1-3 hours before your hike to keep your energy levels up during the hike), I start feeling good and slowly as I talk with my friends about the hike, I start getting excited about the things I am going to see and do.

However, this only happens when I have prepared physically & mentally for the hike depending on the trail, and I am ready for almost everything. And more often than not, I back off if the terrain is difficult or if I haven’t trained for a while.

Hiking, depending upon the trail, can become pretty demanding. Yes, you get to see great views, explore and be in nature, But all of this happens only when you are fit enough to hike without exhausting yourself to the point that you can’t stand straight.

So, If you haven’t hiked before and are thinking of trying it, or you have hiked before and now are thinking of undertaking tough terrains, these 10 exercises mentioned below can help you in building the endurance, balance, strength, and flexibility required to complete the hike:

people hiking

10 Best Exercises For Hiking

If you have never hiked before, then just add a few of these exercises to your current regime so that you are training for hiking alongside your usual fitness program.

(I don’t think you need to perform all of these exercises to get good at hiking. Performing even five of them consistently will get you amazing results. Moreover, consider following the workout routine mentioned below.)

These exercises will help you in building the strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility you need to hike without getting injured and too tired, making your hike more enjoyable.

If you are hiking to lose weight, then start with easy trails while performing these exercises consistently. Moreover, consult a doctor before attempting a hike to ensure that you are physically & mentally ready.

1. Surya Namaskar

I know it’s not the traditional recommended exercise for hiking.

To begin with, Surya Namaskar is not even an exercise, it’s a sequence of 12 gracefully linked yoga poses. However, this yoga pose, also known as the ultimate asana, will help you in building flexibility, strength, endurance, and balance for the hike.

These 12 yoga poses that you will perform in sequence consist of poses like Ashwa Sanchalanasana, which builds leg strength, balance, and flexibility, Bhujangasana, which strengthens the spine and makes your upper body more flexible.

So, If you are going to add only one exercise to your current routine to get good at hiking, add this one. You will see the difference within a few weeks.

Muscle Targeted: Most lower and upper body muscles

Sets: Perform 10 Rounds daily

Woman Jogging

2. Jogging

Jogging is the easiest and most effective way to build endurance and strength. If you are going to challenge a tough terrain, jogging twice a week will build your confidence and endurance to complete the hike.

If you are hiking for weight loss, adding jogging to your routine will maximize your results. Moreover, If you are not following any diet, then start one. Hiking combined with jogging and a proper diet will help you in reaching your weight loss goals a lot sooner than you expect.

I would recommend following the keto diet or intermittent fasting. Both of these diets are amazing and will get you great results.

Here’s an article on How to start the keto diet, a 10-day keto diet meal plan, 7-day (16:8) Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan. If you want a tailored diet plan, You can get a custom keto diet meal plan from here.

Muscle Targeted: Hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, and hip flexors (Most Lower Body Muscles)

Duration: 30 minutes

3. Leg Raises

This exercise will help train the muscles in your lower back, hips, pelvis, and abdomen to work in harmony, which will improve your balance and stability.

Muscle Targeted: Abdomen, Hamstrings, lower back muscles, quadriceps

Sets: 5 sets of 10 reps

4. Pull-ups & Push-ups / Bicep curls & Shoulder Press

For balance and stability, it’s important that you train your upper body too. You don’t have to go all out and do every upper body exercise you can find, However, you need to perform a few upper body exercises.

You can train your upper body by consistently performing push-ups and pull-ups. You can also use a resistance band while performing pull-ups to lower the difficulty. If you think push-ups and pull-ups are too much, then start with bicep curls and shoulder presses.

While performing bicep curls and shoulder presses, focus on form and repetition rather than on weight. Moreover, Try your best to pick a weight you are comfortable with.

To perform bicep curls and shoulder press, use a pair of dumbells like this one, or you can use two water bottles of the same size filled with sand or water.

Muscle Targeted (Pull-ups): Lats and biceps

Muscle Targeted (Push-ups): Shoulders, triceps, pectoral muscles

Muscle Targeted (Bicep Curls): Bicep and forearms

Muscle Targeted (Shoulder Press): Deltoids, triceps, trapezius

Sets: 5-10 sets of 15-20 reps (Bicep Curls & Shoulder Press), 5-10 sets of 5-10 reps (Pull-ups & Push-ups)

5. Tibialis Raise

Tibialis Anterior is a muscle that runs in the front of the shin and is responsible for the dorsiflexion of the foot and stabilization of the ankle and knee joint. Training this muscle help reduce injuries due to running as this muscle is the decelerator of the foot and helps lift the foot off the ground.

Tibialis raise is one of the best exercises to train this muscle.

Muscle Targeted: Tibialis Anterior

Sets: 3 sets of 25 reps

6. Calf Raises

Hiking will work your calf muscles more intensely. Inclined surfaces increase the range of motion of your feet. This is the reason why hikers have big calves.

So, to get better at hiking, performing exercises that specifically target calves is a priority. You can start by performing bodyweight calf raises to train your calf muscles.

Muscle Targeted: Calves

Sets: 3 sets of 20-30 reps

7. StairMaster

If you are going to hike uphill, you need to train your quadriceps, and the best way to train your quadriceps for hiking uphill is by using a Stairmaster.

The motion of climbing stairs is very similar to that of hiking uphill, moreover, Stairmaster will also give your core muscles a workout.

Muscle Targeted: Quadriceps and hamstrings, abdomen

Sets: 2 sets of 10 minute

Woman performing squat

8. Jump Squat

Jump Squat targets most of the muscles used intensely while hiking. However, If you are unable to perform a jump squat properly, start with a simple squat.

Muscle Targeted: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps

Sets: 5 sets of 10 reps

9. Bulgarian Split Squat

This is one of the best exercises to improve balance, strength, flexibility, and stability needed for hiking. (If you are going to perform this exercise, you can skip the next one and vice-versa.)

This exercise also strengthens the muscles needed going downhill and engages your core intensely, which improves balance.

Muscle Targeted: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves

Sets: 5 sets of 7 reps

10. ATG Split Squat

ATG Split Squat is the best exercise you can perform for leg strength, flexibility, balance, stability, and knee health. This exercise combined with Surya namaskar and jogging is enough to prepare you for a hiking trip.

Muscle Targeted: Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, hip flexors

Sets: 5 sets of 5 reps

woman performing push-ups

Hiking Workout

Perform this workout routine 3 days a week to prepare for hiking.


  • Jogging: 20 minutes
  • Surya Namaskar: 5-10 rounds
  • ATG Split Squat: 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Jump Squat: 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Tibialis raise: 3 sets of 25 reps


  • Jogging: 20 minutes
  • Surya Namaskar: 5-10 rounds
  • Leg Raises: 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Push-ups & Pull-ups/ Bicep Curls & Shoulder Presses: 5 sets of 5-10 reps


  • Jogging: 20 minutes
  • Surya Namaskar: 5-10 rounds
  • Calf Raises: 3 sets of 20-30 reps
  • Bulgarian Split Squat: 5 sets of 7 reps
  • Jump Squat: 5 sets of 10 reps


The only way to enjoy the hike is to prepare before you do it, and if you hike without preparation, it may leave you worn out and sore for the next couple of days.

Moreover, hike with a buddy if possible and make sure you know where you are going. It’s vital that you check out the trail you plan to hike beforehand and are familiar with the area.

The forest, mountain, trail, and view will make the effort you put in to prepare worth it.

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Hi, I am Rudra, a computer engineer, and a certified procrastinator. I started FitnessGained in 2018 to help me stay fit despite all my desk time. Now I run this blog as a hobby. Here at FitnessGained, I will share what I do to stay fit & more. Our motto is "Reaching True Potential with Effort."

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