Conditioning advice for backpacking/hiking

  • Creator
  • #55425


    A little background info, I’m just a 48 year old dad. I love taking a few backpacking trips throughout the year and winter hiking trips. I do mostly 2-3 day trips 8-30 miles in the White Mountains in NH. I know actual hiking is the best preparation but due to where I live in CT and schedule, it’s hard to do weekly training hikes.. I also lift weights recreationally and hope to compete in a masters powerlifting so my lifting goals are geared towards that.

    My question pertains to what I should be doing in the gym to best prepare my cardio base for my hikes. I’ve been doing two to three steady state cardio sessions on a treadmill at 15% incline or the stairclimber. I also do weighted vest sessions up/down our house stairs to train the concentric downhill movement.

    Should I be running as well or doing higher intensity stuff thrown in? I’m just looking for the most bang for your buck stuff to do in the gym or the neighborhood so I’m somewhat in good enough shape to enjoy tgese trips more because I’m in better hiking shape..


  • Participant
    Shashi on #55479

    Welcome to the Uphill Athlete forum.

    I am not sure if you have read any of the Uphill Athlete books or articles on the website. If not, this article would be a good starting point to understand the basics of the Uphill Athlete training approach.

    I would recommend you to do an aerobic self-assessment. This will help you determine your AeT / AnT and set the right training intensity zones (based on heart rate).

    Looks like you have been doing 2-3 sessions a week on the treadmill, which is great. As mentioned in the first article, gradualness, consistency and modulation is key to successful training. Check out this training plan for trekking that can help you build your own training plan.

    Hope this is helpful.

    kguzda39 on #55481

    It is helpful, I will dig a little deeper and take a look at the article. Thank you..

    joosain555 on #55527

    I am looking to buy an outdoor watch that can be suitable for hiking.
    Please check this page and recommend me. Anything under $250 will be okay for me.

    Shashi on #55548

    Joosain – I would recommend you to start a separate topic to get recommendations on hiking watch. You might find some good information in the forum discussions here.

    Mariner_9 on #55564

    @kguzda39 – when I was living in the flatlands and training for hiking (and splitboarding), my aerobic work was a mix of stair climbs in a high rise (3x/week), treadmill in the gym (2x/week on days I was doing strength training) and hiking when possible (maybe ~2x/mo).

    I did no high intensity work.

    My guess is your lifting goals are going to leave you with more muscle mass than you need for hiking – not meant to dissuade you, just an observation.

    My experience was that the stair climbs alone were sufficient for training downhill movement – no need to do those weighted.


    kguzda39 on #55569

    Thank you for your recommendations. I actually ordered the trekking training plan that was suggested and am finding it very helpful. It’s a little more than I need to just be in good shape for short backpacking trips but there are some good ideas in it. I’m more or less doing what you are doing, two to three sessions on treadmill and or stairclimber and hoping to find a good building nearby with tons of stairs which I’ve yet to find. I also try to do one evening hike every week or two.

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