Training For Hiking Beginner

Training For Hiking Beginner (Complete Guide)

Hiking is an amazing activity that many people enjoy. But, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into before beginning any training regime.

This blog post will help you understand the basics of training for hiking and give you 10 training exercises for hiking!

3 Things To Train For Hiking

These are 3 things you should train for if you are planning on training for backpacking, trekking, hiking or mountaineering.

  • Improve your balance
  • Build endurance
  • Increase Strength

Why? Because they will help you hike better, safer and with less fatigue.

Balance Training For Hiking

Balance is key when hiking on uneven or unstable surfaces. By improving your balance, you will be able to maintain your footing more easily which can prevent dangerous falls.

There are a few ways you can improve your balance. One is to practice standing on one foot for extended periods of time. You can also try walking heel-to-toe or doing balancing exercises like the ones shown in the video below.

Building Up Endurance For Hiking

Endurance is critical when hiking. The more distance you can cover without tiring out, the longer your hike will be.

There are a few ways to improve your endurance for hiking:

  • Increase your mileage gradually over time
  • Include interval training in your workouts
  • Do long-duration exercises such as walks, runs or hikes
  • Train on hilly terrain

Increasing Mileage Gradually Over Time

If you are just starting out, it’s important to increase your mileage gradually. This will help prevent injuries and allow your body time to adapt to the new demands of hiking.

You can start by adding a mile or two to your regular walk or run each week until you are comfortable with covering the desired distance. Once you reach that point, you should be ready to start increasing distance to train up more!

Interval Training Workouts For Hiking

Interval training is a great way to improve endurance. It involves alternating periods of intense exercise with less-intense recovery exercises. Research has shown interval training can help you build more muscle, increase your aerobic capacity and burn fat faster!

Here are some examples of interval workouts for hiking:

  • Using stairs instead of the elevator at work or home
  • Doing sprints
  • Climbing hills instead of walking up to them normally
  • To maximize the benefits, try to give your body a rest between workouts. For example: walk for 15 minutes and then do one interval workout before repeating the process again!

Long-duration exercises such as walks, runs or hikes

Long-duration exercises are a great way to improve your overall endurance for hiking. They allow you to cover more distance without tiring out as easily.

There are many different long-duration exercises you can do, but one of the best is simply walking or running. These exercises are low impact and can be done almost anywhere!

If you want to add a bit more of a challenge, try hiking instead. This will help you build strength and endurance for trekking on difficult trails!

Train On HIlly Terrain

Hiking on hilly terrain is a great way to improve your leg muscles and endurance for hiking. It’s also more fun than walking or running on flat surfaces!

If possible, try training in hilly areas with uneven terrain at least once per week. You can even increase the challenge by using stairs instead of an elevator if you are looking for something more intense.

Increase Strength For Hiking

Increase Strength For Hiking

Strength is the ability of your muscles to exert force against an object. It’s very important for hiking or backpacking because it helps you carry heavier loads up and down hills!

The most effective way to increase strength for hiking is by adding weights when exercising at home, the gym or outdoors. You can even do this with no equipment using exercises like squats, lunges and push-ups!

If you are looking for a more challenging workout, try using kettlebells or sandbags. These pieces of equipment add an extra level of difficulty that can help improve your strength quickly!

Training Schedule for Hiking

A training schedule can help you stay on track with your workouts. It’s best to come up with a plan that fits into your lifestyle and fitness level – this will make it easier for you to stick with!

Here is a simple training schedule for hiking beginners:

  • Monday: Rest day or light cardio
  • Tuesday: Strength training
  • Wednesday: Interval training
  • Thursday: Hiking or hill repeats
  • Friday: Strength training
  • Saturday: Long-duration exercise such as walk, run or hike
  • Sunday: Rest day or light cardio

As you can see, this schedule is very flexible and allows for days off when you need it. You can even switch up the exercise types to keep your body guessing!

Here is another training schedule to try if you’re a beginner at hiking:

  • Monday: Strength training
  • Tuesday: Interval Training
  • Wednesday: Rest day or light cardio
  • Thursday: Long-duration exercise such as walk, run, hike or climb stairs!
  • Friday: Hiking hills if possible – switch it up with long-distance walks or runs on flat ground if not.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Rest days

This schedule includes one day of strength training and two days of hiking. Again, it is very flexible so you can switch up the exercises depending on what you are comfortable with!

No matter which training schedule you choose, make sure to listen to your body and take rest days when needed. Overtraining can actually lead to injuries, so be careful!

And as long as you stay active most days of the week and get in a good amount of hiking or backpacking during weekend adventures, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an expert hiker!

Training Exercises for Hiking

Training Exercises for Hiking

Before we begin the exercises, you want to keep the following in mind:

  • If you feel any pain while doing any of the exercises, you should skip them and move on to different ones. (If you think you might have injured yourself, make sure you stop and see a doctor.)
  • Go at your own pace, you don’t need to do these exercises perfectly the way they are shown, try to work on the form though and you can do reps and sets based on your own ability.

Warming Up

Before we begin we want to warm up to minimize injury. You can do any light cardio for about five minutes to get your body moving.

Now that you are all warmed up, let’s start with some exercises!

1. Step-Ups

Start with your left foot on a bench or step, and then push up so that you are standing on the bench with your right leg. Make sure to use your glutes (butt muscles) to lift yourself up – this will help strengthen them for hiking!

Step back down with the left foot first, and then the right. Repeat for 12-15 reps, then switch legs.

Video for Step Ups


  • Make sure you do both legs so there aren’t any muscle imbalances.

2. Hip Hinge

Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Shift weight back until the knob of your spine is over your knees, bend at the waist and hinge backwards while squeezing glutes (butt muscles).

Keep a straight line from head to toe throughout this exercise.

Return to the standing position and repeat. (10 reps)

Video for Hip Hinge


  • Make sure you don’t round your back, stay tall the entire time!
  • You can do this with a weight in your hands for extra resistance.
  • If you have lower back pain, skip this exercise.

3. Bulgarian Split Squat

Start in a staggered stance with your left foot in front of your right.

Bend at the waist and lower yourself down until your right thigh is parallel to the ground, keeping your back straight.

Make sure you don’t let your front knee go past your toes!

Return to the standing position and repeat for 12-15 reps.

Video for Bulgarian Split Squat


  • Make sure your knee does not go past the toes during reps.
  • This can be done by holding dumbbells for more resistance or weight (if you are strong enough).
  • If this hurts your knees, do a regular split squat without weights instead!

4. Jump Squat

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Using both legs, jump up as high as you can while keeping arms at your sides for momentum!

Land on the ground softly and absorb shock by flexing hips forward slightly.

Repeat until all reps are completed. (12-15)

Video for Jump Squat


  • Make sure you jump straight up, not out!
  • If this is too hard, try doing a regular squat without jumping.

5. Hamstring Curl With Exercise Ball

Start seated on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat.

Place an exercise ball behind you so that it is resting against your hamstrings.

Now, keeping back straight, roll the ball forward using your feet until there are no more inches of slack left in the hamstrings.

Use leg muscles to pull yourself back towards starting position.

Repeat for 12-15 reps. (12-15)

Video for Hamstring Curl With Exercise Ball


  • You can do this exercise without the ball if you don’t have one!
  • If you want to make it harder, hold a weight in your hands or put on ankle weights.
  • If this exercise is too hard, try doing single leg hamstring curls.

6. Half Tuck Squat

Start with feet hip-width apart and squat down as if you are going to sit in a chair, but only go halfway.

Return to the standing position and repeat for 12-15 reps.

Video for Half Tuck Squat


  • Make sure your knees don’t go past your toes!
  • This can be done by holding dumbbells for more resistance or weight (if you are strong enough).

7. Reverse Hyper

Lie face down on a bench with your legs hanging off the end.

Hold onto something for support (i.e. weights, rack, etc.).

With feet together, lift your legs towards the ceiling as high as possible and squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) at the top of the motion.

Lower back to starting position and repeat for 12-15 reps.

Video for Reverse Hyper


  • This can be done by holding weights if you want more resistance!
  • If this exercise hurts your back too much, skip it and do a glute bridge instead!

8. Calf Raises

Stand with feet hip-width apart facing forward.

Bend at the waist and lower yourself down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, keeping back straight.

Pause for a second in this position before pushing up through your toes as high as you can go.

Lower back down to starting position and repeat 12-15 times.

Video for Calf Raises


  • Make sure your knees don’t go past the toes during reps.
  • This can be done by holding dumbbells for more resistance or weight (if you are strong enough).

9. Side plank with Hip Raise

Start in a side plank position with your elbow directly under your shoulder and legs stacked.

Keeping your core engaged, raise your top hip off the ground as high as possible.

Hold for two seconds before lowering back to starting position.

Repeat for 12-15 reps on each side.

Video for Side plank with Hip Raise


  • Make sure your elbow is directly under your shoulder!
  • Make sure NOT to swing your leg during the hip raise!

10. Basic Squat

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed out slightly.

Bend knees to lower down into a squat, keeping the chest up and back straight!

Pause for a second before pushing through heels to return to starting position. Repeat 12-15 times.

Video for Basic Squat


  • Make sure your knee does not go past your toes!
  • Keep the chest high and back straight during reps.
  • You can go as low as possible but if you are a beginner don’t go too deep.


So there you have it! A complete guide to training for hiking as a beginner. These exercises will help increase strength and stability, which are both essential for a successful hike.

Be sure to mix these exercises up each week to see the best results and always consult with a doctor before starting any new workout routine.

Happy hiking!


Here are some frequently asked questions about training for hiking beginners:

How many miles should a beginner hike?

There is no one answer to this question. It really depends on your fitness level and how often you are hiking. If you are just starting out, try hiking a few miles at first and work your way up gradually.

How do I get in shape for hiking?

There are many different ways to get in shape for hiking. The best way is by incorporating it into your weekly routine and following a training schedule like the examples above!

Alternatively, you can check out my guide which talks about fat loss and hiking.

How far can a beginner hike in a day?

To answer it shortly, it really depends on your fitness level however, a beginner should try to hike between 2-5 miles in a day.

If you don’t seem to get tired or if it feels super easy, you can try to hike more however, keep in mind not to overdo it since you may feel soreness the next day later.

Can a beginner hike 10 miles?

Yes, a beginner can hike 10 miles however, most beginners shouldn’t try to hike 10 miles at the start.

You want to slowly build up your strength, endurance and balance so, you can finish hikes easily and without any injuries!

How do you train to hike at home?

One of the best ways to train for hiking at home is by doing bodyweight exercises such as squats, push-ups and lunges.

These kinds of exercise have a low impact on your joints so you can do them frequently without worrying about getting hurt!

Make sure to take a look at the exercises above as most of them can be done at home!

These exercises can help you build up your leg muscles when it comes to hiking!

There are many ways to train for hiking at home so make sure not to strain yourself too much until you slowly get in shape. Listen closely to your body and take rest days whenever needed.

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