SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – March 2010

Spring Training: Exercises for Strong Knees and Hamstrings

Want strong knees when hiking season starts? Work your hamstrings now.

by: Kelly Bastone, Illustrations by Supercorn


Sure, you could hike yourself into shape come spring—but you could hike yourself right into an injury in the process. A too-sedentary off-season can shorten and weaken your hamstrings, and that means feeble knees. “The hamstrings keep the knees safely aligned as you hike,” explains Suzie Snyder, an adventure racer and strength-and-conditioning coach based in Wallingford, Connecticut. Strong hams support your pack’s weight and help ligaments stabilize the knee over uneven terrain, especially when you’re descending with a pack. “Work those muscles, and you’ll hike downhill faster and reduce the risk of knee injuries,” Snyder says. Strengthen your hamstrings with these three exercises; for maximum benefit, do them three times per week, starting six to eight weeks before your first big trip.

Alternating lunges


>> How Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, take a large step forward, shifting your weight to your front leg while bending the rear knee and dropping the hips toward the ground. Keep your front shin vertical and your thigh parallel to the floor. Pause briefly, then step back to a standing position without dragging the front foot. Alternate with the other leg for 20 lunges total. Work up to three sets of 20 reps per leg. After two weeks, drop to three sets of 10 reps while wearing a 10-pound backpack. Add five pounds to the pack per workout until you reach 30 to 40 pounds.


>> Why Lunges work the hamstrings and glutes, which “apply the brakes as you hike downhill,” Snyder says. Wearing a loaded pack raises your center of gravity and challenges your balance, which trains your hamstrings to steady the knees over loose rock or uneven ground. 




Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
coach handbags
Dec 18, 2013

http://www.coachstoreonline.com/ coach store online
http://www.coachoutletstoreonline2014.com/ coach outlet store online
http://www.coachfactoryoutlet2014.com/ coach factory outlet
http://www.coachhandbagsnew2013.com/ coach handbags outlet
http://www.coachfactoryhandbagsoutlet.com/ coach factory handbags outlet
http://www.michaelkorsoutlet-store.com/ michael kors outlet
http://www.louisvuittonblackfridaybags.com/ louis vuitton black friday
http://www.louisvuittonhandbagsnew2013.com/ louis vuitton handbags new 2013
http://www.chan-luu-inc.com/ chan luu
http://www.marcjacobsmarc.com/ marc jacobs handbags
http://www.marcby-marcjacobs.com/ marc by marc jacobs
http://www.marcjacobsoutletstore.com/ marc jacobs outlet
http://www.marcjacobsbagsshops.com/ marc jacobs bags
http://www.marcbymarcjacobsinc.com/ marc by marc jacobs
http://www.marcjacobsinc.com/ marc by marc jacobs bags
http://www.marcbymarcjacobs.org/ marc by marc jacobs
http://www.michaelkorshandbagsnew2013.com/ michael kors handbags new 2013
http://www.sportfanatics.org/ cheap jerseys
http://www.giuseppe-zanottifrance.com/ giuseppe zanotti
http://www.sugarsit.com/ coach outlet
http://goo.gl/8PkSUC coach factory outlet
http://goo.gl/OY98HY michael kors handbags
http://goo.gl/C3aqu1 louis vuitton outlet
http://goo.gl/JaGdpL fitflops
http://azscitechfest.asu.edu/prada-outlet-australia prada outlet
https://sites.google.com/site/marcjacobsoutletshop/ marc jacobs outlet

Bill
Apr 25, 2012

Seriously, the stairmaster has been great for preparing me for tough backpacking trips. Especially for those with lots of steep climbs.

Sarah
Apr 24, 2012

Could you explain to me why the stairmaster is bad? Negative motor patterns? What do you mean by that? Last year I used the stairmaster faithfullly with my 20 lb pack--without holding on most of the time, and felt that it helped my core and leg strength and cardiovascular system without any injury. Did the Tour du Mont Blanc with no pain or fatigue.

meanolddog
Apr 24, 2012

It's not perfect nothing is only being out there is..but, before I bought a programable Treadmill of my own, in Winter I would go to the 24 hour gym and hike my favorite Sierra hike in my mind, sometimes I would bring my Photo album of the hikes I took and peruse them like a rabbit chasing a carrot...I would tread with my hiking boots on and my loaded pack on, using one of their treadmills. I asked the Manager 1st before I did it. And met a couple of girls who I went hiking with in the Spring as enjoyable bonus but I am not the marrying kind so those were short lived. Sadly their Marketing people made the membership to expensive to justify not buying my own, so I did and still hike my hike on my Treadmill at home. It really works out my quads and butt for those hill climbs. One tip, never use a treadmill fully flat always adjust it to about a 2 - 5% incline. I did notice a difference in just exercising when in the Spring I had fewer aches and pains and no muscle sprains and few twitches after reaching the top of the switchbacks..

Ing
Apr 23, 2012

RE: Stability ball leg curls

I do this exercise 3X/week but with 2 legs only. The risks far outweigh the benefits doing them 1-legged. Frankly, most people in the gym couldn't do them properly using one leg anyway. Plus, it can put a lot of unnecessary strain on the back of the knee and hips.

Stephen
Apr 23, 2012

Hey Steve & Macky,
With 35+ years training athletes from recreational, professional and Olympic Level, I agree with Macky's comment. For you Steve, do not get on a stair climber. It develops negative motor patterns. They look pretty all in a row in the gym, however, nearly every piece of fancy equipment in gyms drastically affects movement effeciency by not following the natural strength curve and the natural anatomical structure of joint, bone and muscle alignment. There isn't any crossover to sports performance.

Steve
Apr 23, 2012

Hey Macky,
Descending hills isnt the issue with me. When ascending hills there's a certain level of incline that kicks in some muscle group that really increases the cardio demands for oxygen and blood flow. I'm guessing this is the front of the thigh. What's the best exercise to really push movement and build up my uphill endurance?
Stair climber or something similar?
Thanks

Steve
Apr 23, 2012

Since this has turned into a P90X infomercial, anyone here tried the INSANITY program? It looks pretty awesome, no equipment, no gyms needed.
www.getinsanity.com

simon park
Apr 23, 2012

before you look for new subscriber,
take care paid customer

Macky
Apr 22, 2012

I have been a physical therapist for 35 years and this is the first time I have ever heard that the hamstrings keep the knees "aligned" as you hike. Yes they are important for stability, but the quads working "eccentrically" are the workhorses in descending hills.

dream7184
Apr 22, 2012

for all you p90X spammers, get the F off our website. This is not for people making a sales pitch but for comments on the posted article and that exercise routine described.

cheryl
Apr 22, 2012

Wow, is this a p90x commercial or something?

gailbw
Jul 23, 2010

P90X has really strengthened not only my legs but my entire core area. It really works.

Anonymous
May 13, 2010

great workout i did one set of 20 and im so sore its great!

Jonathan
May 13, 2010

For an excellent (and extremely tough) training workout try Insanity. It's made by the same people as p90x!

sarah
Apr 19, 2010

ok the p90x is amazing, difficult but will shape every muscle you own!! or didnt know u did! great for knees

Anonymous
Apr 15, 2010

You know...I've wondered about that P90X, and well...I think it's awesome if it's working for ya.

Terri Crowe
Apr 13, 2010

I agree with John about the P90X. I hiked all winter but also added the P90X. I feel great and strong this spring even with bad knees. Good enough that I am going to train for a sprint Tri in Sept!

grimacingpeon
Mar 26, 2010

I've also found that 2 months of P90X has drastically improved my backpacking stamina and overall performance.

John Conville
Mar 16, 2010

To those of you who participating in the Hiking Merit Badge, this may be of interest.

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Ebola breakout
Posted On: Aug 21, 2014
Submitted By: dayhiker9
Rocky Mountains
Pitchstone/Bechler/Union Falls Loop - YNP - TR
Posted On: Aug 21, 2014
Submitted By: Keith73

Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

>
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions