|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – October 2005
Supercharge your legs with conditioning tips for monster hikes.
"This exercise will save your knees," promises Tina Vindum, owner of Outdoor Action Fitness in Northern California. "It strengthens the quadriceps, which helps your kneecap track better, reducing your risk of injury when hiking downhill." From a standing position, lift one foot off the ground out in front of you. Slowly sink down into a squat for a count of 3, then come up in a 3-count. Do 12 repetitions on each leg; build to 20.
This variation builds extra strength and power in the glutes and lower back, which is important for climbing with a load, says Courtenay Schurman, creator of the video Train to Climb Mt. Rainier. Stand with feet wider than your shoulders, a barbell resting across your shoulders. Slowly sit back. Start with 2 sets at a weight that lets you do 12 reps; build to 3 sets with an 8-rep weight.