|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive
These exercises will give you the strength and endurance you'll need to go the distance. Do three sets of 8 to 10 reps of each activity, unless otherwise noted. For exercises that require wearing a pack, start with 50 percent of the weight you expect to carry and increase it by 10 percent each week.
1. Squat wearing pack
Builds: Quads, hamstrings, glutes
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, arms extended or lightly grasping trekking poles for support. Look straight ahead and bend your knees, making sure to sit back so that your knees stay aligned over your ankles. Do not bend past 90 degrees; return to start.
2. Step-up/Heel-down wearing pack
Builds: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, hips, and climbing/descent-
A. Use a platform (a step, chair, or stable rock) high enough so your thigh is parallel to the ground when you step up. Step up with your left leg, putting your whole foot on the step, then follow with your right. Lower your right leg to the ground, then left. Do 8 to 10 reps on each side.
B. Stand on top of the platform, facing out, and lower your left leg so the heel touches the ground, then return to starting position. Do 8 to 10 heel touches on each side.
3. Windshield wiper
Builds: Core strength
Lie on your back with your arms extended to the side, and raise your legs so that they're perpendicular to the floor. Keeping your legs glued together, lower them to the left–go down as far as you can without your upper torso coming off the floor–then bring them back to center. Then lower them to the right and return to center to complete one rep.
Builds: Core strength, shoulders
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, holding a 10-pound pack overhead. Squat down, touching the pack to the ground directly in front of your toes–your back will have a slight "C" shape. Return to starting position, then squat and touch the pack on the outside of your right foot; back to start. Touch in the middle, then to the outside of your left foot. Do a total of 8 cycles.