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Fitness Special—Hike Forever: The Exercises

Use these proven exercises to get in the best hiking shape of your life.

Chins/Negative Chins
No single move provides as much upper-body strength as this exercise. Strong arms are vital for class IV (and up) scrambling and for transferring weight onto hiking poles (and off of stiff joints).

Grip a chin-up bar with hands shoulder-width apart. Use either an over- or underhand grip, but be sure to mix it up. From a fully extended hanging position, pull your chin above the bar. Lower your body back to starting position.

Do it
Until you can’t do any more, twice

Beginner: Start with negative chins. Stand on a chair to get your chin above the bar; lower on an 8-count.
Intermediate: Max out on chin-ups; switch to negative chins until your muscles quit.
Advanced: Do chin-ups with a weighted pack.

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