“This exercise combines cardio, balance, and strength, just like backpacking uphill,” explains Vindum. From a standing position, take a big step forward, landing with both knees at about 90 degrees. Push off with the back foot and swing it through to take another big step. Continue for 1 minute, rest, repeat; build to 3 minutes. Variation 1: Add dumbbells or a pack loaded to half your trip weight. Variation 2: Do this exercise up hills or stairs (take smaller steps).
LUNGE: Scissor Hop
“This plyometric (jumping) lunge gives you explosive power for hiking uphill, but it also helps your quads prepare for descents,” says Brad Cerutti, a trainer for OutFIT, a Bay Area company specializing in fitness programs for outdoors sports. From a lunge position (above), shoot straight up, switch legs in the air, and land in a lunge. Do 2 sets of 4 hops; build to 3 sets of 10.