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Master Class: The Gym Free Fitness Plan

Use this no-cost, do-anywhere training program to enhance hiking strength and speed this spring.
BP0313SKIL_CraterLake_Contest_IMG-1_445x260.jpgRegular training hikes make your vacation even better. (Mario Barahona)

Ο Integrate Heart-Rate Training
Make cardio workouts more effective.
» Identify your target zones. Find your max heart rate (using equations below). Calculate beats per minute (bpm) thresholds for each of the four training zones (see chart below). Target workouts to achieve specific goals: lose weight, boost endurance, or build power.
» Know your effort level. Wear a heart-rate monitor (we like Highgear’s Axio HR; $190; highgear.com), or check your pulse every five minutes during workouts.
» Start slow. Begin training at 50 percent of your max HR until you can maintain that pace easily. After that, raise intensity over eight to 12 weeks, targeting sustained cardio workouts at 75 percent of your max HR and interval bursts that hit 85 percent.
Ο Build Strength Without Weights
These hiker-specific calisthenics target trail-critical muscles and moves.

Muscle Abs/torso
Create a Strong Foundation Use bicycling kicks to enhance balance for rocky terrain: Lie on your back, place your arms across your chest, and slightly raise your head and neck. Alternate bringing each knee back and forth to your chest. Do three sets of 30 reps (on each leg).
Boost Explosive Energy To stop yourself in a slide or fall, you’ll need core and arm strength. Hold a side plank position for 30 seconds, at least three times on each side.

Muscle Glutes
Create a Strong Foundation For river-crossing stability, do lunges: From a standing position with your hands on your hips, step forward and kneel until the extended knee makes a right-angle, then return to standing position. Do three sets of five reps (on each leg).
Boost Explosive Energy Sumo squats help scrambling: Place feet hip-width apart (point toes out), squat until thighs are parallel to ground, then push up. Do three sets of 10 reps.

Muscle
Quads
Create a Strong Foundation Reduce fatigue on long ascents by boosting your quads with three-quarter squats: Stand with legs shoulder-width apart and bend your knees as if sitting on a chair, hold for three seconds, and return to standing position. Do three sets of 10 reps.
Boost Explosive Energy You need explosive leg strength to jump a gap. Do 10 walking lunges: Keep steps short (without your knee extending over your toes) to fortify quads for jumping.

Muscle
Hamstrings
Create a Strong Foundation Do donkey kicks to boost hamstrings for stability on downhills: Get onto your hands and knees. Lift one knee and tuck it into your torso/ chest. Then, fully extend the same leg behind you. Do three sets of 10 reps on each leg.
Boost Explosive Energy Do power jumps so you’ll make better progress on scree: Pick a spot 50 feet ahead, and do double-leg jumps (as far as possible) to reach it. Land mid-foot, and with bent knees.

Muscle
Calves
Create a Strong Foundation Manage long distances on soft surfaces by strengthening your lower legs with calf raises: Stand with one foot’s ball on a step or curb and the other foot lifted off the ground. Balance and lower/ raise your heel 10 times. Do three sets on each leg.
Boost Explosive Energy Absorb impact better: Jump forward, backward, and diagonally (keep feet together) across a stick on the ground. Repeat. Rest for 20 seconds between five one-minute sets.

Ο Hydrated?Sweating out two percent of your body’s water (three pounds for a 150-pound athlete) is enough to degrade performance measurably. Take a sip every 15 minutes during a workout.

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