Backpacking Fitness

16 Exercises to Help You Train Like a Guide

Train like a pro to perform like one. Bryan Pope of Earth Native Wilderness School recommends these exercises with high reps and low weight to build the strength and endurance of a mountain guide.

Quads/glutes: sumo squats

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Stand with feet three to four feet apart and toes pointing out at a 45 degree angle. Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor, making sure not to let your knees extend past your toes. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Quads/glutes: squat side-walk with exercise band

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Tie an exercise band into a circle and step inside of it, standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower into a squat with your knees at a 45 degree angle and take 10 steps to the right, then to the left. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Hamstring: bird dogs

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Start on all fours with arms directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips. Extend your left arm forward and your right leg back so that they are parallel with the floor. Repeat with right arm and left leg. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Hips: scissors

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Lie on your back with your legs straight and extended toward the ceiling. Lower your right leg as you lift your head and shoulders off the floor. When your right leg is only a few inches off the floor, lift it back to upright as you lower your left leg. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Calves: calf raises

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Stand on the edge of a raised platform (like a staircase) on the balls of your feet. Raise your heels until you’re on your tiptoes, then lower your heels below the platform. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Core/back: V-ups

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Lie on your back with your arms and legs extended parallel to the floor. Keep arms and legs straight as you lift your shoulders off the floor and touch hands to feet. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Core/back: beetles

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Lie with your knees bent in the air at a 90 degree angle and your arms outstretched at 90 degree angles. Extend your right leg parallel to the floor as you touch your left foot with your right hand. Repeat on left side. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Chest: pushups

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Start with your hands on the floor directly below your shoulders and your toes curled under. Your arms and legs should be straight. Bend your arms until your body is only a few inches from the floor, being sure to keep your back and buttocks straight. Straighten your arms and repeat. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Chest: single-arm chest press

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Lie on your back on a bench, holding a dumbbell above your head with arm straight. Lower the dumbbell until your arm is at a 90 degree angle with bicep parallel to the floor. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Back: chin-ups

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Hang from a bar with arms straight, shoulder-width apart and knuckles facing away from you. Pull your body up until your elbows are completely bent and your face is above the bar. Lower until your body is straight again. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Back: reverse flies

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Lie on a 45 degree bench on your stomach with your arms extended perpendicular to your body. Keeping arms straight, move your arms outward to make a T. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Shoulders: arm circles

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Stand with arms outstretched at your sides and parallel to the floor. Move your arms in a circular motion, first forward and then backward. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Triceps: bench dips

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Sit on the edge of a bench with your hands gripping the edge and your arms shoulder-width apart. Push up off the bench so that your legs and arms are straight and your back is close to the bench. Lower your body until your elbows create a 90 degree angle. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Biceps: Zottman curls

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Stand with arms straight by your sides and palms facing forward with dumbbells. Keep the upper arm straight and bend from the elbow to bring the dumbbells to your shoulders. If you only have one dumbbell, put your free hand on your hip. 3 sets of 20 reps.

Core/back: Russian twists

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Sit with your knees bent and your upper body at a 45 degree angle with the floor. Lift your feet off the floor and twist to bring the dumbbell to one hip, then the other. 3 sets of 20 to 30 reps.

Core/back: Supermans

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Lie on the floor on your stomach with arms and legs extended straight. Keeping arms and legs straight, lift your chest and feet off the floor, then lower. 3 sets of 20 to 30 reps.