Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Backpacking Fitness

Leg Blasters Are the Ultimate Quick-hit Hiking Workout

Build strength for loaded backpacking hill climbs and descents.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All Access
40% off Season's Streamings Sale
$5/month*

  • A $500 value with everything in the Print + Digital Plan plus 25+ benefits including:
  • Member-only content from every title in the Outside network like Outside, SKI, Climbing, and more
  • Annual gear guides for backpacking, camping, skiing , climbing, and more
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Premium access to Outside TV and 1,000+ hours of exclusive shows
  • Exclusive discounts on gear, travel, and race-entry fees
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+
Backpacker

Print + Digital
50% off Holiday Sale
$2/month*

  • Annual subscription to Backpacker magazine
  • Access to all member-exclusive content and gear reviews on Backpacker.com
  • Ad-free access to Backpacker.com
Join Backpacker

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

This series of four exercises helps build strength for both ascending and descending with a heavy pack, and is excellent for strengthening muscles required for ski touring. Done together, they’ll work your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors. If you’re looking to get maximal efficiency out of our workout, leg blasters are for you: In just ten minutes, this workout will tax your leg muscles. Do them when you don’t have time for a full gym session or training hike, and be sure to prioritize recovery—you will be sore. Incorporate leg blasters into your training routine three times per week, resting every other day. Begin with half leg blasters (cut all of the reps listed below in half) with a full minute of rest between sets, working your way up to completing five full blasters with 3o seconds of rest in between.

The Leg Blaster

20 squats

Begin with your feet hip-distance apart and your spine straight. Bend your knees to 90 degrees, pushing your rear out. Keep your weight in your heels as you return to the starting position.

10 lunges (per leg)

From standing, step your right foot forward and bend your knees until your left leg is perpendicular to the ground. Your knee should touch the ground and your left thigh should parallel it. Push off from your right foot until you’re standing. Repeat on your opposite leg.

10 jumping lunges (per leg)

Start by doing a standard lunge as described above, then engage your core as you jump as high as you can. Switch legs midair to land with your opposite foot forward. Repeat on your other leg.

10 squat jumps

Start in the standard squat position, this time with your hands together at your chest. Squat deeply, below 90 degrees. Use your arms to create momentum as you explode upwards, jumping as high as you can.

Rob Shaul is the founder of Mountain Athlete Training.

Originally published 2012; updated 2021