How To Train For Hiking (PRO Tips)

Hiking is a fun activity to do with friends, family, and co-workers. It’s easy to learn and has low impact on knees and joints. 

However, even if you’re a seasoned hiker who loves being out in nature every weekend, there are things you can do to prepare for your next hiking trip. 

You’ll be much better off if you train before heading out into the wilderness with heavy packs on your back! 

So here’s how to train for hiking:

How to Train for Hiking
How to train for hiking and prepare your body for the physical demands of the trail
Importance of properly breaking in your hiking boots
Essential gear to pack in your backpack for a comfortable hike
The benefits of using hiking poles for stability and reduced joint stress
Tips and advice for hiking the Appalachian Trail
Additional resources for hiking training and fitness
FAQs on hiking-specific exercises, injury prevention, nutrition, gear, and endurance building

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!

Exercise is the best way to get in shape for hiking. It will help you build endurance and strength, control your weight (which can have a lot of benefits), sleep better and feel better overall. There are many different types of exercise out there but I’m going to share with you what works for me:

Cardiovascular exercise – this type of exercise focuses on strengthening your heart, lungs and blood vessels through activities like running or swimming. 

This type of workout will help you increase your stamina which comes in handy when climbing steep hills or walking long distances over uneven terrain.

Resistance training – resistance training involves lifting weights or doing other exercises that use resistance such as push-ups, pull-ups and squats. 

This kind of workout strengthens muscles so they become more resistant to injury during physical activity such as hiking through rough terrain.

Properly breaking in your hiking boots is crucial to ensure a comfortable and blister-free hike. Our experts have provided some tips on how to break in hiking boots before your next adventure.

Training For Hiking Is More Than Just Cardio!

While cardiovascular exercise is important, you also need to be able to hike for long periods. You need to be able to carry a backpack and hike up and down hills in the heat.

If your goal is to be able to hike with ease, it’s important that you prepare yourself physically before hitting the trails by doing aerobic exercises like running or biking at least three times per week for 30 minutes each session.

Yoga Is Amazing For Hiking Preparation!

Yoga is amazing for hiking preparation. Yoga is great for stretching, building strength, endurance and balance. 

You will find that yoga makes your body more flexible than ever before. Your muscles will feel lighter and you will not have any aches or pains after a long day on the trail. 

Yoga also helps you stay focused so you can put your mind into the moment on your hike instead of thinking about other things that might distract you from enjoying nature in its purest form.

The best part about doing yoga while preparing for hiking? It’s free! All you need is yourself, some motivation, and maybe a mat if it’s sunny outside (but even then there are plenty of ways around this). 

If you don’t want to leave home without some extra inspiration though I recommend downloading Headspace onto your phone – they offer guided meditations which usually last 20 minutes each but go over much faster because they’re so relaxing (and sometimes funny!).

Packing essential gear in your backpack can make or break your hike. Check out our article on important tools for your hiking backpack to ensure you are prepared for any situation.

Gear Your Training Towards The Hike You Aim To Take.

Hiking is a great way to get out and enjoy nature, but it’s also an intense endeavor that can be dangerous if you’re not prepared. To successfully hike, you’ll need to train your body first.

The type of hike you plan on taking will determine how much and what kind of training you need:

If your goal is a strenuous hike (e.g., Mount Whitney), then this will require more rigorous physical conditioning than if the goal was a moderate hike (e.g., Half Dome).

If your goal is a gentle stroll in the woods, then this requires less training than either of the other two types of hikes outlined above.

Consider Weighted Vest Training!

A weighted vest is a great way to build strength and stamina. The idea is simple: you wear a weighted vest for at least 30 minutes every day. You can start with just 5 pounds, and work your way up to 20 pounds or more as you become stronger. 

Weighted vests are available at many sporting goods stores, and come in multiple styles for both men and women (they’re often used by runners).

Preparing your body before hiking is just as important as the gear you bring along. Visit our article on how to get in shape for hiking for tips on how to train your body to handle the physical demands of hiking.

Get A Day Pack And Use It When You Train.

The reason you need to train with a day pack is because it will help you get used to carrying the weight of your gear, and it’s also important for getting used to the feeling of having a bigger pack on your back. You don’t want to go out into the wilderness for the first time with a heavy backpack because it can cause back problems and make hiking uncomfortable.

How do you know if your day pack is too small? Well, if there aren’t any straps left when you fill it and this includes extra straps that come with most packs—then it means that they are full and therefore too big! 

The best way to go about selecting a daypack is by trying them on in stores or online (if ordering online). 

There are many great companies like REI who offer free returns if something doesn’t fit right so there’s no risk in trying different brands until one works best for both form & function concerns!

Increase The Intensity Of Your Training As You Get Closer To Hike Date

As you get closer to your hike date, increase the intensity of your training.

When training for a hike, it’s important to train at a variety of altitudes and in different weather conditions. 

To simulate this, try hiking at higher altitudes (if you live far from mountains) or even driving up into the mountains with a backpack filled with rocks. 

You can also do hill sprints on steep slopes or trails with large rocks that require more strength than usual. 

When it comes to temperature and humidity levels, try wearing lighter clothing for long periods of time so that your body gets used to being hot or cold outside regardless of how much clothing you wear when hiking.

Using hiking poles can offer numerous benefits, from stability to reducing joint stress. Learn how to properly utilize hiking poles with our expert advice on how to use hiking poles.

Do Not Overdo It Or Try To Do Too Much Too Soon

When training for hiking, it is important to be patient and not overdo it. Overdoing it can lead to injury and setbacks that could keep you from your goal of completing a hike. 

Start with short walks and gradually increase the distance and intensity until you are ready to tackle longer distances in more challenging terrain.

Train On Hills or Stairs

Hills and stairs can be a great way to get in some extra workouts, because they give you the opportunity to practice both uphill and downhill movements. 

When hiking up hills or stairs, it’s important to focus on keeping your core engaged so that you don’t end up with low back pain or other issues that could derail your training.

When training for hiking on hills or stairs, try doing a few sets of 10-20 reps with a light weight (a kettlebell will work) during your workout. 

Rest one minute between each set so that you have time to recover before moving on. Make sure that when you’re going down the hill or stairs after going up them, take care not to overdo it it’s tempting in this case!

Hiking the Appalachian Trail is a bucket list adventure for many outdoor enthusiasts. Check out our guide on how to hike the Appalachian Trail for tips on planning your trip, the best season to hike, and what to expect along the trail.

Stretch And Strengthen Your Muscles Before And After Workouts.

Before you begin your hike, stretch your muscles. This helps to prevent injuries and also makes you feel like a boss when you’re already feeling strong and fit.

Before you go on a hike, perform these simple stretches:

Stand up straight with feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides. Lean forward until hands are flat on the floor in front of you. 

Lift one foot off the ground and reach toward it with the opposite hand while keeping back straight until you can grasp ankle or foot (depending on flexibility). Don’t bounce! Hold for 10 seconds then switch sides.

Bend over at waist so torso is parallel to floor, reaching hands toward shins or feet as far as possible without straining muscles; hold for 30 seconds; repeat 3 times

Drink Lots Of Water. (And Eat Properly!)

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for a hike is to drink lots of water. Water is an essential nutrient, and it doesn’t just keep your body hydrated. It also helps your muscles recover after exercise, boosts your energy levels, and contributes to better overall health. 

To stay properly hydrated, aim for two liters per day at least and more if you’re doing a strenuous workout in hot weather or exerting yourself in any other way that could put stress on your body’s cooling system.

To check whether you’re drinking enough water on a daily basis, we recommend checking the color of your urine: If it’s dark yellow (or even darker), chances are that you need more H2O in order to keep everything running smoothly inside!

Hydration and Nutrition for Hiking

Tips for Staying HydratedBenefits of Proper Nutrition
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the hikeFuel your body for optimal performance
Bring a water bottle or hydration packPromote muscle recovery
Take breaks to drink and refuelReduce the risk of injury
Eat a balance of carbs, protein, and healthy fatsBoost your energy levels
Pack healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, and energy barsEnhance overall health and wellbeing

Rest Well Between Workouts

Rest days are an essential part of your training. Resting is the only way to make sure your body can recover from a workout, so that you can be stronger and healthier next time. 

You’ll know when it’s time to take a rest day if you’re feeling sore, tired or unmotivated.

  • Make the most of your rest days with some light activity like walking or swimming.
  • Try some gentle yoga poses, like downward dog and child’s pose, which will help increase flexibility while stretching out sore muscles too!

Rest between Workouts

Tips for Resting WellBenefits of Rest
Take a break when you feel tiredAllows for muscle recovery
Get enough sleepReduces the risk of injury
Stay hydratedImproves overall performance
Eat a balanced dietHelps prevent burnout
Stretch and foam rollBoosts mental health and wellbeing


The important takeaway from all of this is that training for hiking is a lot more than just cardio. You want to make sure you’re working on your core strength, and stretching out your muscles before and after workouts. 

Yoga is a great way to start incorporating these methods into your routine. And don’t forget about the importance of rest days! 

This will help prevent injury, which can be disastrous when it comes time for going outdoors.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources on hiking training and fitness:

Bearfoot Theory: How to Train for Hiking – A comprehensive guide on how to prepare for a hiking trip, including tips on hiking-specific exercises, nutrition, and gear.

REI: Hiking Training – A collection of articles and videos on various fitness and training topics for hikers, including strength training and injury prevention.

Backpacker: How to Get in Shape for Hiking – A guide to building your hiking fitness with an 8-week training plan and advice on choosing the right exercises for your needs.


What are some hiking-specific exercises I can incorporate into my training routine?

Some examples of hiking-specific exercises include lunges, squats, step-ups, calf raises, and planks. You can also incorporate cardio workouts like running or cycling to build endurance.

How can I prevent injuries while hiking?

To prevent hiking-related injuries, it’s important to incorporate strength training exercises into your training routine to build muscle and reduce the risk of strains or sprains. Warming up before a hike and using proper footwear can also help prevent injuries.

What should I eat before and during a hike?

It’s important to fuel your body with carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats before a hike. During the hike, snacks like energy bars, nuts, and fresh fruit can help sustain your energy levels.

How do I choose the right backpack for my hiking trip?

Consider factors like the length of your trip, the weight of your gear, and the conditions you’ll be hiking in when choosing a backpack. Look for a backpack with adjustable straps and sturdy construction for optimal support.

How can I improve my endurance for longer hikes?

Building endurance takes time and consistency. Incorporate cardio workouts into your routine, gradually increase your mileage, and focus on fueling your body with the right nutrients to improve your overall fitness level.