Pre-trek training is imperative if you want to Get Fit for Trekking and enjoy your trek.
What I have noticed whilst I have been on these amazing treks is that there are some people who turn up totally unprepared – can you believe that? This took me totally by surprise because it seemed obvious to me that we train for these types of treks because they are hard work!!!
What happened for these people was that they did not enjoy their trek at all and probably won’t ever attempt another trek. They also ended up with injuries or pain due to their lack of fitness – not a pretty sight.
This has lead me to develop these training tips for YOU because it is important to me that you complete your trek feeling fantastic, high fiving those around you, and have the biggest smile on your face! Here are your top 5 tips for pre-trek training – enjoy!
1. Setting Realistic Goals.
It is fantastic that you have made the decision to improve your fitness in preparation for your trek.
The most important thing we need to keep in mind is to set realistic goals. Depending on your fitness base, these goals will vary, but remember to set them for you – no one else!
Give yourself at least 6 months preparation if you are tackling a difficult trek such as Kokoda or Mt Everest Base Camp.
Once you have established your preparation timeline, begin to plan out your training program. Your program should include lots of cardiovascular, strength and conditioning, stability and strength, core and trek specific training. It is important to remember that we need to slowly build our base fitness, ensuring we avoid injury and maintain our progress.
It won’t be long before you are starting to feel the benefits of consistent training.
2. Aerobic Training (Cardiovascular)
No matter which trek you are on, your lungs will be working hard, especially if you are at altitude.
You need to ensure that you cardiovascular fitness is at its best, ensuring you can trek for long periods of time each day.
Always begin slowly, especially if you haven’t done a lot of aerobic exercise in the past, and increase your duration and intensity as you get fitter and stronger.
Interval training is excellent when preparing for a trek, as it trains your lungs to function at peak capacity.
Incorporating regular cardio workouts into your training will ensure you can get to the top of that mountain feeling good and ready to tackle the next mountain in front of you!
3. Strength and Conditioning.
Sometimes people have the misconception that if they do lots of hiking as preparation for their trek, then they will be prepared.
We do need to get lots of “miles in our legs”, but we also need strength in both the upper and lower body.
Remember you will be carrying a reasonable size pack which will weigh at least 6 or 7kg or heavier if you are carrying a full pack.
Strength training is essential and it may involve body weight exercises and/or using traditional weights and weight machines. Make sure you include fundamental strength exercises such as squats, deadlifts, shoulder, tricep and bicep exercises to help develop lower and upper body.
4. Core and Stability.
Core strength is what helps you maintain your posture and supports your back to remain strong.
Remember those heavy packs you are going to have on your back – a strong core will make this so much easier.
You will know that the terrain you will encounter along your trek is not going to be nice and flat. You will experience all types of terrain and will have to manoeuvre this with your pack on your back.
Stability and balance exercises are necessary to ensure your body is able to adapt to any terrain.
It takes time to develop your stability and balance, so ensure you are training for this early in your training plan.
The types of exercises that support abdominal strength are sit ups, leg raises and crunches.
The best way to train and strengthen your abdominal muscles is to ensure they are engaged at all times. Even if you are doing a bicep exercise, squeeze those abs in nice and tight and squeeze those glutes in as well – better results!
Don’t forget those oblique abdominals as they offer you strength and stability. Any exercise that works the body in the transverse plane is perfect for this.
5. Trek Specific Training.
Whilst you are on your amazing trek, you will be walking for up to 6 or 7 hours per day. Your body will need to be prepared for this type of endurance.
At least once a week, take yourself out to a beautiful bushwalking location near you and do a longer walk – usually a 3 or 4 hour walk is perfect. This will also ensure you have “walked in” your boots and tested your hiking gear!
More importantly this will condition your body to “keep going” and to adjust to the increased amount of time you are out on the track. When you are further into your training regime, it would be a great idea to go out two days in a row. This trains your body to rest after a day of trekking, then go again the following day.
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