Need to Know: How Should I Prepare for Hiking Uphill?

Uphill hike

Does hiking uphill feel totally terrible for you? If you’re a new hiker or you aren’t prepared for climbing uphill, it can be very much un-fun.

Hiking uphill can be hard. It makes you sweaty, your heart pounds and it’s easy to become completely out of breath. Quickly, too. 

Uphill hike

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you click and purchase, I receive a commission at no cost to you.

However, if you want to hike to big summits or secluded vistas, it’s kind of necessary evil. Depending on where you live, you may walk uphill often.

Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for hiking uphill that can make the entire climb much easier on your body, your heart, and your lungs.

Even better, these tips and techniques can help you no matter your current skill level or stamina. Let’s get into it.

Table of Contents

What are the Benefits of Hiking Uphill?

Aside from helping you to reach some seriously awesome views and vistas, hiking uphill has numerous benefits for both your body and your mind.

Hiking uphill or walking up an incline can help you burn more calories and boost your metabolism. It also helps your brain release mood-boosting endorphins.

Uphill hike

The muscles in your calves, hamstrings, and glutes are all activated when you walk uphill. You’ll tone your calves, thighs, and butt when hiking up a hill.

Hiking uphill is also great for cardiovascular health. When you hike uphill, your heart has to work harder. Over time, this strengthens your heart. 

If improving cardio health is important to you, this is a great way to go. Your heart will gain stamina and strength, just like any other muscle.

Uphill hike

Last but not least, uphill hiking is a great way to keep yourself in a fat-burning workout stage. If hiking for weight loss is your plan, try a hike with incline.

What’s the Best Way to Hike Uphill?

When you first start hiking uphill, one of the first things you’ll notice is challenging it can be. You’ll probably need a ton of breaks, and that’s totally fine.

Before any kind of hike, make sure your legs are warmed up. You can warm up your leg muscles with light hiking and hiking stretches.

Uphill hike

Once you start hiking uphill, take shorter steps. Shorter steps while hiking up an incline make it easier to lift your body up, like going up tiny stairs.

Shorter steps will cause you to go slower, but you can always increase your pace. Monitor your exertion levels as you find your best pace.

The extra work on your body will of course raise your heart rate and exertion levels, but you should still be able to speak full sentences, not gasp for air.

Uphill hike

Be prepared to take breaks, experiment with different stride lengths, and practice. Trekking poles can help and will be great for going back down, too.

In winter, toss a pair of microspikes for hiking into your daypack. They will help keep you from slipping on the uphill and the downhill. 

How Can I Get Better at Hiking Uphill?

The best way to get better and faster at hiking on inclines is to practice, practice, and then get more practice. This repetition will build stamina and strength.

With increased stamina, you can increase your speed. As you gain strength and stamina you’ll be able to sustain greater speeds for longer periods of time.

To get faster, experiment with different stride lengths – just be sure you’re not raising your knees too high. You can also just try walking faster uphill.

Uphill hike

The gym is a great place for cross training for hiking. You can walk or run on a treadmill on an incline or try out the stair stepper to improve stamina.

Other exercises for improving your uphill hiking speed include lunges and squats. Additionally, you can try walking or running in sand.

For enhanced speed on the trail, you can also try lightening your pack. Or, move your pack’s weight from your hips to your shoulders for increased speed.

How Should I Breathe When I Hike Uphill?

It’s normal to get really winded when you first start hiking uphill. Luckily, you can learn how to hike uphill without getting as winded over time.

One great way to prevent getting winded while uphill hiking is called pressure breathing. This is an easy technique that’s useful for all skill levels.

Uphill hike

When you hike uphill, your large leg and glute muscles need a lot more blood and a lot more oxygen – that’s why you get so out of breath.

Pressure breathing can help you bring in more oxygen in a single breath, giving you more stamina and helping you make it up the hill.

You do this by taking a big inhale and exhaling quickly and forcefully with each step, all while hiking slowly. 

Pressure breathing is a unique technique used by mountaineers hiking and climbing at high altitudes to get more oxygen. It can help you, too.

What Kind of Stretches Should I Do Before Hiking Uphill?

Stretching is essential to help prepare your body for uphill hikes. It can also help prevent you from getting so winded.

Your stretches and warm-ups for uphill hiking should focus on the major muscle groups you’ll be using: your thighs, calves, and glutes.

Uphill hike

Hamstring stretches help prepare your hamstrings for uphill hiking. This stretch can be done seated or while standing and resting your leg on a log.

Quadriceps stretches help prepare the muscles in the front of your thigh and can be done standing while you hold your foot with your hand.

A few more great hiking stretches to prepare your legs and glutes include lunges, toe touches, and the butterfly stretch.

What Are Good Post-Hike Stretches?

After your hike, focus on stretching out the muscles that you used the most. For uphill hikes, pay special attention to the legs and glutes.

Stretches like the seated butterfly stretch, glute stretch, seated hamstring stretch, and lunges can all help loosen up tight muscles from steep hiking.

Uphill hike

You can do the same stretches you did pre-hike, but try to incorporate some new ones, too. The key with post-hike stretches is loosening up tight muscles.

Stretching is so important to do both before and after your hike. It’s a simple and quick way to help your muscles recover and prevent injury.

After a hike, don’t focus on your legs. Stretch out your upper body, including arms, shoulders, core, and neck. Every muscle group is engaged while hiking.

What Exercises Can I Do to Improve My Uphill Hiking?

It’s not always practical to hit the trails every single day to keep your muscles in tip-top shape for hiking. Luckily, you can train at home.

Uphill hike

Here are some exercises you can do off-trail for training to hike uphill.

Walking or Running

Walking or running, especially on an incline, is a great way to train for hiking. If you have access to a treadmill, you can set it on an incline.


Lunges work most major muscles in your legs and glutes. This is a great exercise that can be done anywhere to prepare for hiking uphill.

Stairs (Or Stair Stepper)

Uphill hike

Stairs are a great way to keep your legs in great shape for hiking uphill. If you don’t have stairs, try local stadiums, the gym, or the mall.

Step-Ups and Calf Raises

Step-ups are another great way to work your leg muscles. Calf raises are a great strength training exercise for your calves, too.

You can do step-ups or calf raises on almost any step – even curbs around the neighborhood are a good tool for this.


Uphill hike

If you love to ride your bike, you’ll love to know that cycling is a great way to keep your legs in shape for hiking uphill.

How Should I Use Trekking Poles for Uphill Hiking?

Trekking poles are a great tool to use when hiking uphill. They provide balance and stability and are great for going back downhill, too.

Using trekking poles while hiking uphill is very intuitive. Use them in advance of each stride to provide balance and a little extra oomph from your arms.

Uphill hike

Using trekking poles is a great way to give your legs a little bit of assistance on hard uphill trails. They also help keep your balance on steep sections.

However, it’s important to remember not to solely rely on your poles to get you uphill. If your legs are too exhausted, give yourself a break.

Poles are also incredibly helpful (and also recommended) when hiking downhill. For downhill hiking, you may need to extend them a little bit.

When hiking downhill, trekking poles help you keep your balance and find your footing, and they can help protect your knees as well.

Wrap-Up Notes

There’s literally no way around it: if you’re an avid hiker (or want to be), you’re going to have to hike uphill at some point. Maybe a lot, too.

Uphill hike

Depending on where you live or the sights you want to see, hiking uphill to big views might be unavoidable. The good news is: it doesn’t have to be too hard.

The more you do it, the easier it will become. In the beginning, remembering how to stride, pace yourself, and breathe is so helpful.

If you don’t warm up first, breathe properly, or pace yourself, uphill hiking will exhaust you really quickly.

However, with the right techniques, pacing, and breathing, you’ll be able to reach the summit much easier.

Uphill hike

You’ll see great views, your body and mind will appreciate the workout, and your leg muscles will start to look awesome over time. It’s a win-win-win!

— Update: 24-04-2023 — found an additional article How Can I Get Faster At Uphill Hiking? from the website for the keyword uphill hike.

Below, I will detail a few different ways that you can get faster at hiking uphill. I will warn you, getting faster at hiking takes dedication to training. You wont be faster a hiking overnight, however if you get out on plenty of hikes in the meantime, and do other physical activities, you will become a better, faster hiker.

So, how exactly can I get faster at uphill hiking? You can get faster at hiking uphill by building strength and endurance, traveling lighter, and working out in a variety of different ways. You’ll need to build strength over time. So, make sure you start working out and training long before you are ready to get out on the trails or in the backcountry with a heavy pack.

Keep reading for our tips and tricks for building that uphill ability…

Improve Your Uphill Hiking Technique For Greater Efficiency

Here are a couple of different ways to improve your efficiency when hiking uphill.

A good pace is always a great way to make significant, noticeable progress while hiking uphill. Don’t go so fast that you tire yourself out too quickly but, try to go a little bit faster than you normally might. Hiking at a good steady pace will keep you consistent and you should be able to make quick progress of hiking uphill a little bit faster at a steady pace.

Taking Consistent Breaks is another way to improve your efficiency while hiking uphill. It might sound counter intuitive but taking regular, short, consistent breaks is a great way to keeping you moving fast uphill on to the next break. The goal of moving quickly and having a break on the horizon should fuel you to go a little faster and give you the rest you need to keep going.

Switching the weight of your pack from your hips to your shoulders is another way to help you hike faster uphill. Taking the weight off of your hips to give them a small break could be exactly what you need to keep going. Then, when your shoulders begin to get a little too tired, switch the weight back on to your hips. This keeps your body fresh and no part of you should get sore while hiking steadily uphill.

Staying positive is one of the best ways to keep efficiently moving uphill. If you have a good attitude, anything can happen with regard to your pace. Keep encouraging those you are with to stay moving and you will be sure to hike faster and full of energy. Even if you find you cant keep you pace, stay positive. There is no reason to get down on yourself or stress out while out hiking and enjoying the outdoors.

Lighten Your Pack Weight To Travel Faster

If you are very worried about hiking faster, you might want to lighten up your backpack weight to increase speed. Sometimes, as hikers, we get too caught up in being over prepared. Reassess the hike you are going on and ask yourself if there is anything in your backpack that you absolutely do not need or can just have in the car after hiking.

Often, we want to bring too many layers or more than enough snacks for lunch. Furthermore, we might bring more water than is needed for the length of hike (although, you can never bring enough water). Regardless, be cognizant of what you bring and where the weight of your backpack is distributed.

Also Read: 49 Ways to Lighten Your Backpacking Load

Antiquated backpacks often have an excess of material or have features that add weight unnecessarily. Consider getting a new backpack if yours is older in age. There are many on the market today that are made to be lightweight and still have plenty of space for provisions making you a faster hiker carrying less weight.

Exercises That Are Great For Uphill Hiking

Here are a bunch of different exercises that are great for hiking. Getting good at and repetitively doing these exercises will also make you a faster uphill hiker and build a lot of leg strength.

Climbing Stairs

Climbing stairs is a great way to get faster when hiking uphill because it builds both strength and endurance. If you are part of a local gym, you can use the StairMaster machines they might have near the other endurance equipment. If you do not, go to a nearby multistory parking garage and walk up the stairs to the top a couple of times and back down on the ramps to keep it easy on your joints.

You can use a GPS watch to track your elevation gain as well as distance traveled to steadily increase these workouts. If you want to make it a little bit more challenging, fill your backpack with a couple sand bags or the gear you plan to bring while backpacking. You’ll be happy you did this on the harder days of your hikes.

Inclined Treadmill Walking or Running

Running on a treadmill is a great exercise for gaining strength in your legs which will make you a faster uphill hiker. If you are concerned about your joints running both on a treadmill and on pavement, consider an elliptical machine.

Make workouts in the gym and while out running more difficult by pushing yourself on the uphills or by increasing the incline. This will help break down those hiking specific muscles so they can come back even stronger.

Lunges and Step-Ups

Just doing simple lunges and step-ups onto a single step makes a great workout for any hiker. Both of these workouts simulate climbing stairs but can be done holding weights close to the body, over your head, or with other variations to make them harder.

Read more  Hiking Mount Wilson, Colorado – Trail Map, Pictures, Description & More

Lunges and step-ups also are great at building strength through repetition and endurance in your legs making you a better and faster hiker especially on the uphills.

Run or Walk On Sand

Sand creates a resistance that makes it much harder to run or walk on. This makes sand great to exercise in by running sprints, light jogging, or even just walking barefoot along the beach for an extended amount of time.

These exercises vary in difficulty so those of all fitness levels can start where they feel comfortable. If the sand near you is on a beach, jump in the water for a great full body workout with some long distance swimming.

Uphill hike

Do Squats Help With Hiking?

Squats will vastly improve your hiking abilities as well as the core strength needed to live a long, healthy life. Squats are also the strength used for most everyday activities so even if you aren’t looking to hike faster, they’re still a great exercise to do regularly in order to stay in shape.

Four of the main muscles that are worked when properly squatting are the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. These muscles also make up the majority of muscles used while walking and hiking. Thus, squatting is a great way to get into shape for hiking season or before you embark on a longer hike or backpacking trip.

Also Read: How to Get in Shape for Hiking: Training, Tips and Exercises

I would recommend squatting up to three times per week a few months before you are planing on taking a longer trip. Try to focus on maximum reps instead of high weights. Trying to do more reps will help you by building leaner muscle. When you are out hiking for a long time, you need endurance to keep going which comes from leaner muscle.

Make sure you give your muscles enough time to relax and recuperate before your trip. You don’t want to be sore from the gym while out enjoying the wilderness. Especially when you need that strength to continue hiking.

How To Increase Your Stamina For Hiking

If you love hiking, you’re in luck because the best way to increase your stamina for hiking is by actually going out and hiking! If you continually tackle longer trails and higher peaks, your stamina for hiking will naturally be increased.

Start with trails you know and are comfortable with, then take a look at trails in your area that are slightly more difficult. An app like CalTopo is a great resource to finding new trails to hike and being able to read the trail rating and other users reviews of the trail. Apps like that include information on basically every trail and campground in the United States.

There are a few other good ways to increase your stamina for hiking. Running for long periods of time, walking with extra weight on your back, and jogging a few miles a couple of times a week are all great workouts. You can also get in the gym to increase you strength and stamina for hiking. The gym will help build the muscles you need to hike faster uphill and have great stamina for hiking.

Is Cycling Good For Hiking?

Cycling is a great way to increase your stamina as a hiker. Many of the muscles used in cycling are also those worked while hiking. These muscles include the glutes, the quadriceps, and the hamstrings. Cycling uses a wide variety of muscles throughout the pedal and in your posture.

Because there is constant tension on the muscles while cycling, it is a great way to increase leg strength, stamina, and endurance. Being a better cyclist will build endurance in the legs making you a better hiker, and better athlete in general.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to become a better, faster uphill hiker. But keep in mind that everyone is different. Figure out what workouts work for you and stick to them routinely. You need to give your body time to develop and build those muscles making them stronger and ready for long term stress that comes with hiking.

Above all, get outside to train your body as often as you can. According to this study on treadmill walking vs hiking outdoors, there is good evidence that hitting the trails is better for you than the gym. Stay consistent with your efforts and before you know it you’ll find yourself stronger than ever.

One final tip – if you have never hiked with trekking poles, try it out! Poles can greatly increase your efficiency while hiking uphill. Although, they do add some extra weight, they more than make up for it with the extra power you’ll experience when using them on steep terrain. You can even get them in ultra lightweight carbon fiber and foldable as well for easy storage.

Up Next In Hiking:

The 10 Scariest Hikes In America – Would You Dare?!

How Do I Prepare My Dog for Hiking? (10 Tips)

How Long Does a Five Mile Hike Take?

Safely Hike ALONE – The Complete Guide For A Solo Hike

Share this article!

— Update: 25-04-2023 — found an additional article How to Prepare for Uphill Hiking from the website for the keyword uphill hike.

Hiking uphill is difficult for any hiker. For a long time, I considered the uphill section of any hike to be the worst. Not only was it physically challenging during the hike but the day after was also painful. My legs, back, and shoulders burned, so much so that I would need a few days to recover. I, eventually, realized that I needed to train for hiking uphill! And I learned which exercise helps prepare for uphill hiking.

Once I began training, I was able to do it with ease. I, even, passed the 6000-meter mark while climbing Chachani! And, today I want to share with you my strategy, so you can turn uphill hiking into the strongest section of your hike.

I’ve put together a list of the best exercises to help you prepare for uphill hiking. It’s divided into three sections: strength training, cardio, and stretching. And, at the end of this article, you will find a free printable 8-week training program to help you get fit for uphill hiking.

Uphill hike
How to Prepare for Uphill Hiking

Table of Contents

  • Which exercise helps prepare for uphill hiking?
    • Strength Training Exercises
    • Cardio Training
    • Abdominal Exercises
  • How to Hike Uphill
  • Free Printable 8-Week Training Program

Which exercise helps prepare for uphill hiking?

Strength Training Exercises

Uphill hike
Strength Training Exercises

Uphill hiking requires you to walk at a slight incline, which forces your body to lean forward. This puts extra stress on your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calf muscles. There’s also extra strain placed on the stabilizing muscles in your legs, hips, and abs while hiking downhill. So, it’s important to work on strengthening these key muscle groups.

Below I’ve listed the best strength training exercises that can help you develop the muscles required for uphill hiking.

1. Squats

Squats are a great exercise for hikers because they target the big leg muscles. In one motion you work your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. And, since you use all these muscles while hiking uphill, it’s the perfect exercise.

Even though the motion looks easy, squats can be difficult to do properly.

Here is the correct way to do a squat:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Slightly turn your feet outward (anywhere between 5-30 degrees).
  • Stretch your arms out in front of you so that they are level with your shoulders.
  • Keeping your chest up and your back straight, slowly squat down. As you squat down your back should remain parallel with your calves.
  • When the back of your thighs become parallel with the floor take a one-second pause before going back up. The pause at the bottom is important because it ensures you are not using momentum to push yourself back up.

Squats can be done without added weight. But if you feel you are strong enough, you can hold dumbbells, a barbell, or even your hiking backpack.

2. Calf Raises

Have your calves ever burned the day after hiking uphill? Or even during a hike? I have no doubt any hiker would say, “Yes!”

The best way to prevent this is to strengthen your calf muscles. And the easiest exercise is calf raises.

Here’s how to do calf raises:

  • Stand straight up on a flat surface.
  • Raise your left leg off the ground.
  • Slowly raise your right heel while keeping your knee straight. If you need extra support, place your hands on the wall in front of you.
  • Pause for one second at the top, and slowly lower your heel to the ground.
  • Repeat.
  • Switch to the other leg when you have completed your repetitions.

If single-leg calf raises are too difficult, you can do them with both legs, using the same motion. If it’s too easy, hold dumbbells, a barbell, or stand on an incline.

Useful tip: It’s important to go slowly. If you go too quick, they won’t be effective.

3. Push-ups

Even though push-ups are my arch-nemesis, they are very effective. In fact, they are key for building upper body strength. And, if done properly, they also engage the lower back and abdominal muscles.

I learned how to do a push-up by following this complete push-up guide. And don’t worry if you can’t do one right now. This guide shows you alternatives and how to work towards doing a full push-up.

4. Jump-Squat

The jump-squat is an advanced version of the squat. It’s also a great cardio addition to your strength training.

Here is how to do a jump-squat:

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Proceed as you would for a squat.
  • When your thighs become parallel to the floor, press your feet down and explode off the floor. Jump as high as you can, but don’t lock your knees.
  • As you land, allow your knees to bend 45 degrees, and then, immediately, drop down into a squat.
  • Repeat.

5. Side Leg Lifts

Along with calf raises, side leg lifts are an exercise that is very important for uphill hiking. This exercise builds strength in your outer thighs and hips and improves your range of motion. It’s an easy exercise that can be done lying down or standing up.

Here’s how to do a side leg lift:

  • Lie down on your left side with your legs extended and your feet stacked on top of each other. Your body should be in a straight line, and, while your legs are straight, your knees should not be locked.
  • Place your left arm straight on the floor and bend your elbow so you are cradling your head for support. Place your right arm on your right leg or in front of you for extra support.
  • Raise your right leg off your left leg until it’s perpendicular to your body. (If this is too much, stop when you feel the muscles flex in your lower back.)
  • Slowly lower your right leg back down to the starting position.
  • Repeat.
  • Switch to the other side when you have completed your repetitions.

6. Burpees

Burpees are the ultimate full-body workout. In fact, they engage all the necessary muscles for uphill hiking! It’s also a more advanced exercise than the ones above. So, if you are not ready for this, then it’s ok to skip it until you’ve increased your strength with the other exercises.

Here’s how to do a burpee:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your arms at your sides.
  • Then, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body into a squat.
  • Put your hands on the floor in front of your feet (shoulder-width apart).
  • As you shift your weight onto your hands, jump back so that you land on the balls of your feet. You are now in a plank position and your body is in a straight line from your head to your heels.
  • Then, jump your feet back so they land between your hands.
  • Reach your arms over your head and jump.
  • Land and repeat.

Useful tip: Always keep your back straight. If you have back pain the day after, it’s most likely because your posture was incorrect during the exercise.

Cardio Training

One of the best things you can do to prepare for uphill hiking is cardio training. And any type of cardio workout will get the job done. If you’re just beginning, choose the exercise you like best – running, swimming, biking. Don’t pick something you hate, or you won’t do it.

Here’s a list of cardio exercises that will prepare you for uphill hiking:

  • Running
  • HIIT Training or Cross Fit
  • Biking/Spinning
  • Speed Walking

If you have a gym membership, try these machines:

  • Elliptical
  • Stairmaster
  • Treadmill (so you can add an incline)

Useful tip: Some people hate cardio training, but it’s necessary. Start slow and do things you like. A training buddy can also make it more enjoyable.

Abdominal Exercises

Uphill hike
Abdominal Exercises

While hiking uphill, your abs help you maintain an upright posture and support the weight from your backpack. There are hundreds of different exercises you can do to strengthen your abs.

Below are the exercises that I’ve found to be the most effective.

1. Sit-Ups

There’s an endless debate on whether crunches or sit-ups are better. I enjoy both exercises and think they both are effective.

Here’s how to do sit-ups correctly:

  • Lie down on your back.
  • Bend your knees and put both feet on the floor, hip-width apart.
  • Place your arms behind your neck.
  • Gently lift your upper body and sit up until your back is no longer on the floor, keeping your head and neck relaxed.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.

Useful tip: Don’t pull on your neck at any point during the exercise. Your hands are only there to support your head and neck.

2. Plank

The plank is the perfect exercise to help you prepare for uphill hiking because targets it the entire abdominal area.

Here’s how to do a plank:

  • Lie down on your stomach.
  • Raise yourself on your elbows, forearms, and toes.
  • Make sure to keep your body straight and hold this position for a set amount of time.

If you are a beginner, try to hold a plank for 10-20 seconds. As you get better, gradually increase the time.

3. Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch uses the upper and lower abs and the obliques, all in a single exercise.

Here’s how to do a bicycle crunch:

  • Lie down on your back.
  • Lift your legs and bend your knees so that your knees are perpendicular to your hips.
  • Place your hands behind your head.
  • Extend your right leg out and move your left leg towards your chest.
  • Gently lift your upper body, keeping your head and neck relaxed.
  • Turn your upper body towards your left leg so that your right elbow approaches your left knee. Your elbow should stay in the same position relative to your head during the movement.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

4. Leg Lifts (Raises)

Leg lifts are excellent for isolating your lower abs.

Here’s how to do a leg lift:

  • Lie down on your back with your legs in the air.
  • Keeping your legs together, lower your legs towards the floor. Stop when you feel your back lifting off the floor.
  • Repeat.

Useful tip: Don’t allow your lower back to arch off the floor or your legs to come apart. And remember to exhale on the way down and inhale on the way up.

5. Hip Bridge

While the hip bridge does not technically work your abs, it does strengthen your core. It targets your glutes, which provide stability during uphill hiking.

Here’s how to do a hip bridge:

  • Lay with your back flat on the floor.
  • Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor, hip-width apart.
  • Push down with your feet, keeping them below your knees, and lift your hips. Your upper back should remain on the floor.
  • Slowly lower your hips back down to the ground. Be sure to maintain control until your hips touch the floor.
  • Repeat.

Stretching Exercises

Uphill hike
Stretching Exercises

The benefits of stretching are endless. It reduces stiffness and lower back pain while increasing flexibility. And, most importantly, it reduces your risk of injury. In general, you should always stretch before and after any form of exercise. I even stretch during water breaks when I hike!

Below are the best stretches that target the muscles you use while hiking uphill.

1. Hamstring Stretch

The hamstring stretch stretches the back of your thigh.

Here’s how to do a hamstring stretch:

  • Stand up with your back straight and legs together.
  • Slowly bend down and reach for your toes.
  • Hold for at least 10 seconds.

2. Quadricep Stretch

The quadricep stretch stretches the front of your thigh.

Here’s how to do a quadricep stretch:

  • Stand on your left leg.
  • Lift your right leg and bring your right heel back towards your butt.
  • Grab your ankle with your right hand. If you need extra support, put your left hand on the wall in front of you.
  • Hold for at least 10 seconds and repeat on the other leg.

Useful tip: It’s important to keep your knees aligned and push your hips forward.

3. Calf Stretch

The calf stretch stretches the back of the lower leg. I am constantly stretching calves when I hike, especially if know I have to hike uphill. There is nothing worse than your calves burning the next day.

Here’s how to do a calf stretch:

  • Stand in a lunge position with your right leg in front of your left leg. Both feet should be facing forwards.
  • Slightly bend your right knee.
  • Push your left heel into the floor and lean forward.
  • Hold for at least 10 seconds and repeat on the other leg.

Read more  Three Hikes in the Tillamook State Forest

4. Lying-Down Twist

The lying-down twist targets your lower back and hips. Flexibility in these muscle groups not only reduces your risk of injury but also gives you the range of motion needed for uphill hiking.

Here’s how to do a lying-down twist:

  • Lay with your back on the floor.
  • Open your arms so they form a T with your torso.
  • Turn your palms down.
  • Bend your knees and bring them towards your chest. Stop when they are perpendicular to your hips.
  • With your knees together and your shoulders flat on the floor, gently rotate to the left.
  • If you can, let your knees touch the floor, otherwise, stop when you start to feel the stretch in your lower back.
  • Hold for at least 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.

5. Knee to Chest Stretch

The knee-to-chest stretch targets the lower back, glutes, and hips. This exercise has the same added benefit as the lying-down twist.

Here’s how to do the knee-to-chest stretch:

  • Lay with your back and legs flat on the floor.
  • Bend your right knee and pull it towards your chest.
  • Use your hands to hold your leg in the stretch.
  • Hold for at least 10 seconds and repeat on the other leg.

6. Cross-Arm Stretch

Uphill hiking puts stress on your shoulders, especially if you have a heavy backpack. So, it’s important to stretch this muscle group. The easiest stretch you can do is the cross-arm stretch.

Here’s how to do the cross-arm stretch:

  • Standing upright, bring your right arm across the front of your body (about chest height).
  • Support your right arm with your left hand and hold your right arm.
  • Hold for at least 10 seconds and repeat on the other arm.

7. Glute Stretch (aka Pigeon Pose)

The pigeon pose is more of an advanced stretch. It releases tension in your glutes, hips, and back. And it’s one of the best stretches you can do if you have IT band syndrome.

Here’s how to do the pigeon pose stretch:

  • Start on all fours.
  • Lay your left knee toward your left wrist and put your shin on the floor. At the same time, move your left ankle toward your right wrist.
  • Slide your right leg back with your toes pointed.
  • Make sure your hips are forward and extend your spine upwards.
  • If you have the flexibility, gently walk your hands forward. As you lean forward be sure to keep your back straight.
  • Hold for at least 10 seconds and repeat on the other leg.

It can be tricky to get this stretch right. So, for a video on how to do the pigeon pose correctly, click here.

How to Hike Uphill

Uphill hike
Use Trekking Poles when Hiking Uphill

Now that you know which exercise helps prepare for uphill hiking, the next question is how to do it. Yes, you can start walking, but there are things you can do to reduce the impact on your body.

  • Warm-up. Hiking uphill is a workout, more so than walking on a flat trail. So, before you start, do a 5–10-minute warm-up. This can include jogging in place, jumping jacks, squats, or any of the exercises listed above. Once you’ve warmed up, stretch!
  • Stretch. I will say it again, STRETCH! It’s the best way to prevent an injury.
  • Zip-zag. Don’t walk straight up, but zig-zag. It reduces the impact and makes the incline easier to hike.
  • Shorten your steps. This makes it easier to lift your body and your backpack.
  • Lean slightly into the hill. Your body will naturally lean into the hill, but make sure you don’t bend your waist. If you lean too much in either direction you risk straining your back and hips.
  • Use trekking poles. I’m a big fan of trekking poles, and they are part of my essential hiking gear list. They can assist you not only when you hike uphill, but also when you hike downhill.

Free Printable 8-Week Training Program

Here’s your free 8-week training program to help you prepare for your next hike.

Hiking uphill is one of the most challenging sections of a hike. But if you exercise and prepare your body, it will not seem as daunting. It may even one day become your favorite part! Use the exercises in this guide to prepare for your next hike uphill.

Read More Hiking Articles

I hope you enjoyed my article on how to prepare for uphill hiking and found it useful. Here are some other articles that you might find interesting.

  • My Best Hiking Tips From Around The World
  • How to Choose the Right Backpack for Hiking

— Update: 29-04-2023 — found an additional article How To Hike Uphill: Improve Your Uphill Hiking from the website for the keyword uphill hike.

Whether you’re short on time or want to improve your fitness levels, faster uphill hiking can be very rewarding.

Sometimes a faster hike brings a bigger sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. It’s measurable and comparable. And, when it comes to measuring fitness levels, it’s a tangible form of tracking your progress.

Improving your uphill hiking speed is a great workout in a shorter period of time. Taking a fast hike is a great way to reap several health benefits, such as building muscle. Additionally, faster hiking is great for cardiovascular health, too.

How to Get Better at Hiking Uphill

The best way to hike faster uphill is to get better at hiking uphill in general. It’s comparable to any other fitness routine: start slow and focus on form, then improve from there.

You may want to know, “how do I get better at hiking uphill?”. No worries – this will help you get started.

Here are the best 10 ways to improve your uphill hiking speed:

  • Have a baseline
  • Build your leg strength
  • Use the right hiking posture
  • Set clear & defined hiking speed goals
  • Do hill runs
  • Stay consistent
  • Add weight to your hikes
  • Eat the right food
  • Wear the right hiking footwear
  • Rest

While this sounds simple enough, it’s important to dissect exactly how each of these points helps you get better at hiking uphill.

Why You Should Improve Your Uphill Hiking Speed

Most of the time, the seasoned hiker won’t worry too much about how fast they’re completing their hike. Speed isn’t always the point.

A lot of hikers simply love the outdoors and enjoy exploring everything nature has to offer.

Others like the challenge of a more intense hike. Some, like me, love the fitness benefits of hiking and are always looking to make progress.

There are several different reasons why you would want to hike faster. Knowing what you’re going after is the most important thing here.

Are you looking to increase your uphill hiking speed to improve your health? Are you looking to finish a long hike in a shorter period of time? Maybe you want to train for that long dreamed about day hike you’ve been wanting to take.

Reasoning aside, there are several benefits of improving your uphill hiking speed.

Benefits Of Faster Uphill Hiking

There are several benefits to faster uphill hiking:

  • Complete longer hikes faster
  • Improve cardiovascular endurance
  • Improve leg endurance
  • Have a measurable goal for hiking fitness
  • Build endurance for longer, slower hikes

Keeping a normal pace for hiking in itself is a great way to improve your physical and mental health.

It’s argued that a slower pace is better for overall health. Regardless, increasing the intensity and speed of your hiking is a fantastic way to get a “burn”. This includes strengthening muscles and cardiovascular health.

Increase Hiking Speed: Step-By-Step Guide to Improve Your Uphill Hiking Speed

Luckily, I went through the headache of figuring this out on my own so you don’t have to.

I’ve tried countless different approaches. These are the things that worked best for me and helped improve my uphill hiking speed.

As with anything, it’s recommended that you experiment with different, customized approaches. What works for one person won’t always work for everyone. Make adjustments where needed and don’t overdo it because of your thirst for progress. Take it slow and smart.

10. Have a Baseline

When it comes to making progress, we first need a quantifiable baseline to compare with.

Your baseline is going to be your average hiking speed for a specified distance. Make sure you set a goal for distance and stick to it.

If you compare your speed to varying distances, it’s going to screw your numbers up. This will make it far more difficult to gauge progress.

I measure my baseline at a short distance at a given pace. So, for example:

Average Speed + Distance = Baseline.

This is a simple way to get your hiking speed and performance baseline. If you want to increase speed, you need to improve your speed until your increased speed feels “normal”.

This is common with runners. You will notice the increase right away when you’ve been running the same distance for a while. Once you’ve made improvements, it doesn’t feel as difficult anymore.

So for an actual example, let’s say my average pace is 3.5mph uphill, for half of a mile, the equation would look like this:

3.5 + 0.5 = 4

The number four (4) is my baseline. Yes, it’s an arbitrary number, but it’s a simple way to find out if I’m improving or not.

09. Build Your Leg Strength

Hiking uses several muscles in your legs and core. When speed is intensified—especially uphill—extra work is put on the muscles.

Increasing your speed over time will increase the muscle endurance in your legs. But, there are exercises — like squats, lunges, and calf raises — that speed up the process. These exercises help build the strength needed to improve your uphill hiking speed.

Spending extra time to build muscles in your leg is also a great way to tackle harder and longer hikes in the future.

And for those who want to drop weight, more muscle helps you burn fat. It’s an all-around win.

08. Use The Right Hiking Posture

Like a normal-paced hike, always keep your spine in a neutral position. Also, be sure to maintain the proper footing.

This can be difficult to get used to at first, so don’t get discouraged if it’s not clicking with you right away. Resist the urge to go from an average speed of 3 mph to 6 mph. This will actually slow down your progress. That’s because you will develop bad habits from not using the proper form.

Take it slow and increase your speed over time.

07. Set Clear & Defined Hiking Speed Goals

Use your baseline calculation and figure out what your goals are. Then, adjust your hiking training to meet your goals.

A good way to meet goals is to set a number for the end of the week or month. From there, climb up to that goal by the deadline.

This will help you stay on track and know what you’re doing. It also helps you keep track of current progress so you’re actually getting it done.

The way I calculate my hiking speed goals and progress are as follows:

  • Day 1: 0.5 miles @ 3mph
  • Day 2: 0.5 miles @ 3.2mph
  • Day 3: 0.5 miles @ 3.5mph
  • Day 4: 0.5 miles @ 3.8mph

Of course, this all depends on how frequently you hike and how fast you want to progress. Make the needed adjustments to fit your goals.

If you want to get up to 4mph in 2 weeks, start at 2mph and increase in small increments. Follow this pattern until you reach 4 mph by the end of the two weeks. Once you’ve reached that, keep at your new hiking speed until it’s easy, and set a new goal for a few weeks later.

This approach helped me remove a lot of the mental cloudiness and anxiety from meeting goals. Always break them down into smaller tasks and knock them out, one-by-one.

06. Do Hill Runs

Uphill hike

“Oh no,” you say. “You didn’t say we’d have to do running!”

Relax, eager hiker. This isn’t a must-do, it’s just a consideration.

Quite frankly, hill runs don’t feel that hard when you’re doing them. Sure, you’re going to feel gassed out when you’re done, but they’re very satisfying when you’re in the act.

Needless to say, you’ll want some trail running shoes for this. Jetting up a hill in heavy hiking boots isn’t the best idea.

For hill runs, set your distance lower. It doesn’t need to be a half-mile. Heck, it doesn’t even need to be a quarter-mile.

The point of hill runs is to get in fast spurts of running uphill to improve your muscle and cardio endurance. Trust me – they’re awesome (and that’s coming from someone who once despised running).

05. Stay Consistent

I don’t mean to linger on this but it’s a good habit to build: consistency brings results. Plain and simple.

To improve your uphill hiking speed, you must be consistent with your training. It’s how your body adapts and improves.

In the event of a missed day or two, start over and get your uphill hiking speed down until you reach your weekly goal. Don’t skip a couple of days and then increase your speed on the next hike—this isn’t going to go well.

Always stick to your progress goals.

04. Hike With Resistance & Weight

Uphill hike

This is best suited for those who reach their speed goals and don’t want to increase the speed or distance of their current baseline. Adding weight is fantastic for taking the same distance at your original speed and increasing your progress from there.

Though, be warned: this can make it harder to track your overall speed progress.

03. Eat The Right Food

Uphill hike

As tempting as it sounds, the last thing you want to do for before a hike is to load up on donuts and sweets. Picking the best snacks for hiking is vital in improving your performance.

Always make sure you’re following the best macronutrient (protein/fat/carbs) ratios for energy.

You’ll likely want to eat non-starchy carbs, some lean protein (or whey protein), and some healthy fats like that found in almonds.

Eating the right food is necessary for improving any type of fitness goal. Anything other is just negligent and will hinder your progress.

02. Wear The Right Hiking Footwear

Uphill hike

Just because we want to improve our uphill hiking speed doesn’t mean you can throw on some cross-trainers or sneakers.

Don’t do that.

Instead, opt for trail running shoes. If you don’t want to purchase a pair, you can always use regular running shoes, just make sure they have the proper support in the soles and ankle.

Likewise, hiking boots aren’t ideal if you’re looking to break a certain speed during an uphill hike. Using a pace that’s closer to jogging should be done with trail running shoes and not hiking boots.

Hiking boots tend to be stiffer and heavier, which is fine for an average pace. But, if you’re going to start pacing uphills, consider a trail running shoe that has more flexibility.

01. Get The Right Amount Of Rest

You should always get adequate rest not only after your hiking or hill-running sessions but during your sessions, too.

Just like any fitness routine, growth comes from rest.

Be sure to take frequent breaks and take a swig of water, especially if you’re hiking on hot days. Always be sure you’re bringing the right amount of water for a hike. Snack breaks are good, too, if you’re running low on physical energy.

Best Way to Improve Your Uphill Hiking Speed? Just Start.

It can be easy to get bogged down in detail and have a sudden stroke of analysis paralysis. Don’t sweat it.

If you feel beaten into oblivion by everything listed, here’s how to get past it and make progress: just start.

Don’t expect to be zooming up hills and through hikes at a cheetah’s pace overnight. Don’t ignore small progress either.

Just lace up your shoes, put them on the trail, and get moving! Track your progress, and take the small wins to start. Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back when you succeed.

Remember: focus on form and better uphill hiking to start with, then slowly start increasing your speed thereafter.

— Update: 29-04-2023 — found an additional article How to Prepare for Uphill Hiking: Workout Plan, Exercises and Videos from the website for the keyword uphill hike.

Do you have your sights set on that exhilarating trek you saw on Instagram? Has it been months since you last did some exercise? Now, we’re not saying you can’t do it, but you might want to do some training before you attempt any serious or multi-day hiking.

Uphill hiking can involve navigating high altitudes and uneven terrain – it’s no walk in the park!

Uphill hike

Why should I train for uphill hiking? Isn’t walking enough?

Hiking is all about enjoying the journey, but you need to be in good shape to do so. Your average everyday walking doesn’t come close to the level of strain uphill hiking puts on your muscles and stamina.

Luckily, if you start from decent physical condition, a few months of training should be enough to get you in shape. You don’t want to be huffing and puffing when you should be enjoying the view. Let’s get those endorphins flowing!

Determine your current fitness level

To train for hiking uphill, you’ll want to develop a program targeting your weak points. The three fitness components we’ll cover in this article are flexibility, aerobic fitness, and strength, all of them integral to hiking.

Particularly in the mountains. Being fit and getting in shape for hiking also helps protect against minor injuries.

You probably have a vague idea about whether you’re in shape or not, but several well-established tests can tell you what areas you should be working on.

Read more  How to Prepare for Uphill Hiking: Workout Plan, Exercises and Videos

Aerobic fitness

A common gauge of cardiovascular fitness is the mile run. You can compare your time against other people in your age group. If you want to take it a step further, you can do the maximum aerobic function (MAF) test, which tests your heart rate while performing cardio like running, cycling, etc.


Flexibility is a tough one to test since we have so many muscle groups and everybody uses them differently. If you’re interested, there is a range of tests you can carry out to see which muscles you need to stretch out.


Since strength depends so much on each person’s shape and size, it’s hard to find a generalized test for strength. Activities like jumping, push-ups, pull-ups, wall sit, etc. are a useful gauge, but the best way to keep track of your progress may just be to keep track of your improvements over time.

Overall Fitness

One of the easiest ways to test your fitness is by trying to do a bodyweight squat with perfect form, which is actually a lot more difficult than it sounds.

Any weaknesses in your flexibility or strength will be evident, as it’s difficult to compensate when doing squats. If you’re concerned about your dynamic movement abilities, you can get a professional to administer the functional movement screen for you.

Inspired by evolutionary ideas of fitness, the primal blueprint fitness pyramid places importance on a person’s ability to sprint, lift heavy things and move frequently at a slow pace. Four essential movements according to this doctrine are push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and planks.

For a more in-depth measure of your fitness level, check out this Runner’s World article on how to test your fitness.

Planning your workouts: how to prepare a training plan

Most people agree that 3 months before the big trek is a good time to start training. Of course, this will depend on your original fitness level and on the intensity of the terrain you’re training for, among other factors.

Your hiking training program should include elements tackling strength, balance, flexibility, and cardio. Unless you are planning to hire a personal trainer, you’ll want to create your own tailor-made training program, focusing on the components you feel you need to improve.

Alternate cardio, strength, and rest days, incorporating balance and flexibility exercises along the way. Start off slow and go at your own pace – don’t push yourself so hard that you collapse after the first workout session!

And finally, don’t forget to warm up and warm down.

We recommend checking with your doctor before starting a new training regimen.

So, Which Exercise Helps Prepare for Uphill Hiking?

As you’ve gathered, no specific ‘one’ exercise will help prepare you for trekking in the mountains.

Strength training

The obvious difference between uphill hiking and regular walking is uphill hiking requires you to heave your body up an incline, taxing your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calf muscles.

A less obvious strain is placed on the stabilizing muscles in your legs and ankles when going downhill. You’ll also need to have a strong core and good balance to cope with the uneven terrain of uphill hiking. These resistance exercises can help you develop your hiking muscles:

  • Squats:

    Squats are notoriously hard to pull off perfectly. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, stretch your arms out in front of you and slowly squat down, keeping your back straight and parallel with your calves. Do 10-20 reps at a time. Once you’ve mastered the technique, try adding weight – for example, your hiking pack.

  • Lunges:

    Lunges are a great way to strengthen your quadriceps (thighs). Take a giant step forward and sink down until your forward leg is bent at a right angle; hold it for a second and then repeat with the other leg. Do 10-20 reps at a time. You can also add weight here once you’ve got the hang of it.

  • Step-ups:

    Step-ups are one of the easiest ways to work your quads and get in shape for a hike. They’re easy – it’s just stepping onto a step and back down again over and over again. And you can vary it up by stepping diagonally, etc. to mimic the unpredictable nature of hiking terrain.

  • Plank:

    We used to have to do these as punishments at soccer practice, and I hated them! But they are beneficial for strengthening core muscles, which you’ll need if you want to be lugging around a heavy backpack. Lie down face-first on the floor and raise yourself up on your elbows and forearms, keeping your body flat, like the eponymous plank. Hold the position for as long as you can. A variation is the sideways plank, where you support yourself on one arm and one hip, facing sideways.

  • Leg raise:

    Another soccer punishment. This one is great for working your abs. Lie on your back and raise your legs in the air; hold for 20 seconds.

  • Standing calf raise:
    I find my calves always burn when I’m doing a lot of downhill.
    To strengthen your calf muscles, assume a standing position, lift yourself onto tiptoes and then back down again. Do three sets of 6-8 reps.
  • Sit-ups and crunches:
    The jury is out on what’s better for you, sit-ups or crunches, but they are both beneficial to your abs.
    To do crunches, lie down on your back with your knees bent at a 90? angle, and curl your head partly up until you feel the burn in your abs. To do sit-ups, raise your head until it touches your knees, being careful to keep your back straight. Exhale as you’re crunching your abs. Do a few sets of 15-20 reps.
  • Burpees:

    Is this cardio or strength training?
    Trick question: it’s actually torture.
    Burpees are rightfully infamous – and useful.
    Start in an upright position and then fall to the ground in a crouch. Do a push-up, spring back into a crouch position and then jump straight upwards, punching your hands towards the sky. Repeat again and again until you feel like you’re dying.


Any kind of cardio training is helpful, so start off by doing the cardiovascular exercise you like best – running, swimming, biking or even rowing.

If you’re a gym rat, consider an inclined treadmill or the elliptical. As a bare minimum, you should be doing at least half an hour of cardio, 3-4 times a week.

You’ll eventually want to incorporate walking and short hikes into your cardio routine, to target the muscles you’ll use when uphill hiking.

To increase the benefits, try walking or running up and down hills and over uneven terrain, and start walking with your backpack on to get used to the weight.


While hiking isn’t exactly a fast-moving sport, it does require navigating over branches and rocky surfaces. These exercises for hiking will help your balance and proprioception.

  • Step back:

    While standing with your feet together, take a giant step back with one foot. Slide your other foot slowly backward until it meets the first foot, keeping your core upright.
    Repeat with the other foot. You can switch it up by trying this on grass or sand.

  • Jump squats:

    Jump squats are a lot like regular squats, except you jump into the next squat in one fluid movement instead of going slowly.

  • Jumping down: This is a simple exercise, but it will help you immeasurably for when you’re working your way down a bumpy hill. From a height of a few feet, jump onto a soft surface and land with both feet at once, flexing your knees to cushion the impact.

Extra exercises to train for hiking

The following are some bonus exercises that specifically target movements you’ll need when uphill hiking.

  • Mountain climbers:

    These are a full-body workout, and they also help balance. Get in position as if you were about to do a push-up, then bring one foot forward as if you were on the starting block of a race. Then, switch legs in one go. Keep your hips flat, trying not to raise them. Do as many reps as you can in 30 seconds.

  • Supermans:

    Still looking for a way to strengthen those abs. Lie flat on your face with your arms stretched out in front of you. Lift your head and feet off the ground so your hips are maintaining all your weight as if you were Superman flying through the air. Hold for 30 seconds.

  • Hip bridge:

    This exercise is gold for your glutes and your abs. Lie on your back as if you were going to do sit-ups, but with your arms flat on the ground beside you. Push your hips up until your body is flat from your shoulders down to your knees. Try to breathe out as you push your hips up. Do three sets of 20 reps.

Always remember to warm up with a light jog and then stretch before you start exercising. Warm down after your training session with another light jog and stretch again to keep from getting sore the next day.


Stretches are a vital part of training exercises for uphill hiking, especially as you work on your muscle strength. Frequent stretching, done correctly, will help you keep limber and avoid injury. Here’s an overview of how to stretch the major muscle groups that are most used in uphill hiking.

  • Quad stretch:
    Uphill hike
    Stand on one leg and, grabbing the other foot, bend that leg until your foot touches your buttocks. Try to keep the leg in line instead of letting it drift outwards. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg. This exercise has the added bonus of helping your balance if you don’t support yourself with your hand while doing it.
  • Hamstring stretch:
    Uphill hike
    You can stretch your hamstrings by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, bending your knees ever so slightly and reaching down to touch your toes (or, in my case, as far as you can make it). Stretch your lower back at the same time by tucking your head in as you bend over.
    Uphill hike
    To get a more accurate stretch, sit on the ground with your legs stretched out in front of you, knees slightly bent with your feet about four feet apart. Reach towards one foot and you should feel a pull on the outside of your opposite hamstring. Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Groin:
    Uphill hike
    Stand with your legs as wide apart as you can. Thrust your hips slightly forward and bend one knee slightly, keeping your torso straight.
    Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
    Uphill hike
    An alternative is it sit with your knees bent as if you were sitting cross-legged, but with your feet touching each other, then lean forward.
    This will stretch both sides of the groin at the same time.
  • Glutes: To stretch your glutes, lie flat on your back and pull one knee up to your chest. Hold for 15 seconds, then cross the leg over towards your opposite shoulder and hold for another 15 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Back and abs:
    Uphill hike
    My dog does this religiously every morning and she’s never pulled a back muscle. Lie face down with your hands in front of you, touching the floor.
    Slide up until your back is arched, looking straight ahead with your palms flat on the ground. If you’re a whiz at this, try looking at the ceiling while you stretch.
    Stay for 30 seconds then gently work yourself back down.

Planning out the hike

The biggest thing you need to prepare for when training for a big uphill hike is carrying your backpack. Try to accustom yourself to the weight of a pack by carrying weight during your training sessions. Start off small and work your way up.

If you haven’t broken in your hiking boots yet, it’s also a good idea to wear them around and go for small hikes with them. You do want to avoid blisters and painful feet later on.

Those of you who suffer from dodgy knees can consider using hiking poles or a knee brace to mitigate the impact.

Uphill hiking: Is all the effort worth it?

Yes! Ambitious uphill hiking requires some serious mental perseverance, but it’s a fantastic way to get some fresh air, enjoy the beautiful landscapes and bask in the knowledge that you’re pushing yourself to achieve your goals. If you follow our tips on how to get fit, you’ll find uphill hiking to be a challenging but infinitely rewarding activity.

Need More Advice on Gear and Footwear?

Here are some links to our most popular articles:

  • First Impressions on the Arc’teryx Alpha SL 23 Backpack
  • Buying Advice for Softshell Jackets
  • Stay Dry on the Trail with Lightweight Rain Gear
  • Women’s Down Jackets- Guide to Keeping You Warm
  • Lightweight Hiking Jacket Women’s Guide to What to Look For
  • Uinta Highline Trail- Hiking Adventures to Add to Your Bucket List

— Update: 30-04-2023 — found an additional article Pre order Spryng now
and get $100 Off.
from the website for the keyword uphill hike.

Many hikers simply love the outdoors and enjoy exploring everything, the natural world has to offer. Hikes on flat ground are relatively easy but alas, hikes may also have gradients which may test the endurance of the most physically fit.  

Many hikers have a love/hate relationship with walking uphill. It takes extra physical exertion, that gets you huffing, sweating and involves a full body cardio workout.  

How to get better at hiking?  

If you are an aspirational hiker, start slowly. Try a few low intensity hikes first, to get your body and muscles familiar with physical activity.  

How to get better at hiking uphill? 

However, if you are already an avid hiker and aspire to go on longer and loftier quests the below tips for hiking will most definitely prepare you to achieve your goal. The exercises to improve hiking is designed to target muscles, that will drive you up the trail mile after mile.  

Here is an overview of the exercises to prepare for hiking –  

  • Strength training for hikingIncrease strength in major muscles that hikers rely upon. Stronger legs and core muscles will better support the load in your backpack and help you hike harder, longer. Squats, Jump Squats, Burpees, Push-Ups and Side Leg Lifts can help you build a stronger core and legs.  
  • Build stamina- because hiking may be an all-day activity it is essential to build endurance in your muscles. How to improve hiking endurance, you may ask?  If you are always busy at work and have little time for exercise, climbing stairs to train for hiking is a simple yet effective way to improve stamina. You can also include cycling and running on the treadmill (add an incline) to your training routine if time permits.  
  • Improve your balance- As a hiker you need to be stable on your feet. This will enable you to take on uneven terrain with ease. Simply practising to walk on a straight line will help improve your balance.  
  • Enhance your cardio- Supplement your hiking training with activities like trail running, speed walking, mountain biking, HIIT Training or Cross Fit.  

Hiking uphill is the most difficult and the most dreaded part of the hike for any hiker. As mentioned earlier not only is it physically demanding during the hike, but many hikers suffer from calf pain and sore legs after hiking, for many days after their hike.  

Therefore, common question among the hiking community is why my calves hurt when I walk uphill? Calves hurt when walking uphill due to the intense strain placed upon them during the hike.  

To aid in hiking recovery follow these post hike recovery tips  

Recovering from strenuous hike can be an arduous task if you are in the wilderness.  

  • Don’t stint on food during the hike 

    Food is essential for your hike. As you are on the move continuously, replenish nutrients to keep fatigue at bay. A combination easy to carry food with simple sugars, protein, low glycemic index carbohydrates, fibre, and fats are great ingredients for hiking recovery. Some examples include dried dates, cooked crispy bacon, whole-grain crackers, peanut butter, cheese and sliced apples.  

  • Hydrate (drink before you get thirsty) 

Pack more water than you think you need. As a rule of thumb estimate one litre of water per three hours in moderate temperatures for adults. Water plays a pivotal role in muscle repair and the production of glycogen. Studies have proven that muscle rejuvenation progress is decelerated by half when muscles are not suitably hydrated. 

  • How to relive sore muscles after hiking 

Stretching plays a pivotal role to revive muscles after hiking. Some stretches you can try are- Calf stretch, Toe touch, Quadricep stretch and Butterfly stretch.  

  • The best way to recover sore leg muscles 

We think the best path to pain relief is by using SPRYNG, the world’s most advanced calf muscle massage tool. It uses active compression technology to improve circulation and flush out lactic acid, thereby alleviating pain.  

Uphill hike

SPRYNG has many benefits when compared to other active compression and leg compression devices in the market. A few of them are – 

  • Quick recovery- It takes only 15 minutes to produce results.  
  • Welcome freedom – It is lightweight, portable, and untethered so it fits nicely in your hiking backpack. Get up to 2.5 hours of use in a single charge and it is rechargeable via micro-USB. Therefore, it is your ideal companion when on the move.  
  • Extremely affordable –it is cheaper than any other active compression device on the market  
  • Looks great- It is available in a range of colours.  
  • Convenience- Place your order now via our website and become eligible for free delivery to your doorstep. 
  • Buy now and pay later with our easy instalment settlement options.