How to Train Your Weekend Warriors for Hiking
If you are like most personal trainers and coaches, then there is a great chance that you have a decent sized population of hikers as clients. In fact, hiking usually ranks as the 5th most popular outdoor activity (not necessarily exercise) in the US and it’s on the increase with a whopping 37 million Americans hiking regularly each year.
Several times per year, you get requests from clients to help them train for their upcoming hiking trip in a few months, where they will be exploring new lands and climbing high elevations.
This is all really great! You are glad that your clients are motivated and have come to you to help them train but now you have to come up with a way to develop a top notch and effective training program for them. What are your go-to-moves or tips for these Weekend Warriors to help them for their hiking excursions?
Here are my go-to-tips to help give hikers the infrastructure for hiking success:
Create a Hiking Club – Identify all of the fun and challenging hikes in your community. Then select a day in the week that you regularly want to meet for a weekly hike. Next, invite a few clients from your studio that enjoy hiking and/or who have a hiking trip coming up to a form a 6, 8, or 12 week program. This can be a for-profit program to increase revenue. Or it can be a free program that you are using to help build camaraderie among your clients and loyalty to your business; completely up to you. The most important element is that your clients build a support team of hikers to increase motivation and accountability on a weekly basis.
Stretch After Hiking – The need to stretch after a hike is important because it decreases the chances of injury and accelerates the recovery process. Encourage your clients to stretch their entire bodies but to show a lot of focus on some of the bigger muscles in the lower bod such as their quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Perform a variety of stretches and hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds.
Strengthen the Core – As we tell all of our clients, it is extremely important to work the core because it is supposed to be the strongest group of muscles in the body, seeing how all of our movement comes from there. And with providing tips with hiking, this is no different. Stress the importance of the core to your clients and let them know all of the benefits that a strong core can produce, such as posture and injury prevention throughout, not only their hike, but also their day-to-day activities.
Add Intervals – Who doesn’t love intervals where you have stints of fast intensity followed by a slower intensity or full out rest recovery? Find an incline that your client can practice this on. Have them go up a hill at a fast intensity level and then instruct them to slow down when they get to a flat zone. Repeat this activity to help them with their speed, endurance, and recovery process.
Total Body Conditioning – Something that a lot of clients don’t realize is how much strength training will help them with their runs and hikes. Oftentimes they think that to improve their runs and hikes, the only thing that they need to do is run and hike. Although that is helpful, that is not all that needs to be done. Mastering upper and lower body movements are important, particularly muscles such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
Hydrate – Staying hydrated is key as well, no matter the weather condition. Aim for a minimum of 12 ounces of water per hour to avoid dehydration but not more than 25 ounces to avoid hyponatremia.
About the Author
Mike Z. Robinson is the owner of the highly successful personal training facility, MZR Fitness as well as Mike Z. Robinson Enterprises which features & highlights a myriad of options to help fitness professionals grow their businesses and careers. Mike was the 2015 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, is the author of the E-Book: “Fitness Up, Everything Up”, and he is also a Media Spokesperson for both the American Council on Exercise & IDEA Health & Fitness Association.