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5 Exercises to Prime Your Lower Body for Hiking and Trail Running

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

FALL is here in Tennessee, which is my favorite season hands-down! With the cooler temps, the outdoors beckons us to hike, run and explore.

Oftentimes a quick increase in your activities like hiking or trail running can set you up for injuries--especially in your knees or hips,which is why I want to share with you 5 Exercises to Prime Your Lower Body for Hiking and Trail Running...

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5 Exercises to Prime Your Lower Body

for Hiking and Trail Running:

1. Hip Thrusters off a Couch/Chair/Table: focuses on your gluteus maximus, the power muscle as you climb!

How-to: Lay with your shoulders on the couch/chair/bench and let your hips drop, then squeeze your butt as you lift up toward the ceiling. Hold for a few seconds and then repeat. Add weights for more of a challenge.

2. Calf Raises off a Step: to focus on your gastrocnemius through the entire range of motion, try to go up on both legs and come down on one; you’ll use this muscle the whole time you hike or run!

How-to: Stand with your toes at the edge of a step, hold onto something for balance. Push up all the way onto your toes, feeling your calves tighten and lower all the way with your heels off the edge. To make it more difficult, go up on both legs and return on one leg.

3. Step Up with Knee Drive: focuses on your quads and gluteus maximus to improve your climbing and propelling forward!

How-to: Stand near a step (6-12 inches in height) and step up with one leg as you drive your knee up with the opposite leg. Feel your quads and glute max tighten. Add weights to make it harder.

4. Squat with Sidestepping: focuses on your hip abductors which keep your pelvis level during running/walking and hiking!

How-to: Place a loop band around your ankles, drop down into a squat and then step to the side (keeping resistance at your ankles) for 3 steps and stand up. Repeat!

5. Single Leg RDL: focuses on dynamic balance along with your glute max and hamstrings for lower body strength!

How-to: Stand tall and hinge at your hips reaching for the floor while keeping your back flat. Stand up and bring your opposite knee up and maintain your balance. Use one or two dumbbells for more of a challenge.

[Try 15-20 repetitions for each of these exercises, perform 2-4 rounds, 3x/week and notice the difference in your running and hiking performance! ]

If you feel limited in doing these activities that you love and need some help with a new or old injury, contact Engage Health + PT today at 615-982-4062. We are here to help!

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