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foo
2003-07-02, 09:51
I have access to a standard gym (free weights, Nautilus-type machine, stationary bicycles, treadmills) and use it about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Right now I'm simply walking on the treadmill.

What are the best exercises for me to do if I want to improve my backpacking?

chief
2003-07-02, 11:14
I do a lot of free weights, especially those for my legs. range of movement under load is the key for knee and ankle joints (with lots of repetitions). However, if I did nothing else, I'd do the stairmaster with a pack on. Build up your duration and pack weight. At one time, I was doing about 40 mins with a 40lb pack. Though it's pretty boring, I used to listen to audio books to get me through. I never had leg problems on the trail, which I attribute to my gym time (I'm over 50).

youngblood
2003-07-02, 12:10
Originally posted by foo
I have access to a standard gym (free weights, Nautilus-type machine, stationary bicycles, treadmills) and use it about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Right now I'm simply walking on the treadmill.

What are the best exercises for me to do if I want to improve my backpacking?

Backpacking is about endurance, leg strength, lower back strength and balance. You have to go up AND down mountain/hills, hike on uneven surfaces, step on things that move under your weight and deal with slippery surfaces. Your lower back gets stressed holding your upper body in a forward postion when you lean forward on uphill climbs.

You will probably want to vary your exercise routine to work as many of your leg muscles as possible and get something in for your lower back if you can.

Sgathak
2003-07-02, 21:52
Work you legs and lower back (as stated) but I would emphasise the work done on the LB.

Work abs as well...

Do not only free weights, but also body weight excersizes

Also, build your stabalizer muscles (ask a trainer to give you instructons on how) as these muscles are little used (compairitivly), but if you step on a log that moves and your muscles arnt prepared for off kilter action/reaction... your gonna get hurt.

Also... alot of people ask what the best excersize is for backpacking... answer? BACKPACKING

For training purposes, buy a box of HEAVY duty ziplocs, and fill them with sand. Fill your rucksack with as many sandbags as plausable, and go walk. If you cant carry that much (or something happens and you need to move NOW) just dump out the sand bags.

Hog On Ice
2003-07-03, 08:32
Another approach instead of using sand is to use liter bottles of water - with water you can dump it almost anywhere outdoors and no-one will ever care - with sand that is a little less a don't care. Another nice thing about the liter bottles of water is that the weight is obvious and you would never run dry on your training hikes (grin).