Strength training is important for hikers to have a strong and balanced muscular system to withstand the stress and impact of hiking or backpacking. Aside from hip exercises, hikers should also focus on strength training exercises for other parts of the body, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, biceps, triceps, lower back and abdominals. Many hikers carry packs on their backs, which makes it important to strengthen upper body muscles as well as leg muscles. For some basic strengthening hip exercises, hikers can try hip abduction, hip adduction and hip flexion.
Hip abduction and hip adduction single-joint strength exercises target muscles used in hiking, according to Wayne L. Westcott, a fitness research director in Quincy, Massachusetts. Hip abduction is a movement that draws your leg away from your body. The standing hip abduction with resistance tubing is a good exercise for your hip muscles. To do this exercise, loop the tubing around your right ankle and step on the tubing with your left foot. Next, tighten your abdominal muscles and move your right leg outward slowly while maintaining proper posture and balance. Switch legs and do sets of 12 to 15 repetitions each. This promotes strength and stability for walking, running and hiking.
Hip adduction is a movement that brings your leg closer to your body; it is the opposite of hip abduction. To do a hip adduction exercise, lie on your side with your leg to be exercised on the bottom. Rest your upper leg in front of the bottom leg and secure weights (if any) around the instep of the leg to be exercised. Slowly raise your bottom leg 4 inches while keeping it straight. Return to the start position. Switch legs and do sets of 12 to 15 repetitions each. This will strengthen your hip adductor muscle group and prepare it for the stress placed on your thighs during hiking.
Hip flexion is another exercise that strengthens the hip muscles. This helps the hip joint by supporting and protecting it from the stress and impact of activities such as hiking. To perform a hip flexion exercise, stand up straight and lift your leg off the ground. Bend your leg to create a 90-degree angle from your hip, hold it for five seconds then slowly lower it to the ground. Switch legs and repeat five to 10 times each.
Article Written By Rona Aquino
Rona Aquino began writing professionally in 2008. As an avid marathon runner and outdoor enthusiast, she writes on topics of running, fitness and outdoor recreation for various publications. Aquino holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and English from the University of Maryland College Park.