Strong abdominal muscles help make backpacking more enjoyable. If the core muscles of the abdomen are strong and well-toned, you'll be able to carry your pack longer and with less strain. Strengthening your abdominal muscles doesn't require a gym full of gear--just some devotion of time and simple equipment will make you fit and ready to shoulder the burden on your next hiking trip.
The Reverse Crunch
Lie flat on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Place your hands behind your head and interlace the fingers. Bring your knees off the floor and toward your chest, so that your knees make a 90-degree angle. Contract your abs to lift your hips slightly off the floor, then lower and repeat. Start with two sets of 10 crunches and add more sets and reps as you get stronger.
Face toward the floor, straighten your back and hold your body off the floor with your toes and forearms. Hold the position, being careful not to arch your back or let it sag. Over time, increase the hold until you can go for 60 seconds.
The Basic Crunch
Lie on your back with bent knees and your hands behind your head. Contract your abdominal muscles and push your lower back against the floor while lifting your shoulder blades 1 to 2 inches off the floor. Make this a controlled movement. Hold the up position for a second or two, then lower your body. Repeat 10 to 15 times. Start with two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions and slowly increase the number of sets and reps.
Article Written By Nichole Liandi
Based in Virginia, Nichole Liandi has been a freelance writer since 2005. Her articles have appeared on various print and online publications. Liandi has traveled extensively in Europe and East Asia and incorporates her experiences into her articles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from West Virginia University.