Over the weekend I opened up an email titled 'How To Stop Hiker's Knee'. And as usual, I was left utterly disappointed.
Let me tell you why:
I sign up for every hiker, trekking and mountaineering newsletter I see. Purely because I am always curious about the information getting sent out to to the big wide world.
But unfortunately, just like 99% of the information I see on the internet about knee pain while hiking, this particular email was another cut and paste answer.
(Which I have seen four other hiking blogs use for themselves.)
It said that to stop knee pain while hiking, you need to focus on:
"Activating your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and IT band. The best way to do this is through a combination of biking, leg extensions, and squats."
Now, I have a lot of issues with this statement...
(Such as saying activate your IT band - when it is not a muscle.)
But my biggest issue here is they forgot one major thing.
Which I see time and time again in amateur advice on the internet...
And is an instant red flag that they don't know what they are talking about.
They forgot the glutes!
Your glutes (bum) are some of the MOST critical muscles for supporting your knees while hiking (particularly your glute medius which is responsible for preventing your knee collapsing inwards.)
And for a hiker, trekker or mountaineer, if your knees tend to fall inwards excessively, this puts some unwanted pressure through your knees.
And step after step, hour after hour, day after day on the trail, this really adds up! (ANd this is one factor why knee pain while is such a common affliction while hiking.)
When I am training any hiker, trekker or mountaineer, I put a MASSIVE emphasis on strengthening the glutes.
Because I KNOW that by doing this, we can not only support and stabilise the knee...
But once the glutes start doing their share of the work, every step on the trail feels a whole lot easier!
So how do you do this?
Well, here is a dead-simple way to start things off:
This whole routine will take you under 5 minutes. It won't get you sweaty, and it won't get you tired. But it is a fantastic starting point to help strengthen your glutes and help your knees stay stable, safe and pain-free on the trail.
If you want to learn more about how to prevent knee pain while hiking, and how you can take the right steps to get strong, stable and resilient knees on the trail, I strongly urge you to check out The Hiker's Knee Prevention Program:
Yours in trekking,
*Originally published 2/12/2018
Rowan is a personal trainer who specialises in training for hiking, trekkers and mountaineers for their bucket list adventures.
Summit Strength is a personal training for hiking service created specifically to help hikers have the best chance of a safe, enjoyable and successful adventure.