Do you constantly find yourself getting huffed and puffed while hiking up hills?
If so, you are not alone!
This is one of the most common complaints I hear from hikers about their time on the trail.
So today, I want to share with you a fantastic training method you can use, which, over time, can significantly improve your steep uphill sections.
This is how you do it:
While this may seem relatively similar to the stair or hill training many hikers are already familiar with, this approach comes with a few unique benefits:
#1 Practicing Pacing
Practising and teaching your body and mind to stick to a nose breathing pace while climbing can be INCREDIBLY beneficial for many hikers.
At first, you may have to go suuuuuper slow to maintain this as you climb. But as you practice and develop this, you should be able to sustain quicker and quicker climbs while keeping your breathing under control.
And not only will this pace help you feel more comfortable on steep sections, BUT it can also be very useful for energy management over a full day's hiking.
#2 Practising Quicker Climbs
Most of us don't particularly enjoy the feeling of getting out of breath on hills.
And because of this, many hikers naturally try and avoid this feeling in their training (because it is uncomfortable).
However, if we can expose our bodies and minds to this feeling of 'breathlessness' in our training and get more familiar and comfortable in this state, this can make things MUCH more manageable on the trail.
#3 Practicing Breathing Control
The act of alternating between the 'huffing and puffing and nose breathing can be really beneficial;
If you practice this in your training, over time, you will find it easier and easier to bring your breathing levels down and back under control after tougher sections of the trail
E.g. instead of getting to the top of a hill and having to take a couple of minutes to catch your breath, you can get more comfortable bringing your breathing back to normal as you keep moving (and not have to hold up others in the group!)
As with any workout, in isolation, this method probably won't dramatically change your hiking.
But, if combined into a structured and targeted training program, it can make a genuine difference.
So if you struggle with breathing on steep uphills, give it a go!
Yours in trekking.
P.s. if you live somewhere where you don't have easy access to hills or stairs, you can do a similar workout with step-ups (or with a stair climber machine at the gym).
So you would do step-ups on a box/bench for about 3 minutes at a time and rest for about a minute between each interval. And alternate your breathing at each interval.
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.