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Nepal trekking mountains

Find your inner Ran Fiennes | 5 training tips for your trekking holiday


Because fitness is a key aspect of ensuring a successful trek we asked Alex Burgess, a professional personal trainer in Brighton, to give us his top tips for preparing your body for the climb ahead. Alex has been in the fitness industry for over 9 years, he started in commercial gyms and now runs his own personal training and private gym in Brighton, Fitnesshub. His working philosophy is functional training, using the body as it’s own gym. Incorporating everyday movements into a workout is beneficial to sustaining overall body strength and conditioning.
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Be body ready for successful trekking!

You’ll notice none of these exercises involve gym equipment, the reason for this is so you can train at home, the office or even your garden. But also we want to keep the workout specific and mimic the functional trekking movements.

So, first things first. Take the backpack you’ll be trekking with, or if you haven’t got it yet grab any old backpack, and fill it with items you will take trekking. Don’t forget filled water bottles! Put the pack on your back – we want to replicate the trek conditions as much as possible.

As you get fitter you’ll want to increase the difficulty of your routine, to do this add tin cans/weight plates or anything else heavy to your backpack.

Ideally you should start training at least 4-6 weeks before you head off on your trek to give your body time to build up strength.

Man exercises

1 – Step Ups

Building leg strength and conditioning is top of the list. This exercise is very simple, all you need is a step.

With the backpack on follow these steps:

  • Stand feet hip width apart
  • Lift left leg onto step
  • Followed by the right
  • Place left leg back down
  • Followed by the right leg

Advance – stair sprints.

3 x 20-30 reps on each leg.

2 – Bent Over Row

Upper back strength is another important factor, carrying a backpack for long periods of time can tire the upper back.

Holding the backpack at each end follow these steps:

  • Stand feet hip width apart
  • Slightly bend both knees
  • Tilt your torso forwards so it is parallel to the floor (whilst maintaining a flat back)
  • Pull the backpack towards your chest
  • Return to starting position and repeat

3 x 20-30 reps.

Man exercises
Trekking mountains

3 – Rough Terrain Walks

There is no better way to get ready for a trek than to actually get outdoors and sample the hills around you. Pick varied gradients, get your backpack on and aim for a 30-45 minute walk 2-3 times a week. The steeper the better!

And if possible wear the same boots you’ll be wearing on your trek so they’re broken in and ready. There’s nothing worse than getting a blister half way up the mountain.

4 – Lunges

This is a movement that really replicates the way you have to move when coming across rough surfaces, boulders and steep hills.

With a backpack on follow these steps:

  • Standing feet hip width apart
  • Take a large stride forwards
  • Dropping your front knee and back knee to reach a 90 degree angle
  • Return to starting position and repeat

3 x 20-30 reps on each leg.

Man exercises
Man exercises

5 – Dynamic/Static Stretches

It’s really important to warm up before a trek. Going straight into it without pre warming your muscles can lead to an injury soon after you set off. Leg swings, squats, lunges and upper body rotations will do the trick!

Static stretches afterwards, holding a hamstring/quad/calf and chest stretch for 20-30 seconds can reduce the aches after your trek so you’re ready for the following day.

It’s not all about fitness when it comes to preparing for trekking. We interviewed our top trekkers here at Rickshaw to find out what you should bring with you and what to wear on your trekking holiday.