18 Powerful Core Exercises For Hiking! [The Ultimate Core Exercises For Hikers]

Core Exercises For Hiking

Beneath the boundless azure sky, where the wind whispers tales of undiscovered trails and distant peaks beckon with their majestic allure, lies a realm where adventurers become one with nature’s grandeur. Welcome, fellow explorers, to a thrilling odyssey of the great outdoors. As we lace up our boots and prepare to conquer nature’s challenges, we unveil the hidden key to unlocking hiking’s ultimate potential: Core Exercises for Hiking.

Imagine the sensation of every step being propelled by an unbreakable core, enabling you to ascend mountains with the agility of a mountain goat and conquer rocky terrains with the grace of a gazelle. In this exhilarating chapter of our expedition, we dive deep into the heart of core-centric routines that will not only supercharge your hiking prowess but also infuse each adventure with a surge of vitality. So, strap on your backpacks and brace yourselves for a whirlwind journey through the most captivating and dynamic core exercises, tailor-made for the trailblazers and summit-seekers among us.

Table of Contents

Why Hikers Need Core Strength

The core refers to the pelvis muscles, lower back, hips, and abdomen that stabilize the spine and trunk. It includes the abdominal muscles, side musculature, glutes, hip flexors, and lower back. Hiking works in all these areas intensely.

On the trail, your core must…

  • Support the weight of heavy packs, placing huge demands on the lower back and erector spinae muscles.
  • Allow you to bend and twist to navigate obstacles and varied terrain.
  • Maintain balance and stability carrying uneven loads up or downhill.
  • Rotate the torso comfortably when sightseeing or scrambling over rocks.
  • Resist fatigue over hours of nonstop walking by keeping the spine aligned.

Without core conditioning for these specific challenges, hikers often suffer from the following:

  • Poor posture and misaligned spines under heavy packs.
  • Lower back pain, tightness, and risk of muscle strains.
  • Reduced balance and stability through the hips and pelvis.
  • Insufficient muscle endurance leads to injury over long distances.

A strong, balanced core minimizes those issues, activates and integrates muscle groups, and improves performance on the trail.

Related Article:

Core Training Principles For A Hiking-Ready Core

Training Principles for a Hiking-Ready Core - Core Exercises For Hiking

Before diving into exercises, it helps to understand core training guidelines specifically for hikers:

Focus on the posterior chain muscles of the lower back and glutes…

These muscle groups are placed under high tension from backpacking but are often neglected in normal core routines. Exercises like deadlifts, good mornings, and supermans target these areas.

Train rotational and lateral movements…

Hiking requires your core to twist with stepping motions. Exercises like Russian twists, windshield wipers, and side planks strengthen these rotational abilities.

Include unilateral/asymmetrical moves…

Backpacking loads are rarely symmetrical, so training each side individually builds stability. Try lunges; suitcase carries, and single-leg Romanian deadlifts.

Emphasize hip mobility and alignment…

Freeing up the hip flexors and building glute activation keeps the hips square and spine neutral under heavy packs.

Allow limited rest between exercises…

Just like hiking all day, moving briskly between core moves with little rest taxes endurance. It trains the core and respiratory muscles for sustained activity.

Maintain precise form…

Strict motion and an engaged core are more important than reps. Quality over quantity applies here.

Benefit Description
Improved posture Prevents back pain from misaligned spine under heavy packs
Increased stability Better balance through the hips and pelvis on uneven terrain
Greater endurance Sustained activity without fatigue or injury over long distances
Enhanced performance Integrates muscle groups for more power and efficiency
Injury prevention Minimizes risk of muscle strains and knee problems

Core Workout Plan Using Best Core Exercises For Hikers

Workout Plan Using Core Exercises For Hiking - Core Exercises For Hiking

Here is my personalized workout plan focused on core exercises to help prepare for a hiking trip. This experience showed me the value and benefits of training your core for hiking and how much doing the right exercises can strengthen your midsection. I now incorporate a regular core routine into my fitness regimen to support my active lifestyle.

Warm Up – 5 minutes

  • Cat/Cow stretches
  • Plank knee to elbow
  • Side bends
  • Torso twists

Circuit 1 – Repeat 2 times

  • Dead bug right side – 30 secs
  • Dead bug left side – 30 secs
  • Plank hold – 40 secs
  • Forearm plank – 40 secs
  • Crunches – 30 secs
  • Russian twists – 30 secs
  • Flutter kicks – 30 secs
  • Leg lowers – 10 reps on each side
  • Hollow hold – 20 secs

Circuit 2 – Repeat 2 times

  • Side plank right – 30 secs
  • Side plank left – 30 secs
  • Spiderman planks – 30 reps
  • Bicycle crunches – 30 reps
  • V-ups – 20 reps
  • Mountain climbers – 40 reps
  • Dish hold – 20 secs
  • Supermans – 10 reps


  • Child’s pose
  • Kneeling torso twists
  • Bridge pose

Aim to move fluidly between exercises with little rest. Use proper breathing and engage the core throughout. Listen to your body and take breaks as needed. This full core plan hits every angle for a strong, stable midsection! Let me know if you need any exercise specifics.

Muscle Group Exercise Examples
Rectus abdominis Crunches, leg raises, planks
Internal/External obliques Russian twists, side planks, torso twists
Lower back Back extensions, good mornings, Superman
Glutes Bridges, fire hydrants, clamshells
Hip flexors High knees, lunges, mountain climbers

How To Do core exercises for hiking

Cat/Cow stretches

Cat/Cow stretches are a yoga pose flow that strengthens the core muscles used in hiking.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for beginners:

  • Start on your hands and knees with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Keep your back flat in a tabletop position.
  • Inhale and arch your back upward, dropping your belly toward the mat. Lift your chin and chest, gazing upward. It is the Cow pose. It stretches your core and front torso.
  • Exhale and round your spine toward the ceiling, pulling your belly button in. Tuck your chin into your chest, with your gaze downward. It is a Cat pose, stretching your back and sides of your core.
  • Move fluidly between the Cat and Cow poses, coordinating breath and movement. Completing 5-10 reps mobilizes the spine and engages core muscles.
  • Focus on controlled execution, taking the spine through the full range of motion without straining. Keep hip width and knee position consistent between the two poses.
  • Use core strength to transition between the stretch poses. Brace abdominals on the exhale Cat pose to get a toned look to your stomach.

When hiking, these same core muscles stabilize your body on uneven terrain. The coordinated movement in Cat/Cow improves core strength, endurance, and flexibility, so those miles don’t take such a toll. Try it pre-hike to activate your core for the trail ahead!


The plank is a fundamental core strength exercise that builds endurance for hiking.

Here’s a step-by-step beginner’s guide:

  • Start in the pushup position, with wrists directly under your shoulders and legs extended behind you. Engage your core muscles.
  • Tighten your abdominals and glutes to stabilize your body in one straight line from shoulders to heels. Do not sag or arch your back.
  • Your head should stay in line with your back. Do not drop or lift it. Maintain a neutral neck position.
  • Hold the plank position, keeping your core braced for as long as possible. Start with shorter 5-30 second holds and build over time.
  • Breathe steadily while holding the plank. Don’t hold your breath.
  • To modify, drop to your knees in an inclined plank, but maintain a straight line from head to knees.
  • For added difficulty, raise one leg off the ground a few inches. Switch halfway through the hold.

The plank strengthens the entire core, from the rectus abdominus to the lower back and obliques. This isometric hold improves muscular endurance essential for the prolonged effort of hiking uphill or carrying a heavy pack. Regular planking boosts core stability, posture, and balance on the trail.

Side Bends

Side bends are a simple core exercise that targets the oblique muscles used in hiking.

Here’s how beginners can perform side bends:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Engage your core.
  • Raise both arms straight up over your head with palms facing in. Clasp your hands if you can.
  • Inhale and slowly bend your upper body to the right, keeping the hips stationary. Only go as far as feels comfortable.
  • Exhale as you return to the center, keeping your arms raised overhead.
  • Repeat on the other side, bending slowly to the left.
  • Focus on controlled movement using your obliques to bend your torso. Do not swing or use momentum.
  • Start with 5-10 reps per side and 1-2 sets. Perform slow, deep bends with good form.
  • Keep legs engaged, chest lifted, and arms extended straight overhead as you bend side-to-side.

Side bends strengthen and tone the obliques, improving hiking posture. Stronger obliques also aid balance on uneven terrain. Make sure to stretch afterwards since this exercise shortens the sides.

Torso twists

Torso twists are an easy core strengthening exercise that engages the abdominal muscles used in balance and stability while hiking.

Here’s how beginners can perform them:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees slightly, and clasp your hands together in front of your chest.
  • Engage your core by pulling your navel in towards your spine. Keep a slight bend in the knees.
  • With control, twist your upper body fully to the right without moving your hips or legs. Keep arms extended.
  • Twist back to the center, then repeat the controlled twist fully to the left side.
  • Focus on using your core to power and control the twisting motion. Do not swing your arms or use momentum.
  • Complete 10-15 reps on each side for 1-2 sets. Move slowly and feel the rotation in your abdominals.
  • Keep your chin tucked slightly and maintain good posture as you twist side to side.
  • Start with smaller twists and work to bigger rotations as you get stronger. Remember to keep knees bent and core engaged throughout.

Regular torso twists build core strength and stability for the constant twisting, turning motions involved in navigating hiking terrain. Just be sure to warm up first and start slowly.

Dead Bug

The dead bug is an effective core exercise that improves stability and prevents back pain during hiking.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for beginners:

  • Lie on your back with arms extended up towards the ceiling; knees bent at 90 degrees, and feet flat on the floor.
  • Engage your core by drawing your belly button in towards your spine. Keep the lower back pressed into the floor.
  • With control, simultaneously lower your right arm overhead while straightening your left leg out simultaneously.
  • Pause for 1-2 seconds, then return the arm and leg to the start position.
  • Repeat the movement on the opposite side, coordinating your left arm and right leg.
  • Continue alternating in a controlled motion. Move slowly, focusing on stability over speed.
  • Complete 8-15 repetitions on each side for 1-3 sets. Keep core engaged and lower back on the floor.
  • Extend both arm and leg further out without arching your back for added difficulty.

The dead bug challenges your core to stabilize against the extension of your limbs. It improves coordination and hip mobility important for hiking over rough terrain. Make sure to keep your neck and shoulders relaxed throughout the exercise.


Crunches are one of the most common abdominal exercises to build core hiking strength.

Here’s a step-by-step beginner’s guide:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands lightly behind your head, avoiding pulling on the neck.
  • Engage your core by drawing your belly button toward your spine. Keep your lower back pressed into the floor.
  • Exhale and lift your head, shoulders, and upper back off the floor using your core muscles. Do not pull on your head or neck.
  • Hold the contraction at the top briefly, then inhale and slowly lower back down with control.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions for 1-3 sets. Focus on proper form over speed.
  • Keep chin tilted slightly and ribs down to target the abdominals rather than hip flexors.
  • Start with smaller crunches and work toward a greater range of motion, lifting higher. But avoid straining your neck.

As legendary mountaineer, Edmund Hillary said, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Crunches build the mental fortitude and core stamina to conquer miles of rugged hiking terrain.

Russian Twists

Russian twists are a challenging core exercise that improves rotational strength for hiking.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for beginners:

  • Sit up tall on the floor; knees bent, feet lifted. Lean back slightly, engaging your abdominals.
  • Extend your arms in front of you and clasp your hands together or hold a small weight.
  • Rotate your torso and arms fully to the right, keeping your knees together. Control the movement back to the center.
  • Repeat the twist to the left side in a controlled motion working the obliques.
  • Complete 10-15 reps on each side for 1-3 sets. Move slowly with the full range of motion.
  • Keep your chest lifted and chin tucked as you twist. Do not round or hunch over.
  • Start without weight to learn the movement before adding resistance. Heavier weights increase the challenge.

As explorer Roald Amundsen said, “Victory awaits those who have everything in order; people call this ‘luck’. Defeat awaits those who fail to take the necessary precautions; this is called ‘bad luck’.” Russian twists strengthen your core to be ready for any terrain!

Flutter kicks

Flutter kicks are an abdominal exercise that tones core muscles used for balance and stability in hiking. Here’s a step-by-step guide for beginners:

  • Lie on your back with your legs extended and arms by your sides or under your hips for support. Engage your core muscles.
  • Keeping legs straight, lift one leg off the floor a few inches. Switch and lift the other leg.
  • Alternate lifting legs up and down in a quick, light “fluttering” motion. Imagine kicking in the water.
  • Continue the flutter kicks for 30 seconds to 1 minute per set. Complete 2-3 sets.
  • Move legs from the hip flexors to work the lower abs. Point toes for extra work.
  • Keep the fluttering pace controlled. Do not strain your neck or back. Keep shoulders grounded.
  • Start with a small range of motion and a slower pace. Build up the height and speed of kicks over time.

As climber, Arlene Blum said, “You can’t conquer what you can’t confront.” Flutter kicks confront your core to build the strength for conquering mile after mile on the trail ahead!

Leg lowers

Leg lowers are a core and hip stability exercise to improve hiking endurance. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Lie on your back with legs extended up, and knees bent at 90 degrees, calves parallel to the floor. Support lower back if needed.
  • Engage your core muscles and flatten your lower back into the floor. Avoid arching.
  • Keeping one leg bent for stability, slowly lower the other leg towards the floor until you feel your lower back start to arch. Stop before that point.
  • With control, lift the leg back to the start position, keeping the core engaged. Repeat for 10 reps. Switch legs.
  • Focus on using core strength to control the lowering motion. Move slowly with a 4-second count.
  • Do not allow your lower back to arch off the ground. Keep leg lowering within a comfortable range.
  • Complete 2-3 sets on each leg. Build your endurance over time.

As climber Alex Lowe said, “It’s not always about reaching the summit – just continuing the climb.” Leg lowers build core endurance so you can keep climbing those miles on the trail!

Hollow hold

The hollow hold is an intense core exercise that builds strength to maintain good hiking posture. Here’s a step-by-step beginner’s guide:

  • Lie on your back with your legs extended and arms reaching overhead. Engage your core muscles.
  • Keeping low back pressed into the floor, raise your shoulders and legs a few inches off the ground.
  • Hold this concave “hollow” position, keeping the core braced, for 20-30 seconds. Breathe steadily.
  • Lower back down and repeat for 5-10 holds, resting briefly as needed between.
  • Focus on using your core strength to hold the hollow position. Do not arch your lower back.
  • Start with shorter hold times of 10-20 seconds and work your way up. Proper form is more important than duration.
  • Adjust the degree of lift to your experience level. Modify with bent knees if too challenging at first.

As climber Ed Viesturs says, “Reaching the summit is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” Hollow holds build core strength so you can reach summits and get back down the trail with good posture!

Spiderman planks

The Spiderman plank is an advanced core exercise that improves balance and coordination for hiking over uneven terrain. Here’s a step-by-step beginner’s guide:

  • Start in a high plank position with hands under your shoulders and legs extended behind you. Engage your core.
  • Keeping your hips square, lift your right foot and slowly bring your right knee to the right elbow.
  • Pause for 1 second, then slowly return the right leg to the start position.
  • Repeat on the other side, bringing the left knee to meet the left elbow in a controlled motion.
  • Continue alternating sides in a “spiderman” crawling motion. Complete 10-15 reps on each side.
  • Move slowly with stability, do not rush reps. Maintain plank posture, do not sag hips.
  • Start with basic planks if the Spiderman version is too challenging at first. Build up strength over time.

 The Spiderman plank conquers core weakness, so you can conquer the trail!

Bicycle crunches

Bicycle crunches are a twisting abdominal exercise to build well-rounded core strength for the demands of hiking. Here’s a step-by-step beginner’s guide:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent 90 degrees, hands lightly behind your head. Engage your abs.
  • Keeping your upper back on the floor, lift your shoulders and bring your right elbow toward your left knee as it extends out.
  • Switch sides, twisting to bring left elbow to meet right knee in a “pedaling” motion.
  • Continue alternating sides in a controlled bicycle crunch. Complete 10-15 repetitions on each side.
  • Breathe steadily as you twist from side to side. Move slowly and focus on working the abdominals.
  • Pull gently with your core, not your head or neck. Keep chin tilted and torso curled up.
  • Start with a small range of motion and work to bigger twists over time. Maintain stability in your lower body.

As Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” Bicycle crunches plant the seeds for core strength to reap the harvest of hiking endurance!


V-ups are an intense abdominal exercise to build core strength for hiking endurance. Here’s a step-by-step guide for beginners:

  • Lie on your back with your legs extended; arms extended overhead. Engage your core muscles.
  • Keeping legs straight, simultaneously lift your torso and legs to form a V shape. Reach your hands toward your feet.
  • Hold the V-up position for 2 seconds, ensuring not to arch your back. Keep your core tight.
  • Lower back down with control. Complete 10-15 reps for 1-3 sets.
  • Breathe steadily during the exercise. Lift and lower legs in a controlled manner.
  • Start with a small range of motion, keeping knees slightly bent. Work toward straight-leg V-ups.
  • Modify by holding behind the knees if lifting the legs is too challenging.

As mountaineer, Edmund Hillary said, “People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.” V-ups build extraordinary core strength to accomplish hiking feats!

Mountain climbers

Mountain climbers are a full-body exercise that mimics hiking motions to build core stability and endurance. Here’s a step-by-step guide for beginners:

  • Start in a high plank position with hands under shoulders, core engaged.
  • Keeping your hips still, bring one knee in towards your chest quickly. Return to plank.
  • Immediately switch and bring the other knee in. Move with speed and control.
  • Continue alternating legs for 20-30 seconds or as long as you maintain good form.
  • Power the motion from your core while keeping your back flat. Move light on your toes.
  • Start slow, focusing on proper technique before building speed.
  • Modify by switching legs less frequently until you build coordination and stamina.

As explorer, Robert Swan said, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” Mountain climbers, exercise your ability to trek miles while saving the planet one adventure at a time!

Dish hold

The dish hold is an intense core exercise that builds lower back strength for hiking with a backpack. Here’s a step-by-step guide for beginners:

  • Start by lying on your stomach with your legs extended and arms at your sides, palms facing up.
  • Engage your core and glutes, then press up onto your forearms and toes, creating an arched “dish” shape with your back.
  • Hold this dish position, keeping your core and glutes clenched, for 15-30 seconds. Remember to breathe.
  • Lower back down and repeat for 5-10 reps, resting briefly between holds as needed.
  • Focus on keeping your back muscles flexed in a rounded position and your body elevated using core strength.
  • Start with shorter hold times of 10-15 seconds and work your way up as your lower back strengthens.
  • Modify by doing a sphinx pose with forearms and legs on the ground if the dish hold is too challenging at first.

As Ray Jardine said, “The determination and endurance of backpackers is why they reap the rewards of the wilderness.” Dish holds build back endurance to reap hiking rewards!


The Superman is a back-strengthening exercise that builds core stability for hiking. Here’s a step-by-step guide for beginners:

  • Lie face down with arms extended overhead, legs straight behind you. Engage your back and core.
  • Inhale and simultaneously lift your arms, legs, and chest off the floor. Reach your hands and toes away from your body.
  • Exhale and lower back down with control. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
  • Lift using your lower back muscles, keeping your core engaged to stabilize. Do not sway your hips.
  • Hold the Superman position for 1-3 seconds before lowering with control.
  • Start with a small range of motion, building height over time. Modify by keeping one leg bent for support.
  • Breathe steadily and focus on proper lifting technique over speed.

As John Muir said, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” Strengthen your back with Superman to answer the call of the mountains!

Child's pose

The child’s pose is a resting yoga posture that gently stretches the core muscles after a hiking workout. Here’s how to do it:

  • Kneel on the floor with toes together and knees hip-width apart. Sit back on your heels.
  • With inhale, slowly bend your upper body forward over your thighs. Reach your arms extended in front of you.
  • Exhale and feel your lower back, hips, and core stretch as you hold the pose.
  • Hold the child’s pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing deeply.
  • Focus on relaxing your upper body over your legs. Allow gravity to gently deepen the stretch.
  • Start with a wide knee position if needed to allow your torso to lower comfortably between your thighs.
  • Use child’s pose as a rest anytime in your workout when your core needs a break.

As long-distance hiker Earl Shaffer said, “It’s the slow pace that lets you see, feel, and experience all that’s around you.” The child’s pose slowly restores your core after an intense hiking workout.

Bridge pose

The bridge pose is a yoga backbend that stretches the front of the core after a hiking workout. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Arms by your sides.
  • Engage your core and glutes. Exhale and slowly peel your spine off the floor, one vertebra at a time.
  • Lift your hips toward the ceiling until your thighs and torso create a straight line. Clasp hands below hips or keep arms extended for support.
  • Hold the bridge pose for 30 seconds, breathing deeply. Allow your chest to open.
  • Inhale and steadily lower back down with control, starting from the top of your back.
  • Start with smaller backbends, working up to a full arch. Modify with one foot down if needed.
  • Use the stretch to complement core strengthening. Never force or bounce the stretch.

As climber Alex Lowe said, “Success comes in cans, not in can’ts.” Bridge pose says, “Yes I can,” Give your core the rest and recovery it needs after hiking training.

top 5 core exercises for hiking

RankExerciseKey Benefits
1PlankImproves core endurance, teaches proper alignment
2Side PlankStrengthens obliques, improves balance
3Dead BugChallenges stability, increases hip mobility
4SupermanTargets lower back, prevents muscle strains
5Mountain ClimbersMimics hiking motion, builds cardio endurance

Programming Core Strength for hikers

When planning a core routine, be strategic about combining exercises, volume, and programming.

For core endurance, use circuits of various movements with little rest for time or high reps. Mimic hiking fatigue.

Allow longer rests between heavy-weighted exercises done in multiple sets for max strength. It builds the power needed for peaks.

Target hip and single-leg stability earlier in workouts when the body is fresh, then progress to more demanding exercises.

Vary routines over 4-8 weeks to continually make adaptations and prevent plateaus. Periodize volume and intensity.

Gradually increase the difficulty by adding reps, weights, sets, time, or new skills. Prevent overdoing too soon.

Schedule core sessions 2-3 times per week, allowing a day of rest in between for muscles to recover and strengthen.

With a thoughtfully structured, hiking-specific core training program integrated into your overall conditioning, you’ll hit the trail feeling strong and stable. Your body will better handle the demands of heavy packs and miles as those core muscles integrate optimal posture, endurance, mobility, and stability. Let those gains lead you confidently on your next backcountry adventure!

Frequently Asked Questions About Core Training for Hiking

Q: Do you need a strong core for hiking?

A: Yes, having a strong core is super important for hiking performance and comfort on the trail. A weak core can lead to poor posture, back pain, and knee issues while hiking. Many hikers find that tightening their core and training their core helps them hike with better form and less hip and knee pain.

Q: What exercises should I do for hiking?

A: Some of the best exercises to help hikers strengthen their core include planks, side planks, leg lifts, and stability ball exercises. These anti-lateral flexion exercises engage the deep core muscles and help the body resist rotation. Other good options are anti-extension exercises like Superman and Birddogs. Aim to include a variety of core exercises in your workout routine.

Q: Does hiking build core muscles?

A: Yes, hiking is a great type of exercise for building core strength. The constant movement of walking works the abs, obliques, lower back muscles, and more. Going uphill challenges your core even further as you engage your leg muscles to lift your body. With proper posture and engaged core muscles, while hiking, you can help strengthen your midsection over time.

Q: How do I strengthen my core for walking?

A: Some ways to strengthen your core for walking and hiking include planks, crunches, and stability ball exercises that target the deep core muscles. Work on anti-lateral flexion moves like side planks and suitcase carries to improve core stability. Movement patterns like lifting your right leg and lowering your left arm while squeezing your glutes help too. Aim for a well-rounded core routine 2-3 days a week.

Q: Is hiking better than the gym?

A: Hiking and the gym both have unique benefits. Hiking allows you to enjoy nature’s fresh air and works many muscle groups at once. However, the gym offers versatility in targeting specific muscles and tracking progress. Combining hiking, strength training at the gym, and core exercises may provide the best results for building hiking stamina and preventing knee pain.

Q: What is the best body for hiking?

A: The best body for comfortable and injury-free hiking involves having strong leg muscles, good core strength, flexibility, and proper body mechanics. Work on exercises that build lower body and core endurance. Stretching the hips, glutes, and hamstrings helps too. Proper posture and engaging your core while hiking can optimize performance.

Q: What are the 3 basic skills in hiking?

A: Three key skills for hiking include:

  1. Building leg and core strength through training. Exercises like squats, deadlifts, and planks help condition your body.
  2. Practicing proper hiking posture and form. Keep your core tight, take shortened strides going uphill, and maintain good alignment.
  3. Learning how to use hiking poles effectively for balance and to reduce knee pain. Mastering these basics provides a solid foundation for getting into hiking.

Q: How can I increase my hiking stamina?

A: Some good ways to improve hiking stamina are to do cardio like running or biking, go on progressively longer hikes, strength train your lower body, and work on your core fitness. Building leg endurance enables you to hike further without getting as fatigued. A strong core also helps maintain good form when tired. Make sure to fuel and hydrate properly pre, during and post-hike too.

Q: Does hiking use abs?

A: Yes, hiking works several core muscle groups including the rectus abdominis (six pack) as well as the internal and external obliques. The constant movement of walking up and downhill engages your core to stabilize your body. Maintaining proper upright posture also requires isometric contractions of the abs and back while hiking.

Q: Is hiking good for belly fat?

A: Hiking can help burn calories and body fat including around the belly area. The combination of cardiovascular exercise from walking plus the added resistance of going uphill makes hiking an effective fat-burning workout. Best of all, hiking allows you to enjoy the outdoors instead of being stuck inside! To lose belly fat, focus on healthy eating, doing core exercises, and regular hiking sessions.

Take the Strong Core Challenge

Now that you know which exercises build mountaineering-ready abs, obliques, back, and hips, it’s time to put that knowledge into practice! Aim to establish a core training routine that complements your overall hiking conditioning. Don’t wait to get started.

So let your core guide you into uncharted territory – where others contently meander, you can surge undaunted. Blaze new trails, climb higher peaks and hack deeper forests with the cut abs and iron will to lead.

What changes do you notice after several weeks of targeted core work? How does a strong core change your efficiency and experience on the trail? I want to hear about your journey towards supreme hiking fitness, from initial workouts to triumphant peak summits! Share your insights on building your best core ever.



Mark is an experienced backpacker who has completed several multi-day hikes, including the John Muir and Wonderland Trail. He is also a hobbyist photographer who delights in capturing the captivating essence of nature through his camera lens. Mark is passionate about environmental conservation and often volunteers for trail maintenance and clean-up projects.



Mark is an experienced backpacker who has completed several multi-day hikes, including the John Muir and Wonderland Trail. He is also a hobbyist photographer who delights in capturing the captivating essence of nature through his camera lens. Mark is passionate about environmental conservation and often volunteers for trail maintenance and clean-up projects.

2 thoughts on “18 Powerful Core Exercises For Hiking! [The Ultimate Core Exercises For Hikers]”

  1. I’m a regular blogger, and I must say, I adore reading your posts. My interest has been piqued by the article. I’m going to save your blog to my bookmarks and check again for fresh content.

  2. Jessica Reed

    Strong cores empower longer days and bigger dreams on the trail. Add these crunches, planks, and leg lifts to your training and watch your endurance take off!

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