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Hiking Benefits

Old 06-10-23, 06:37 PM
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Hiking Benefits

Background
I ride about 4 days a week, road rides 60-70k, trails for 1-2 hours (drop bar mtb). I also do a workout 2-3 days a week (focused on areas Iíve had problems with, upper back, neck, glutes and core). Lastly, I walk 1-2x a day, 15-60 minutes. Iím almost 49.

Question
Once or twice a month I go on a hike with a friend, around 1.5-2hrs on hilly and technical trails. These hikes seem to expose some weaknesses I have as I get sore glutes or lower back. If I hike more frequently, will I be strengthening these areas, or making it worse? I ask because despite adding workouts in the last 6-8 months, Iím still having issues with these problem areas.
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Old 06-11-23, 02:38 PM
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I hiked the Appalachian Trail several times, once as a thru-hike and I think hiking (in rugged mountains) is one of the best ways to develop an aerobic base. However, it's also very tough on the musculoskeletal system, because of the weight you're carrying, especially combined with the downhills, which is what really hurts (causes injuries) a lot of hikers; this is contrary to popular belief that the uphills are the toughest part of hiking. Uphills do tax your cardio system more, but in my experience, cardio fitness develops much quicker than the musculoskeletal system.

Going downhill is very similar to doing single-leg squats, with the added challenge of balancing yourself and the weight on your back, that's why so many people nowadays use hiking sticks.

Originally Posted by Noonievut
Background
I ride about 4 days a week, road rides 60-70k, trails for 1-2 hours (drop bar mtb). I also do a workout 2-3 days a week (focused on areas Iíve had problems with, upper back, neck, glutes and core). Lastly, I walk 1-2x a day, 15-60 minutes. Iím almost 49.

Question
Once or twice a month I go on a hike with a friend, around 1.5-2hrs on hilly and technical trails. These hikes seem to expose some weaknesses I have as I get sore glutes or lower back. If I hike more frequently, will I be strengthening these areas, or making it worse? I ask because despite adding workouts in the last 6-8 months, Iím still having issues with these problem areas.
I would say to hike more often. Think of it like riding a bike only once or twice a month vs. your current 4-days per week. Your body needs more stress from hiking to see results.

Curious what your workouts (other than biking) consists of. Things like squatting is good for building the body up for hiking, but it can only do so much. There are aspects of hiking that are difficult to prepare for in the gym, but definitely keep up your workouts.




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Old 06-11-23, 06:05 PM
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My wife and I call hiking our secret weapon for cycling fitness. I wear a 15-20 lb. pack, partly to make it more of an equal workout for us, and partly just for the extra training load. During our 5 often-good-weather months, we hike every Monday we can, after the usual Sunday sufferfest on the bike, usually 3-4 hours of Sunday riding, and 3-5 hours of hiking. Our hiking is on mountain trails, usually 1-3 thousand feet of gain. For me, the hiking is all HR Z1, but the stress on the body is considerably more.

It more or less bomb-proofs us for cycling. The other thing we do is train in the gym twice a week, much like you. The gym makes hiking possible for geezers like us. We take glucosamine sulfate and MSM to keep our knees healthy, as hiking is particularly stressful for the knees - but of course that's just what conditioning is all about. Can't make something stronger without stressing it. As usual, the advice is to use a progression.
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Old 06-26-23, 07:23 AM
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Also 49 years old...

I like to go for hikes in the Midwest (i.e., hilly but not mountains) and I can't say that it's really helped my cycling. However, I think hiking is a great exercise for health in general as uneven trail surfaces help trigger stabilizer muscles, the impact of walking is good for the bones (something completely missing from cycling), and hiking involves a posture that the human body was designed for vs the sitting-like position of a bicycle. Then there's the benefit of just being out in nature instead of inside...

For me, working on flexibility, upper body and core strength have helped my cycling as I age. I did none of those things in my youth and suffered horrible post-ride back pain as a result. In addition to cycling, I sit in a chair 40 hours a week for work, so I'm pretty sure any flexibility and strength training I do is likely just to combat the damage done by sitting in one spot too long.
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Old 06-26-23, 07:32 AM
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They say the only way to train muscles for hiking is hiking.

1-2 hikes per month isn't enough

Try 2-3 times per week
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Old 06-26-23, 07:32 PM
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Back when we were normal, like last year and the 49 years preceding it, we'd hike once a week, starting at say 3 hrs. and 1000', gradually working up to about 6 hrs. and 3000'. We hike the day after our hard group ride of 3-5 hours, so we'd be tired. We'd be doing a total of maybe 10-14 hours/week, so the rest would be a bit of moderate cycling and maybe 1 hr. at the gym, depending. The duration of the long ride and hike was key. We'd gradually work in a couple of 3-day hikes, one up, one day hike, one down and by September, we'd be ready for our 10-day backpack, no resupply. That was all really, really fun. Maybe I'll get my heart fixed up to be able to do that again, maybe not.
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Old 06-29-23, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut
Background
I ride about 4 days a week, road rides 60-70k, trails for 1-2 hours (drop bar mtb). I also do a workout 2-3 days a week (focused on areas Iíve had problems with, upper back, neck, glutes and core). Lastly, I walk 1-2x a day, 15-60 minutes. Iím almost 49.

Question
Once or twice a month I go on a hike with a friend, around 1.5-2hrs on hilly and technical trails. These hikes seem to expose some weaknesses I have as I get sore glutes or lower back. If I hike more frequently, will I be strengthening these areas, or making it worse? I ask because despite adding workouts in the last 6-8 months, Iím still having issues with these problem areas.
I also do a lot of hiking/backpacking, and it will vary quite a bit by time of year. So sometimes it dominates over other things, like cycling; sometimes it becomes quite low frequency.
What you describe, is something I sometimes also feel... IMO, it's a factor of well developed muscles, but in a very specific use range (cycling is a very small range of use, even when considering IN and OUT of saddle effort).
For me it happens when I haven't hiked much. Out here the hiking is always lots of vertical with a very varied step/lift variance; often tall steps. I've grown accustomed to it happening.
It does subside when my hiking frequency goes up, and the muscles used adapt to the hiking 'use' range - specifically like you, the glutes and lower back. The quads just a little and less often.
It does subside as soon as I'm hiking more frequently. Should do the same for you. The real problem is that we only have 7 days in the week... LOL! More time would allow us to do more of everything !!!
It's a happy problem !
You can bet that hikers, runners and walkers, who are fit, will have the same problem if they were to ride with you on your program, 1 or 2x a month...
Ride On or do something else...
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Old 07-07-23, 04:57 AM
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I'm older (66) than you guys, but for many years I've done a weekly hike with a non-cyclist friend of 1-4 hours on local trail, which include the Appalachian Trail. Lightly loaded, not carrying a pack - at most a belt/belly pack kind of deal. That is in addition to 75-100 miles of biking per week, usually most on one long weekend ride.

Steep downhills definitely expose some muscles that I don't use very often elsewhere, as well as knee joints. But like anything else, doing something (even once per week) and your body adapts. I've found that the recommend cyclist stretching helps both biking and hiking muscles
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Old 07-07-23, 06:36 AM
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maybe find a hiking forum?

if I read this correctly, I've read the best training for cycling, is cycling, but that's not what you're asking about. you're asking about hiking issues
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Old 07-07-23, 07:05 AM
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I loved hiking and backpacking and miss it like crazy.

It's great exercise, go have fun while you can.
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Old 07-13-23, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
maybe find a hiking forum?

if I read this correctly, I've read the best training for cycling, is cycling, but that's not what you're asking about. you're asking about hiking issues
IME the benefit of time on the trail and time in the gym are out of proportion to their benefit to cycling in terms of TSS incurred. Not to say that such benefit increases over some certain, relatively low point of weekly TSS. I record my TSS for all athletic activity, down to walking to the store. Such crosstraining is good for injury prevention, strength, and muscular endurance.

The point of the OP's inquiry IMO is about how much TSS as a percentage of weekly TSS is optimal. My history suggests ~25%, though that depends on the season and the week. Sometimes I do more, sometimes zero. I use hrTss for crosstraining and have used both hrTSS and TSS for the bike.
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Old 07-13-23, 04:28 PM
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Hiking uphill puts a lot of strain on the oblique muscles than with cycling. Lots of easy exercises for strengthening these muscles, including planks. I find that I need to shorten my stride on hills to put less stress on my lower back muscles.
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Old 07-14-23, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
IME the benefit of time on the trail and time in the gym are out of proportion to their benefit to cycling in terms of TSS incurred. Not to say that such benefit increases over some certain, relatively low point of weekly TSS. I record my TSS for all athletic activity, down to walking to the store. Such crosstraining is good for injury prevention, strength, and muscular endurance.

The point of the OP's inquiry IMO is about how much TSS as a percentage of weekly TSS is optimal. My history suggests ~25%, though that depends on the season and the week. Sometimes I do more, sometimes zero. I use hrTss for crosstraining and have used both hrTSS and TSS for the bike.
um ok that's way over my head
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