This year’s Wilderness Volunteers projects have started, with one trip in the field this week, and three going out next week.

If you are preparing for your upcoming project, or for a backpack trip in the upcoming months, you are probably working on being in shape. These are some things you can do to help you hike stronger.

Increase your lung capacity by doing some interval training — short bursts of aerobic work. One way to do this is to warm up for ten minutes by walking or jogging at your regular pace and then to alternate walking or jogging as fast as possible for three minutes with three minutes of slower walking or jogging. Repeat four times gradually building up to eight.


Prevent shin splints by walking on your heels with your toes pointed up for at least 90 seconds, and then stretch by pointing your toes for 30 seconds. Repeat three times.

Strengthen your lower back by practicing the Superman: lie face down the lift your lets, chest, and arms off the ground. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat three to five times.


Strengthen your core by doing the plank: Get into pushup position on the floor. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and then lower yourself to the floor. Repeat five to eight times and work up to three sets.

IT band stretch

Strengthen outer knees (IT band) by moving your right leg behind your left, then bending left at the waist and keeping both feet flat on the ground. Hold this stretch for 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat on the right by moving your left leg behind your right leg and bending to the right at the waist. Alternate sides three times each.


Build your legs and strengthen your core by doing squats. There are many different types of squats, but a simple bodyweight squat is a great exercise. Stand with heels shoulder width apart, arms at your side, and toes slightly turned outward. Thrust your hips back and arms up as you squat keeping weight on your heels. Watch this video for proper form.

These exercises, combined with actually getting out and doing some hiking on uneven terrain, will get you ready to have a safe and fun project.