How Hiking Can Make You Just As Strong As Those Dudes Pumping Iron


Men's Health |

You don’t need fancy machines to get strong and fit. Grab a weighted backpack and start lifting.

Directions: Load about 10kg of weight into a backpack.You’ll do 6 rounds of a six-exercise circuit, using the pyramid method – that is, increasing and then decreasing reps (see “Your Rep Counts,” below). For each round, do the exercises in order. Rest as needed between rounds.

Your Rep Counts:

  • Round One 5
  • Round Two 10
  • Round Three 15
  • Round Four 15
  • Round Five 10
  • Round Six 5

Trainer: Jason Hartman, Special Forces trainer
Time: 20 minutes
Frequency: Up to 3 times per week

1/Zercher Squat – Hold the backpack in front of you, resting it in the crooks of your elbows. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and squat, keeping your torso as upright as possible. Push back up to a standing position. That’s 1 rep.

1

2/Zercher Squat – Hold the backpack in front of you, resting it in the crooks of your elbows. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and squat, keeping your torso as upright as possible. Push back up to a standing position. That’s 1 rep.

2

3/Front Squat and Press – Hold the bag close to your upper chest. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and squat, keeping your torso as upright as you can. Explosively push back up to standing as you press the bag overhead. That’s 1 rep.

3

4/Overhead Walking Lunge – Hold the bag over your head. Step forward and lower your hips until your front knee is bent 90- degrees. Then bring your back foot forward as you stand up. Immediately alternate legs.

4

5/Push-Up – With the bag on your back, assume a push-up position. Bend your elbows and lower your torso until your chest is just above the floor. Push back up, keeping your body perfectly straight throughout. That’s 1 rep.

5

6/Get-Up – Keep the backpack on. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and squat as low as you can. Lean backwards and roll onto your back. Then roll forward, returning to the squat position; stand up. That’s 1 rep.

6

Take It Outside!

To add a challenge, go rucking to a target destination that’s anywhere from one to 12km away, do this workout, and ruck back to the start. That simulates a Special Forces mission, during which soldiers might have to hike to a mission location, attack a target and then hike out.

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