Bushwalking Fitness | Stretches for Bushwalkers

Which muscles do bushwalkers use? Which are the appropriate static and dynamic stretches for bushwalkers to do? How should I perform each stretch?

Disclaimer: I have no training in sports medicine nor am I an elite athletics coach, so the advice given below should be discussed with a professional and modified to suit your age and fitness, or you can read the links to the research I have provided and decide for yourself.

Here are some of important muscles used in bushwalking, although most experts will tell you that bushwalking with a pack and walking poles gives just about all muscles a thorough workout.

  • Glutes: support body weight plus pack
  • Quadriceps: descending
  • Hamstrings: more important for bush walkers than runners
  • Calves: intensity of use varies with terrain, climbing
  • Abdominals: assist with posture, help you avoid back injury, stabilise pack
  • Middle and upper back muscles: stop pack swinging from side to side
  • Lower Back: for lifting and loading the pack
  • Obliques: scrambling
  • Ankle and Knee Complex: support body and pack weight
  • Inside and Outside Thigh
  • Hips: support body and pack weight
  • Neck (trapezius): support the pack weight via shoulder straps

Source: Fitness Blender Calories Burned Hiking – What Muscles are used in Hiking?

iMuscle is a great iPhone/iPad/laptop app which shows all the muscle groups and exercises associated with them.

Here are a selection of stretches for both before and after a bushwalk, recommended by three highly regarded fitness websites. Use the links provided, in the first column, to see how to do them or download one of the recommended posters or brochures, which I have cross-referenced. A search within YouTube for the particular stretch, will produce some excellent videos. You only need to select 5-10 minutes worth, and can vary these from session to session.

Many experts say that pre-exercise stretches should mimic the actions about to be performed (sports-specific) to get maximum value, while others says that each of the muscle groups should be stretched (generic). As most muscles groups are involved in bushwalking, especially with poles, I have adopted a generic, whole body dynamic warm up, as seen above, which can be done in 6 minutes, with no equipment.

  • While learning this dynamic stretch routine, you can download and play this video on your smartphone or tablet.If 6 mins is too short, you can repeat the routine or add some of the dynamic stretches below.
  • Take care when selecting dynamic stretches from websites/posters/brochures as some are really static stretches (held at maximum extension) rather than dynamic.
  • After your walk, when you are thoroughly warm, you  should select some of the static stretches from the list below. Some will be more appropriate in an outdoors setting and others should be selected to target specific areas of soreness.
  • For a sample training session, see my previous post. Bushwalking Fitness | Planning a Training Session

Click the links below to see either a photo or video of the stretch.

Dynamic Stretches, during warm up, after a low intensity 5 min walk.
Type
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
D
Pointers
D
D
D
D
D
D
Static Stretches, during cool down, after a 2-5 minute slow walk.
Type
Peak performance
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
S
Hamstring Stretch (1) (2) (3)
S
Calf Stretch (1) (3)
S
S
Abductor Stretch (1) (2) (3)
S
S
S
S
S
S=Static Stretch for during cool down D=Dynamic stretch for during warm up

References

Stretching posters and pamphlets

  1. Start Stretching Guidelines Poster (2 pages) (American Heart Association)
  2. Fact Sheet 3 Warm Up Guidelines (4 pages) (SmartPlay http://www.smsa.asn.au)
  3. Sports Medicine Australia Warm Up (poster) (SmartPlay smartplay.com.au)

Muscles in hiking

Brian Mac

About.com (moderated)

Peak Performance

Related posts

Bushwalking Fitness | Is stretching a waste of time?
Bushwalking Fitness | Planning a training session
Bushwalking Fitness (9)

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