Tag Archives: warm up

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)

Bushwalking Fitness | Planning a Bushwalk Training Session

What are the essential components of a bushwalking training session? Why are warm ups and cool down important? What types of stretching should be used and when? 

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.

This post is to alert bushwalkers to recent changes in the advice given by sports coaches and researchers and to offer some safe alternatives, which can be incorporated in training sessions for bushwalkers, leading to more enjoyable bushwalking.

 Controversy

 In the 80’s, coaches and sports medicine practitioners were recommending static stretches before exercise as a way of preventing injuries and muscles soreness. Unfortunately, this incorrect advice is now incorporated into the pre-walk routines of many bushwalkers.

Recent research has shown that static stretches before exercise don’t prevent muscle soreness or injuries and can actually be counter-productive by reducing the explosive power of major muscles, for as long as several hours after the stretching.

Essential components

If you wish to reduce muscle soreness and injuries, the most important thing  you should do before exercise is to warm up fully and only once this has been done, attempt some dynamic stretches. 

Dynamic stretching increases range of movement, blood and oxygen flow to soft tissues prior to exertion. Increasingly coaches and sports trainers are aware of the role in dynamic stretching in improving performance and reducing the risk of injury. (Wikipedia)

Traditionally stretching before exercise has been static  (ie held for 10 – 60 seconds at maximum contraction), but more recently dynamic stretches, typically swings and lunges, have become favored, as they mimic more closely the actions which occur naturally in the activity and can be considered part of the warm-up. During the controlled swing, the maximum stretch is reached but is not held and this is then repeated in a fluid motion. These are the sorts of activities you see Olympic runners and swimmers doing just before they reach the starting blocks.

After strenuous exercise, low intensity cool down exercises, involving the muscles just used, such as slow walking, are essential to remove metabolic products such as lactic acid from the muscles, to return the body to a pre-exercise levels, to reduce muscle soreness and aid in quick recovery.

 Static stretching can be used as part of the cool down as it stretches tightened and contracted muscles back to original size, and in so doing produces a feeling of relaxation. For those over 65 years, this is the ideal opportunity to increase flexibility, without the risk of injury, as the body is already warm.

Example of a Training Program for Bushwalking (Thanks Jarrad)

Warm up

This may take more than 5 minutes initially, but this will soon decrease with familiarity. Once you have completed the dynamic warm up, try some light repetitive exercise eg walking up and down stairs 10 times just prior to stepping off for your walk. Alternatively, commence your training session at a slow pace and low intensity for the first few hundred metres.

Your training walks

Logically, your training sessions should exercise all the muscles you will be using on your walk. In a gym environment, it is difficult to know which muscles to exercise and upon which to give more focus, but when actually walking this all happens automatically.

If your aim is to walk off-track with a heavy pack, in hilly, rough terrain then that’s the training you should do. If you intend walking on the flat with a light day pack then that’s how you should exercise.  Training off-track has the additional benefits of developing balance, and adding interest to what can be repetitive and boring.  Balance is an often ignored attribute of a good walker, and can have a major impact on speed of movement and safety.

Don’t forget to build up slowly: increasing either distance or speed a little each day, beginning on the flat and increasing the steepness of the terrain, and adding weight to your backpack at regular intervals, when you feel you have reached your maximum speed.

Unfortunately not everybody has access to a suitable training environment, so your gym programme will need to exercise all the muscle groups you will be using, developing the balance and strength that climbing on rough terrain automatically produces. I highly recommend that you incorporate a Pilates or yoga class or two, as they incorporate stretches which focus on the core muscles so essential for balance and carrying a backpack.

Cool downs

  • 3 -5 min slow walk
  • 5 -10 min Static Stretches (eg www.brianmac.co.uk/stretch.htm)
  • Refuel: both fluid and easily digestible food (eg fruit or sport drink)

Once, again Brian Mac has a number of very good stretches that should be conducted after exercising. The longer you can hold a stretch for, without bouncing, the more benefit you will gain. To start with hold a stretch for about 20-30 sec and conduct each stretch twice. Those over 65 years, may need to hold for 60 seconds to get maximum benefit.

Another site which is also very helpful is:

http://www.topendsports.com/medicine/stretches/index.htm

It has pretty much the same stretches as the Brian Mac site, and maybe a few alternatives if you find that some of the stretches are hurting etc.

References:

Brian Mac

About.com

Peak Performance

Related posts 

Bushwalking Fitness | Is stretching a waste of time?
Bushwalking Fitness | Stretches for Bushwalkers
Bushwalking Fitness (9)

      Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

    Bushwalking Fitness | Is stretching a waste of time?

    Is static stretching a waste of time? Does static stretching before exercise prevent muscle soreness and injury? Can static stretching beforehand reduce power during a bushwalk?

    With a couple of  almost 3000m Canadian mountains (Mt.Begbie near Revelstoke and Mt Tupper near Roger’s Pass) to climb in September, and with the festive season having played havoc with my fitness, I have again made my annual New Year’s resolution to improve my fitness.

    Mt Begbie, Revelstoke (© goldenscrambles.ca)
    Mt Tupper, Rogers Pass (© Selkirk Mountain Experience)

    My usual weekly keep-fit regime involves 3 or 4,  45 – 60 minute walks on rugged and hilly tracks near my home, interspersed with a Pilates class or two, and as I approach a major bushwalk/climb, 1 or 2 bushwalk-specific weight resistance sessions at my local gym. In hot weather, I cool down after  my morning walk with a 1 km swim.

    While annual gym fees are substantial, cutting back on my wine consumption by a glass a day, more than pays for the cost! This training schedule may seem excessive to some, but I’ve found that to enjoy a bush walk, and in some cases a 10-12 hour day with a heavy pack, that a high level of fitness is needed. As I get older, it takes more effort to reach and maintain the same level of fitness.

    Training Route, Brownhill (3.83 km)

    I find that, as I usually train on my own, I need some incentive to improve and for this I  use the highly regarded iPhone app Walkmeter which enables me to compare my times from walk to walk and from stage to stage within the walk. It even allows me to select background music with appropriate BPM (beats per minute) and gives me feedback throughout the walk as to how I rate compared with my best, median and worst times at key points ( see map above) along this route. All of these statistics, including calories burnt, can be viewed online , exported to Google Earth (kml or gpx files) or shared with your training partner.

    As I have been noticing a little calf muscle soreness during these walks, I thought I would investigate if a stretching regime could help. To my surprise, I found that the benefits of stretching were rather controversial.

    Researchers Robert Herbert, Ph.D., and Marcos de Noronha, Ph.D. of the University of Sydney conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 10 previously published studies of stretching either before or after athletic activity. They concluded that stretching before exercise doesn’t prevent post-exercise muscle soreness. They also found little support for the theory that stretching immediately before exercise can prevent either overuse or acute sports injuries.  (When to Stretch – Experts Recommend Static Stretching After Exercise ©2013 About.com. All rights reserved.)

    Part 2 of this post outlines a bushwalk training session which has been designed for me by a professional trainer and includes a warm up with dynamic stretches, training walk, and a cool down including static stretches.

    Other Bushwalk Fitness related posts (9)

    Bushwalking Fitness
    Bushwalking Fitness | Stretches for Bushwalkers
    Bushwalking Fitness | Planning a Bushwalk Training Session

      Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.