Training tips for Trekking


An active trip can often be one of the more rewarding trips you take. You feel fit, healthy and often traversing landscapes by foot allows you to venture off the beaten track, interact with locals and see places few travellers can experience by other modes of transport. Not all hiking is hard core requiring mountaineering courses, crampons and ice picks. Not all hiking is at altitude and not all hiking is uphill. Our partner TrekFit Australia has shared with us, their tips for preparing for your trekking adventure.

Setting Realistic Goals
It is fantastic that you have made the decision to improve your fitness in  preparation for your trek. The most important thing we need to keep in mind is to set realistic goals. Depending on your fitness base, these goals will vary, but remember to set them for you – no one else! Give yourself at least 6 months preparation if you are tackling a difficult trek such as Kokoda or Mt Everest Base Camp.  Once you have established your preparation timeline, begin to plan out your training program. Your program should include lots of cardiovascular, strength and conditioning, stability and strength, core and trek specific training. It is important to remember that we need to slowly build our base fitness, ensuring we avoid injury and maintain our progress.

Trekking the Unrestored Great Wall of China
Trekking the Unrestored Great Wall of China

Aerobic Training (Cardiovascular)
No matter which trek you are on, your lungs will be working hard, especially if you are at altitude. We need to ensure that our cardiovascular fitness is at its best, ensuring we can trek for long periods of time each day. We always begin slowly, especially if you haven’t done a lot of aerobic exercise in the past, and we increase our duration and intensity as we get fitter and stronger. Interval training is excellent when preparing for a trek, as it trains your lungs to function at peak capacity.

Strength and Conditioning
Sometimes people have the misconception that if they do lots of hiking as preparation for their trek, then they will be prepared. You do need to get lots of ‘miles in your legs’, but you also need strength in your upper and lower body. Remember you will be carrying a reasonable size pack which will weigh at least 6 or 7kg or heavier if you are carrying a full pack.  Strength training is essential and it may involve body weight exercises as well as using traditional weights and weight machines.

Hiking the Lares Trek in Peru
Hiking the Lares Trek in Peru – Photo credit Mountain Lodges of Peru

Core and Stability
Core strength is what helps us maintain our posture and supports our back to remain strong. Remember those heavy packs we are going to have on our backs – a strong core will make this so much easier. We all know that the terrain we will encounter along our trek is not going to be nice and flat. We will experience all types of terrain and will have to manoeuvre this with our pack on our back. Stability and balance exercises are necessary to ensure our body is able to adapt to any terrain. It takes time to develop our stability and balance, so ensure you are training for this early in your training plan.

Trek Specific Training
Whilst you are on your amazing trek, you will be walking for up to 6 or 7 hours per day. Our bodies will need to be prepared for this type of endurance. At least once a week, take yourself out to the many beautiful bushwalking destinations and do a longer walk – usually a 3 or 4 hour walk is perfect. This will ensure you have ‘walked in’ your boots and your hiking gear!

Looking for some active travel ideas? Check out our Small Group Tours.