One of the best things to come out of my hike in South Dakota is a real test of my hiking training program.
Unfortunately the Chicago area is very limited for hills, and stair training can only do so much – so now I’m adding additional exercises to improve my functional strength, stability and mobility in three areas of limitations:
Ankles, Hips and Wrists!
Ankle and Hip limitations are almost self-explanatory – just look at this terrain:
This type of walking surface requires a greater amount of flexibility and strength in the ankle joint as well as strength and stability in the hip joints. These trails are significantly different from my nice paved or graded gravel trails around Chicago, requiring a different approach to training.
Using poles on terrain like this also requires a greater amount of wrist mobility and strength as well.
Downward force can be applied on the poles at a variety of wrist angles, not just the nice neutral wrist typically used in Nordic Walking.
You can see a bit of an example here where I have a big step down, and a surface that offered a questionable footing, so I chose to do a wider pole plant (and more acute angle on the wrist) before stepping down, where my wrist is then more neutral.
Questionable Footing? This terrain did have a few surprises in store: they had 2 days of rain before this hike, so some areas had more sand & gravel over the walking surfaces than was normal for this trail. We also walked over half-a-dozen log “bridges” over very small streams, glad I had my poles with!
This type of pole work is something that is challenging to train for without real-world hiking, but I’ve got a plan…
I’ll be sharing parts of my training program with you over the next few weeks, but if you are planning on doing some hiking, contact me for more details on a training program designed to address any weak areas you might have.