Agility, hip and ankle range of motion, ankle stability, and balance are some of the most important movement skills for hiking. Others are:
- Landing softly on the joints of your lower extremities
- Hip range of motion for long or high steps up and down
- Agility for Footing: the ability to pick a good spot where to step
- Ankle and foot mobility, so you don't sprain your ankle when your foot lands in an awkward position. Improve ankle dorsiflexion, ankle plantarflexion, inversion, and eversion.
- Ankle stability, to have enough strength pushing off of rocks, and roots.
Here is a list of exercises that will help with that.
Trapeze Table / Cadillac / Tower / Springboard
- Thigh Stretch (eccentric quad strength helps with descending; quadriceps length helps keep the knee from tightening up)
- Standing Leg Pump
- Standing Leg Pump from Side: all directions
- Standing Ankle Pump
- Forward Lunges
- Calf Stretch standing in the well
- Leg Series
- Bridge Hip Lift
- Single Leg Bridge
- Single leg calf stretch standing (use bodyweight to deepen dorsiflexion)
- The Z Thigh Stretch
- Single Leg Calf Stretch Standing (use bodyweight to deepen dorsiflexion)
- Balance on a wobble board or balance cushion or footplates
- The Square
- Single Leg Footwork with heavy springs for quad work
- Jumping prep and jumping
- Thigh Stretch
Finally here are some tips for your hiking technique:
- Drop your heels (dorsiflexion); don’t walk on tiptoes the whole time, unless it's too steep to keep the heel down.
- Watch where you’re stepping; roots and rocks can be wet and or loose. Test before putting weight on it.
- Try to get as much shoe sole contact with the ground as you can. Don’t walk on tiptoes.
- Step on rocks on dry days to avoid ruining the trail through erosion, step on dirt, and into the mud on wet days to not slip on rocks or wet wood.