6 Gym Workouts To Get You Fit For Weekend Adventures

Doesn't matter if you're going climbing, surfing, cycling or hiking. Getting in shape always makes adventures more fun...

Going on an adventure soon and want to make sure you’re physically ready for the challenge?

While exercising outdoors is amazing when you’re on a weekend adventure, one of the best ways to make sure you’re in shape to enjoy those expeditions is to know your way around a gym.

You might think that people who like to adventure outdoors would avoid exercising in a gym environment, but the tracking and pinpointing nature of gym exercise is perfect for building a body that is ready to take on the great outdoors and everything it throws at you.

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From making sure you have the endurance and the leg strength to climb a mountain, to making sure that you’ve built up the back strength to comfortable carry a hiking pack, regular workouts are an adventurers best friend.

Here are eight workouts to target the areas that a weekend adventure targets the most.

Build Up Your Cardiovascular Capability

Building up your cardiovascular endurance is the most obvious part of training for adventures, that surfboard won’t paddle itself!

Through gently increasing your exercise, you can build your cardio endurance and anaerobic energy system up over time -but you if you’re on a deadline, there are a few shortcuts you can take.

The thing in your anaerobic energy system that makes you feel like you’re going to pass out when  you start exercising is not fatigue, it’s lactic acid buildup.  Increasing your muscles’ tolerance to this, means you also build a resistance to fatigue. The best way to do this is through HIIT Training

These workouts focus on short periods of high intensity, anaerobic, cardio and weight training, and can be applied to whichever form of gym cardio you like the most. Try a 20 minute treadmill workout divided into 5 one minute power walks, with 5 two minutes sprints in between each walk.

After a few weeks of HIIT workouts, you’ll find yourself 100% fitter than before!

Build Up Your Arms And Shoulders

So many adventure sports rely on upper body strength, it’s really a no-brainer to train those arms and shoulders properly when preparing for a weekend trip.

From rock climbing, to windsurfing, to cycling and scrambling, you’re upper body is going to get quite a workout and will thank you for a little training beforehand.

Many cardio exercises on the gym floor build arm strength, such as rowing and the elliptical, but that doesn’t mean that you can neglect these areas in your strength training.

Here’s a short arm and shoulder workout, if you feel unsure about any the weight exercises, ask a trainer at your gym, they will be happy to show you the correct way to do them.

  • Seated Barbell Press (4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps)
  • Side Lateral Raise (4 sets of 12, 12, 10, 8 reps)
  • Overhead Shoulder Press (4 sets of 12, 12, 10, 8 reps)
  • Dumbell bent-over rear delt raise (4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps)
  • Upright Barbell Row (4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps)

Mountain Ready Thighs

Have you ever seen an adventurer’s thighs? They are all muscle.

That’s because a lot of adventuring involves climbing up to the highest peaks, wading through strong tides and pushing your legs further than you thought was possible.

While building up your general fitness will make your legs stronger, you should definitely still focus on building those thigh muscles in the gym. Through a mixture of machine workouts and body weight exercises, you can make sure that you’re legs are ready for whatever mountain is around the bend.

The best way to build quickness and strength in your thighs? You guessed it! Squats. Here are four exercises to get started :

  • Squats: Start out with either a normal squat, with your feet at shoulder width, or widen your stance for a buddha squat, to strengthen the inner thigh. Increase reps as your ability rises.
  • Barbell Squats: As above, but with a barbell with a suitable weight for your fitness level, over your shoulders. Focus on keeping a correct shoulder position as with any other barbell exercise.
  • Leg Press: The leg press machine is a great way to strengthen all leg muscles, but it focuses particularly on the back on your thighs.
  • Jump Squats: Even if you have normal squats perfected, you’ll be surprised at how tough you find these jumping squats. Make sure you stick with them however, there are few other exercises better for building quickness and power in your legs.

Strengthen Your Core

In gyms and exercise classes, core workouts are often only referred to as a way of getting ‘rock hard abs’, but the reality is that a strong core will improve your strength and endurance in every part of your body.

The torso is the centre of strength in the body, but office jobs in which you have to sit for eight to nine hours a day weakens the muscles of your midsection.

These exercises will make sure that you can go from the office to the great outdoors every weekend with no problem at all!

  • Reverse crunch  Practiced in the same position as a normal crunch, but instead of raising your upper torso, bring your legs up and your knees towards the chest before lowering again.
  • Hang from a chin-up bar with both arms extended at arms length. Bring your knees up to a 90 degree angle and straighten again, repeating for the amount of reps suitable for your fitness level.
  • Russian Twist – Great for those side muscles. Lie down on the floor with your  legs bent at the knees. Elevate your upper body so that it creates an imaginary V-shape with your thighs. Twist your torso to the side until your arms are parallel with the floor while breathing out then return to starting position. Repeat on each side for the suitable amount of reps.

Don’t Forget The Calves

It’s true that a lot of your power comes from the thighs when your adventuring, but under trained calves can result in some seriously sore legs the day after.

Biking, climbing, surfing… These are all sports that require more calf strength than you would realise at the time. Make sure you don’t hurt yourself with these two simple calf exercises:

  • Double Calf Raise – Stand opposite a wall, with your hands placed flat in front of you. Press down into the balls of both feet to raise your body upward. Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in and hold, before returning your heels to the ground. Repeat for suitable amount of reps.
  • Skip – It’s time to dig that old skipping rope out of the cupboard! Skipping on the spot is one of the best ways to build up your calf muscles, while also building cardiovascular endurance!

Be Backpack Ready

There’s no pain more annoying than when you’re wearing a backpack that’s too heavy for you to handle.

As well as building up your core, you can also prevent this pain by working on your back and shoulder muscles to gain better posture and more power in your torso.

Just because you want a strong back, doesn’t mean you have to have a wide one however, if you want to keep a leaner shape, keeps your weights low and reps high!

  • Swimming locust- Lay on a yoga mat on your stomach with arms and legs extended. Raise arms and legs upwards and hold. Alternate raising your opposite leg and arm simultaneously, then lower and raise the other side. Do four sets of 20 raises on each side.
  • Wide- Grip Seated Cable Row – When seated, pull the bar towards your chest, keeping your shoulders low. The wide grip of this exercise gives emphasis to the upper lats, which will give you the  strength you need.
  • Side Plank- Yes, we all know that the plank is great or your core, but a side plank is great for strengthening those back muscles also, hold the position for a minute on either side when starting out, increasing the hold over time.

Do The 5k Treadmill Test

A great way to check your fitness level is the 5 kilometre treadmill test.

Get on a treadmill during your next gym workout and see how fast you can run a 5k on a 0.0% incline. The faster you can do it, the fitter you are.

A time under 30 minutes (without wanting to pass out at the end)  means that you’re probably in fine shape for a good, long hike.

If you’re over 45-50 minutes, don’t worry! After all, you’re only 15 minutes behind and that time can be improved easily, through all the exercises within this article. You’re still in shape to get out there and take on a mountain!

If you find a 5k too difficult on the treadmill, this is a sign that you’ll need to work on your cardiovascular capability. Do not fear, scroll up to the cardio section and start seeing a difference within 2 weeks of beginning training.

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