How to Build Endurance for Hiking

If you’re new to hiking, or you just want to make it easier to kick trail ass, it’s important to build endurance for hiking. By gradually building your endurance, you’ll be able to hike further and for longer periods of time with less fatigue. Here are a few tips on how to do just that!

how to build endurance for hiking

How to Build Endurance for Hiking

Build Your Muscles

You may be surprised by the amount of muscles hiking uses. Your lower body (quads, glutes, hips, calves, hamstrings) are probably the most worked muscles. But did you know that your abs, obliques, and back get a workout too? Even your arms, shoulders, and chest may get in on the action, especially if you use trekking poles.

It’s important to have a strong base for hiking not only for endurance, but also to prevent injury. The more you condition your muscles for hiking, the easier it will get to hike longer and farther on increasingly difficult trails.

I’ll go over some of the best strength exercises for hikers later in the post.

Increase Your Stamina

Hiking requires stamina to walk for miles with weight on your back, and even more stamina if you’ll encounter elevation changes on trail. Working on increasing your stamina can help you by allowing you to hike farther, reduce fatigue, and conquer difficult elevation changes more easily.

2 Ways to Increase Your Stamina

Move Your Body for 30 to 60 Minutes

Walking or running are a great way to help build your endurance, especially for beginners. Try increasing your distance at set intervals, like weekly.

You can also increase the speed at which you build stamina by adding intervals. If you’re walking, add a 30 second run every 4 or 5 minutes or so. If you’re running, add sprints.

Do Isometric Exercises

Train your muscles to be able to handle stress for longer periods of time by practicing isometric exercises, such as wall sits and planks.

Get Your Heart Pumping with Cardio.

Hiking is an aerobic activity, meaning it gets your heart pumping and works your cardiovascular system. Having a cardio routine will make sure you build the cardiovascular endurance you need to hike without getting too out of breath.

Swimming, running, cycling, jumping rope, or elliptical trainers are great cardio. Whether you run, bike, hike, or cycle, hill intervals are great for this, especially if you do them outdoors on natural terrain.

Great cardio exercises for building endurance for hiking:

  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Rollerblading
  • Jumping rope
  • Elliptical training
  • Burpees

Improve Your Balance

Crossing streams on rocks or logs, scrambling, stepping over obstacles, and even walking on uneven terrain all require balance. Your

According to Harvard Medical School, some of the best ways to improve your balance are

  • Climbing stairs
  • Walking
  • Stretching
  • Yoga
  • Biking

Exercises for Building Endurance for Hiking

These exercises can help you make your hiking experience more enjoyable. They’ll increase the strength in all of those needed areas for efficiency, reduce injury risks by strengthening important muscles against possible strains or sprains after hours on rocky terrain; last but not least – they’re great when it comes time to hike! I’ve also created a playlist with all of the moves so that it’s easy to see how to execute them.

Jump squat for building endurance for hiking

Jump Squats

Step Ups


Side Lunges

Single Leg Glute Bridges

Split Squats

Single Leg Deadlifts

Push Ups


Side Planks. Add difficulty by adding in leg raises

Hamstring Curls

The best exercises for building endurance are those that mimic the physical demands of hiking. These exercises will help you prepare your body for the challenges of a long hike, and they’ll also improve your overall fitness level. Start incorporating these exercises into your routine today, and you’ll be ready to hit the trails with confidence!

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