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eeping Fit

Conditioning for Rock Climbing and Hiking

© Wayne L. Westcott PhD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Keeping Fit by Wayne L. Westcott PhD. View all columns in series

Because hikers frequently carry packs on their backs, it is important to develop strong upper body muscles as well as strong leg muscles. The recommended training program should be sufficient in this regard, as long as you train with reasonable intensity. One set of each exercise is highly effective if you use enough resistance to fatigue the target muscle group within eight to 12 controlled repetitions. Two or three 30-minute training sessions per week should produce excellent strength gains, and this represents an important investment for better activity performance as well as improved physical fitness.


Strength training provides the best means for increasing the functional capacity of our musculoskeletal system. When performed in a sensible manner, it requires relatively little time and produces significant strength gains that may greatly enhance rock climbing and hiking abilities. The basic strength training programs presented in this article are well-suited for rock climbers and hikers, and are recommended as an integral part of your overall conditioning program.

Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., is fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA., and author of several books including the new releases Building Strength and Stamina and Strength Training Past 50.

©2001 Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D. all rights reserved

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About The Author
Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., is fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA. He is strength training consultant for numerous national organizations, such as the American Council on Exercise, the American Senior Fitness Association, and the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, and editorial advisor for many publications, including Prevention, Shape, and......more
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