Is hiking good for building muscle

Many people are into hiking. And for a reason. It’s not only enjoyable but also burns calories and builds muscle. Here we’ll talk more about that.

How do we build muscles

When you do some type of exercise, micro tears are created in the muscle tissue. Thus, muscle fibers are being damaged. Then proteins start to repair the damaged muscle fibers and the latter start to increase in their thickness. Therefore, two things are necessary to build muscle – micro tears and protein.
But those micro tears should come from an exercise of a certain intensity. And, when we are talking about hiking, we should say that it definitely can be intense enough to lead to a damage in the muscle fibers. Still, some factors play a role in whether this will happen or not. Such factors are the trail you’re hiking, your pace, the weight of the backpack and others.

Which muscles are used during hiking

People think that hiking only works on the legs but if it’s intense enough, it can work on the entire body. Let’s look at some of the muscles used during hiking:

  • Hamstrings – they are the muscles at the back of your thigs. One of their function is to straighten the knee. They are used during the entire hike.
  • Quadriceps – they are very important while hiking. Their location is in the front of your thigh. Their main responsibility is to perform the forward motion and to straighten the knee. They are used all the time during the hiking.
  • Calves – you mainly use the calves when you hike uphill. They are less worked when you are walking on a flat surface.
  • Abdominal muscles – when you hike with a heavy backpack on, those are the muscles which will keep your body straight.
  • Glutes – what they do is that they mainly support your torso. They are more intensely worked on when you walk uphill and carry a heavy backpack.
  • Hip muscles – they extend your thigh at the hip and the also help to support the glutes and the lower back.

How to build muscle while hiking

If you want to build your muscles while you hike, then you need to increase the muscle activity.
This can be done by two means: increase the weight of your gear and hike on a challenging trail.
And, when it comes to the trail, find one which offers plenty of changes in the altitude.
Also, don’t forget to eat enough protein because the protein is responsible for repairing the damaged muscle fibers.


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