Strength Training for Rim to Rim

So you decided that you’re going to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim. You realize that it’s important to train by hiking, but what more can you do to prepare for the 24-mile trek?

by Michelle Fain, ACE certified Personal Trainer

Think legs, glutes and lungs. The workouts don’t have to be long, just effective. 

You don’t need any equipment to get in shape. Body weight movements such as lunges, squats, planks, jumping jacks and mountain climbers are great exercises to train for your upcoming hike. If you’re unsure about how to correctly perform these movements, there are plenty of YouTube videos from reputable trainers online to show you proper form. 

There are many ways to incorporate a quick workout into your training regimen. A short interval workout with two or three lower body and core exercises will both strengthen your muscles and increase your cardiovascular capacity. 

One example is to do 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for eight rounds, then rest for 2 minutes, pick another exercise and repeat. This particular type of interval is called Tabata. You can even download an interval timer app onto your phone so you’re ready to exercise whenever you have a few extra minutes in your day. 

Another great workout is to pick one or two exercises and set your interval timer for 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest. Depending on the amount of time you have, you can do anywhere from 10 to 20 rounds.

Always make sure you do at least a short warm-up before beginning any workout. You need to get blood flowing to the muscles that you will be using to help avoid injury. 

By adding some of these workouts into your training, you should increase your cardiovascular endurance. This will help you when you are trudging uphill after having crossed the vast expanse of the canyon floor. With about 8 miles still to go, you will need to rely on all of that training to climb your way to the top. 

When you successfully complete that last switch back and arrive at the top, you will be thankful for all of the hard work you put in leading up to your trek.