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The perfect full-body workout for hikers and trailrunners

Laura Williams, M.S.Ed. is a personal trainer, freelance writer and entrepreneur who works with a wide variety of fitness clients. She's the founder of the popular website, - Girls Gone Sporty, and she's the host of the High Impact Blogg...

Trail runners: Get more out of you workout with these tips

When your running routine becomes ho-hum, spice things up and hit the trails. Even without equipment it’s easy to turn your average trail run into a full body workout. All you need is your body, Mother Nature and something to keep you hydrated – trust me, you’re going to need it.

Choose a trail, any trail! Look for a trail from three to six miles long, or opt for a shorter loop that you can travel a few times. The total length of your workout will last somewhere between 30 to 60 minutes, depending on whether you elect to complete the circuit once or twice through. If you’re feeling really motivated, you could complete it three times.

The goal here is to keep your intensity level as high as possible throughout the workout. You’ll get a “break” every two minutes to stop running and perform an exercise, but it’s not a real break — just a break from running. You’ll perform a new exercise every two minutes at your highest level of intensity (while maintaining proper form) for 60 seconds.

In essence, your workout will consist of two minutes running followed by one minute of a given exercise for a total of 10 rounds (30 minutes). After completing the circuit once, you can elect to repeat it a second or third time through.

Please note hydration is extremely important when exercising. vitaminwater zero is a great, zero-calorie option to help you stay hydrated.

Trail runners: Get more out of you workout with these tips
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

Get moving

Set an interval timer on your phone or watch to time your intervals. Set the work interval (your run) for two minutes and set your rest interval (your exercise) for one minute. After a five minute warm up or easy jog, get moving. During every two-minute run, you should move at a pace where carrying on a conversation is difficult, if not impossible. The goal is to keep your heart rate up.

As your work intervals wind down (about the last 30 seconds of each interval), start looking for the rock, bench, tree or other landmark you’ll use to perform your next exercise. Try to make it to the landmark, then jog in place until your interval timer buzzes.

Each of the following exercises can be performed in any order. You can follow the provided workout, or you can mix up your exercises based on the natural landmarks you have available. Just remember to perform all 10 exercises for a full-body routine.

Rock Step Ups

Trail runners: Get more out of you workout with these tips
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

A lower-impact exercise perfect for toasting the glutes, quads and calves, the rock step up can be performed on a rock, log or bench. The key here is to find a rock high enough to pose a challenge. Start by standing facing the rock, then step up onto the rock, leading with your left leg before following with your right. Come to a full standing position on top of the rock. Reverse the movement and return to the ground, stepping off with your right, then your left foot. After 30 seconds, switch the lead leg and begin the step up with your right foot.

Plank with Rock Crossover

Trail runners: Get more out of you workout with these tips
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

Work your core, shoulders and chest with this simple, weighted exercise. Locate a rock you can pick up with one hand and set up in a high plank position with your left hand on top of the rock. Holding your core tight and keeping your hips steady, shift your weight slightly to your right side and lift the rock with your left hand, crossing it over your body and placing it to the right of your right hand. Return your left hand to the ground and shift your weight to your left side, this time picking up the rock with your right hand and reaching it across your body to place it to the left of your left hand. Continue the crossover exercise, moving the rock from one side of your body to the other.

Lateral hop overs

Trail runners: Get more out of you workout with these tips
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

This exercise works on agility and speed. Stand to one side of a low rock or stump. Place your inside foot on top of the landmark and press forcefully through the ball of your foot to hop up into the air and laterally over the rock so your leading foot lands on the opposite side of the rock and your following foot lands atop the rock. Reverse the movement and press through your opposite foot to propel yourself back over the rock to the starting position.

Bulgarian split squat

Trail runners: Get more out of you workout with these tips
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

Place the top of one foot on a rock or bench behind you and stand tall a couple feet in front of the landmark, your weight centered in your supporting heel. Bend both knees and lower your back knee toward the ground as you reach your hands down to either side of your front foot. From the lowest position, forcefully press through your front foot from heel to ball and spring up into the air before landing softly, knees slightly bent. Keep your core engaged to support your lower back.

If you can’t actually spring up into the air, simply raise up on the ball of your front foot, lifting your heel slightly from the ground. Perform the exercise for 30 seconds per leg.

Single-leg angled pushups

Trail runners: Get more out of you workout with these tips
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

Find a rock or bench to place your hands on and start in an angled, high plank position. Lift one leg from the ground, pointing your toe and extending your hip to engage your glutes. Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the rock before pressing through your palms to return to a high plank position. Keep one leg lifted for 30 seconds before switching legs and continuing. Expect your chest and triceps to start to burn!

Next: More workout moves for your next trail run or hike

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