While there are numerous methods and routines for getting in shape to choose from, determining whether you have the necessary level of fitness to participate in certain activities, such as hiking or mountain climbing, can be difficult. Furthermore, identifying any areas of fitness where you may be lacking is critical, as they may impact your ability to achieve your fitness goals.
In this post l guide you through the nine elements of fitness. By understanding each of these categories, I can dispel any fitness-related myths and jargon. Each component of fitness has specific measurements and adaptations that can be attained through targeted training.
While not all of these nine elements are relevant to hiking, I want to cover all of them briefly. Elements that are relevant for hiking will go into greater detail.
Understanding these fitness elements is especially beneficial for beginners who are new to hiking or fitness. It can also be beneficial for athletes who want to push themselves further and improve in certain areas.
You’ll have a better understanding of what fitness is and how it relates to your goals by the end. So without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Long Endurance
This is also known as aerobic training, long-slow distance, or aerobic zone or zone two. It refers to your ability to maintain a steady pace with minimal heart rate fluctuations for at least 20 minutes.
Ideally, you should be able to keep this pace going for 30 – 60 minutes, or even longer. Endurance athletes can do up to 12 hours of long endurance work.
Long endurance is especially important when hiking because longer hikes necessitate more long-endurance training. Hiking more frequently is the best way to improve your long endurance. However, if you’re already in good shape, hiking may not be enough of a challenge. In addition, strength, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, flexibility, and accuracy are the other 8 fitness elements that add up to long endurance. Although these elements aren’t as important for hiking, they’re still important for overall fitness. You can read this blog post that will help you to determine your long endurance.
2. Movement Skill
This can also be described as technique and it refers to your ability to move freely and be unhindered by pain and stiffness in your joints, as well as move with stability and symmetry during exercises such as squats or deadlifts. It’s important to be able to move in full range motion to control the movement completely and to not be experiencing pain or stiffness during that motion. This can be looked at from any type of movement, whether it’s push-ups, squats or deadlifts and it can be carried over to more complex movements. Human movement itself plays a big role in a bunch of other fitness aspects. This is crucial for injury prevention and can be accomplished through a variety of movements and exercises.
This aspect is less important for hiking and mountain climbing but essential for some athletic pursuits. If you’re a beginner who is just starting out with hiking and fitness, then you don’t really need to worry about speed. But if you’re more on the athlete level and you want to test your speed, then a 40-yard dash is the most basic way to measure speed. Just see how fast you can move across 40 yards or 50 metres. But it doesn’t really play a big role in hiking.
4. Pure Strength
One of my favourite elements of fitness for hiking and climbing. This refers to your body’s ability to produce force. Basically saying, how much weight you could possibly lift whilst only doing one rep.
Training strength is working on the lower rep range mostly 3 – 6 reps. This doesn’t mean that you should do 6 easy reps, by that I mean that you need to reach the failure point during those 3 – 6 reps. When you’re doing it consistently the body will adapt to being able to produce more force. Building strength is not only important for avoiding injuries, but it also helps with setting a good foundation for increasing endurance.
To test your strength, I suggest you test your one-rep max on deadlifts or estimating your max with a calculator. However, if you’re a beginner you should practise your movement, skill, and technique before taking such tests.
Strength training frequently entails working in lower rep ranges and working to failure during sets. This not only reduces injury but also lays a solid foundation for building endurance. It is critical to focus on all four elements of fitness in order to succeed in physical activity. You can lay a solid foundation for overall health and performance by working on endurance movement skills, speed, and strength. It’s also important to remember that these fitness components do not exist in isolation, but rather work together to build a strong and resilient body.
It’s the combination of speed and strength, and it’s required for quickly producing force. While power is useful for hiking and climbing, it does not need to be measured or practised extensively. Box jumps, dynamic step-ups, and jumping tests such as the vertical jump and broad jump tests are examples of power-building exercises. However, if you have joint or ankle problems, proceed with caution and do not attempt these exercises. If you’re on the athlete level you can do two different jump tests which will give you a really good indication of your ability to produce power. These two are Vertical Jump Test and Broad Jump Test. For the Vertical Jump Test you’re going to stand near a wall, reach up as high as you can with both hands, and mark on the wall where you can reach. If you can reach 24 inches it’s considered a good result. However if you’re over 50 around 20 inches is also a good result. If you’re reaching close to 24 or 20 inches, then you can assume that you’re doing pretty good. The Broad Jump Test can show you if you can broad jump your height. So standing from a starting position jump with your both legs and try your best to land with both of them and measure how far you can jump. If you’re able to jump your height, then it means that your body is good at producing power.
This refers to muscle size and is essential for producing strength and power. While some muscle mass is beneficial for hiking and climbing, having more of it makes the body a lot safer in terms of joints and lets us produce elements like strength and power. Hypertrophy may or may not be important depending on your goals, but in general, a little muscle mass can help with longevity and overall health. Having a good level of fitness is required for hiking and climbing. While speed and power are important, strength and hypertrophy are even more so. It’s also important to gradually increase your fitness, especially if you’re a beginner, and to avoid overdoing it with exercises that could cause joint or ankle problems. By doing so, you can improve your fitness and enjoy your hiking and climbing adventures to the fullest. You can measure your hypertrophy by taking a gym selfie.
7. Muscular Endurance
This refers to the muscle’s ability to perform repetitive contractions over an extended period of time. Testing yourself in any resistance exercise that requires at least five repetitions is one way to measure muscular endurance. The plank hold is the most common test for muscular endurance. However, you can put your muscular endurance to the test with any exercise that requires multiple repetitions, such as step-ups, or squats until you have to stop. Muscular endurance is important for hiking and climbing because it allows you to endure repetitive movements for extended periods of time. You can assess your current fitness level and work to improve it by testing your muscular endurance. Incorporating exercises that focus on muscular endurance, such as step-ups, into your fitness routine can help you perform better
8. Anaerobic capacity
This is the amount of work your body can do without being re-oxygenated. It’s typically measured by short bursts of activity lasting 30 seconds or less. To assess your anaerobic capacity, get on an exercise bike, such as the air dime bike, or a rower and pedal or row as hard as you can for 30 seconds, measuring the distance or wattage you accumulate. By doing that it gives you a baseline level where you can look at your anaerobic capacity. You can improve your performance in these activities by testing your anaerobic capacity on a regular basis and incorporating exercises that focus on building it. While hiking and climbing you don’t always do short bursts of intense activity that require you to work without oxygen, but you can always improve your anaerobic capacity because your body is always using multiple systems.
9. Aerobic Capacity
This is what people talk about when asking “Are you cardiovascular fit?” or “Do you do cardio?”. But in the more athletic development people generally refer to this as your VO2 max. This comes down to how efficient your body is at using oxygen. So the higher your VO2 max is the better you will be at intaking oxygen and your body will be better at circulating the oxygen to the muscles (which is an exceptionally important thing in hiking). You might wonder what is the difference between aerobic capacity and long endurance work. While anaerobic capacity is commonly used for short-duration and high-intensity activities, long endurance is required for longer-duration activities such as hiking. Both are necessary for overall fitness, and improving one can benefit the other.
I wanted to share this with you to give you a much clearer understanding of what fitness is, what these elements are, how they relate to your level of fitness and I hope that you will take this information and start improving your physical health.
If you want to improve your fitness, you must concentrate on at least one of these aspects. Don’t get too caught up in the terminology. Instead, look for activities that you enjoy and that will change you in one or more of these areas. If you want to see how a fitness program should be structured, I recommend you the latest released program Cornerstone, which is a year-round program that closely resembles my training regimen.
Understanding the various components of fitness is critical for anyone looking to improve their physical health. You can make significant progress toward your fitness goals by focusing on one or more of these areas. These 9 fitness adaptions is basically a representation on what fitness actually looks like.