Chris Highcock's easy to follow programme could up your enjoyment of walking through improved strength.
Nobody trains to go walking, right? Or at least that's always been the accepted wisdom – you get better at walking by, well, walking, right?
Well, 'Hillfit: Strength' is a new, downloadable book by Chris Highcock, that convincingly challenges that assumption, and he says, could transform your enjoyment of your days on the hill with a simple, home-based strength training programme.
Chris's reasoning – and it's based on a detailed knowledge of sports physiology – is that a simple, strength conditioning programme that fits into just two 15-minute slots per week, creates stronger, more efficient muscles and that in turn, means that you'll spend less time struggling and suffering and more time powering over the hills.
Chris goes into a lot of detail on why strength does matter to walkers, and generally in life but all you really need to know is that it makes a lot of sense.
The Hillfit Programme
The routine Chris has devised is pleasingly simple and aimed primarily at those who currently don't do any strength training. You don't need access to a gym or to own your own weights – though that is an option – just your bodyweight, a towel, a door and maybe a pack and some bottles of water.
You only need to do one set of each exercise following Chris's guidelines – close, controlled, concentrated – and you can do the whole session in 15 minutes.
The exercises themselves aren't rocket science, plank push-ups, wall-sits – a sort of squat alternative – and an ingenious 'modified row' using a towel and an internal door topped off with an exercise to wake up your glutes, but it does matter how you perform them. Chris also suggests adding more resistance, as you get stronger, with the aid of your daysac.
Loads More Besides
There's a lot more in the book – good to see some myths about static stretching being debunked for example – but the bottom line is that it's the first book we've seen that not only makes the connection between muscular strength and fitness on the hill, but gives you an easy to follow, straightforward way of improving it.
And the nice thing is that Chris never loses sight of the fact that it's about enjoying walking rather than training for its own sake. So it's training smart, rather than just training.
It could, we think, be the best tenner you'll ever spend on the outdoors. More details at www.hillfit.com. You can also find Chris's fascinating blog at www.conditioningresearch.blogspot.com.