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What Activities Give The Best Workout While In The Mountains?

Get the best workout while in the mountains? Find out what some creativity and imagination can come up with when trying to workout in the mountains! Also be alert to problems w/solutions that can occur when medical help is not nearby.

By: Workout Of The Week


TOPIC: What Activities Give The Best Workout While In The Mountains?

The Question:

During the summer months many people (students in particular) take time off and travel to the mountains to relax and get away from city life. But there is still quite a bit of work to do even then.

What activities lend themselves to giving you the best workout while camping in the mountains? Be specific.

What activities will have a negative impact on your normal healthy habits while camping?

What can you do if you are in the mountains and get injured during these activities?

Bonus Question: Have you experienced a situation where you or someone you know was injured and needed medical assistance? How did you handle it?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    Prizes:
      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ will@bodybuilding.com for more info.


1st Place - Mtguy8787
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

During the summer months many people (students in particular) take time off and travel to the mountains to relax and get away from city life. But there is still quite a bit of work to do even then.


Mountain Activities
What Activities Lend Themselves To Giving You The Best Workout While Camping In The Mountains?

With a little bit of innovation, creativity, and possibly by bringing some basic equipment along, one can perform decent workouts while in the mountains. The best option would be to bring some minimal equipment along, such as some adjustable dumbbells and plates.

Equipment such as this can be useful, and will not take up much space in the truck or car. However, for people doing activities such as backpacking into the backcountry, this is not an option. Even if one cannot bring any equipment along, there are still ways to get a good workout in. There are ways in which resistance can be added without bringing any extra items.


Resistance Exercises

Resistance exercises are what will prevent you from losing strength, and possibly muscle loss. Everyone is familiar with things like push-ups and sit-ups. However, the standard pushup or sit-up does not provide nearly enough resistance for most people to prevent strength or muscle loss. These types of exercises must be made harder, or done with some form of added resistance in order to be useful.

Body Weight Exercises & Variations:

    Pull-ups From A Tree Limb:

      If there is a tree limb close enough to the ground, pull-ups can be done on these. If the limb is too high, a rope can be thrown over a higher limb. This will be similar to towel-pull-ups. Handles can also be attached to a free-hanging rope.

      By using both a pronated and supinated grip, nearly all of the back muscles can be worked effectively. See the 'Useful Equipment' section for more details on ropes and handles.

      Adding Resistance

      Place rocks inside of a snug fitting backpack or waist pack. You should be able to easily add anywhere from 5-to-25 pounds by doing this.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Pullups.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

    Pushups:

      Done by itself, a standard push-up does not offer much resistance for most people. For maintaining strength and muscle mass, resistance will need to be added. For a conditioning or endurance workout, non-weighted push-ups can still be a useful tool that mainly involves the chest and triceps.

      Adding Resistance

      The easiest way to add resistance during a push-up is to have someone either sit or push downward on your back. Placing rocks inside of a backpack as with pull-ups can also be used for push-ups.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Pushups.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

    Pushup Variations:

      Push-ups with hands close together:

      Perform the same as a normal push-up, only with the hands placed 1-6 inches apart. This will place most of the work onto the triceps.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Pushups With Hands Close Together.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

      Clap Pushups:

      These are performed almost the same way as a standard push-up. Instead of leaving the hands on the floor, explode upwards and clap your hands together between each repetition. Doing this is a way to simulate more resistance.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Clapping Pushup.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG

      Elevated Feet:

      Elevate your feet on an object 1-2 feet high. This will simulate an incline press, and will place more of the work onto the upper chest. It can be harder to add resistance while doing these, though.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Elevated Feet.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

    Floor Or Ground Crunches:

      These can be performed anywhere. For most people, a standard crunch will not offer much resistance, so they must be made harder. Difficulty can be added to crunches without any equipment.

      To make the exercise more difficult and more effective, do not lift yourself all the way up. Raise your body only to the point of hardest-resistance. Do not continue past the point where the exercise starts to become easier, rather than harder.

      Adding Difficulty:

      • Bring the feet in closer to the glutes. The close they are, the harder the exercise will be.
      • Extend your arms straight out behind your head. This will add a great deal of difficulty to the exercise.
      • Have a friend apply manual resistance while doing the exercise.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Crunches.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

    One Legged Squats:

      These are a great lower body exercise that can be done without any equipment. If you have never tried them, you may be surprised at how hard they can be. They are also great for building balance, in addition to working the muscles.

      If you cannot do them with your hands in front of you, it is fine to hold onto an object to help maintain balance. These can be done in parallel style, or you can choose to go all the way down as shown below.

      Adding Resistance

      Use a backpack or waistpack containing rocks, or some other heavier material.


Click Image To Enlarge.
One-Legged Squat.
Video: Windows Media - Real Player

Exercises With Equipment:

    If you chose to bring along some equipment such as adjustable dumbbells and weights, you will have a much greater variety of exercises that you can do. The exercises that could be done are the exact same ones you could do in a gym. However, you may not have as much weight, so here are some tips for getting the most out of your workouts.

    Make Less Weight Go Further:

      While you may not have enough weight to sling around as much as you normally do, you can do several things to maximize the benefit of using the few scattered plates that you did bring along. If this could be summed on in one phrase, it would be to 'slow down.' The eccentric or negative portion of the movement is where a large percentage of the hypertrophy inducing micro-damage comes from.

    Slow Down On The Negative:

    Pause At The Bottom:

      Most people lift the weight immediately after lowering it. For strength training, this is what you want to do. For bodybuilding purposes, it can be beneficial to pause at the bottom. Pausing will also help to make less weight go farther.

      When a muscle is lengthened while lowering a weight, some of that energy gets stored as elastic energy. When you immediately lift the weight, some of that energy is used to do the work. This is known as the myotatic stretch reflex. When you have less weights to use, pausing at the bottom will dissipate that energy, forcing your muscle tissue to do all of the work.

    Perform Higher Volume Workouts:

      If you have less weight on hand, performing a higher volume workout can be another way to make the best use of it. You will not need as much weight to do a routine such as 10 sets of 10 as you would to do 3 sets of 5.

      I would suggest 100 total repetitions per muscle as the upper limit for a workout in this case. 10 sets of 10 per exercise would fall into this category. 8 sets of 12 would as well. 10 sets of 20 would not.

    Increase Work Density:

      Work density, or intensity is an important factor of training. Doing more work in less time, or the same amount of work in less time is a way to make less weight count for more.

      The objective here should be to complete your workout in as little time as possible. While 5 sets of 15 pullups with 3 minutes of rest between sets may seem easy and relatively pointless, doing them with 25 seconds rest is a different story.

      By increasing the work density, or decreasing the time it takes to complete your exercises, you can turn an easier and less beneficial workout into a much more intense and more beneficial one. These methods can be used for all exercises listed in this article.

    Decrease Rest Times:

      The shorter your rest times, the more intense the workout will be. The hypertrophy stimulation will be also be higher. When working out in your campground, keep rest times short -- 60 seconds at the most.

      Your goal should be to make your muscles do as much TOTAL work as possible in the shortest amount of time. You will not be able to use as much weight when resting for only 25 seconds. But this is perfectly OK, and it will help make less resistance go farther.

    Supersetting:

      If you have dumbbells and adjustable weights, supersetting exercises is an excellent way to increase work density. When resting after one set of exercise, perform another set with 1-or-2 smaller muscle groups. For example, after performing a shoulder press, follow it with a set of curls, followed by wrist curls.

Superset Video

WMV (7.9 MB)
MPEG (6.2 MB)
Video iPod (.8 MB)

    Weights Found In Nature:

      Tree limbs and logs can make excellent workout tools. Ropes can be hung from tree limbs, and used for a variety of exercises. Ropes and handles can be attached to the end of a large log, and be used to simulate T-bar rows. Two ropes can be attached to a smaller log and this can be used for a variety of arm exercises.

      Make it a goal to set up a backcountry gym at your campsite using materials that you bring and find. It can be a fun activity, and you will certainly get a better workout over the next few days. More information on this is given below.


Cardiovascular Exercises

Running:

    Running on a trail in the woods is completely different from running in the gym. I absolutely hate doing cardio in the gym, and I do as little as possible. When I am in the mountains, I always go for a run. It becomes less of a boring task, and much more enjoyable.

Hiking:

    Hiking up a steep hill can be an intensely grueling workout, much like doing high intensity cardio. But the feeling when you reach the top is much nicer than finishing a workout in the sweaty, boring gym. When you go out hiking, always be sure to carry water with you; there is no drinking fountain nearby. If you do not have a pair, invest in some good quality hiking boots.

    Hiking in tennis shoes is a much riskier practice, as you are much more likely to turn your ankle. I have experienced this the hard way in the past. Nobody thinks it will ever happen to them, until it does. And the last thing you want to do is to sprain an ankle 3 miles from camp.

Swimming:

    Depending on your location, this may not always be an option. But if it is, going for a swim in a cool mountain lake is an incredibly invigorating experience. Racing your friends across a portion of the lake is great fun. Betting on the races is even more so. If the water is clear, swimming down into the depths is also great fun. Just make sure everyone is a good swimmer!

Mountain Biking:

    Biking on trails, both smooth and rugged, is another great part of trips to the mountains. Biking up a steep climb can be an insanely intense exercise, just as intense as sprints or maximum intensity cardio. But it is a satisfying experiences to reach the top of a long climb.

    The ride back down is even more fun. Remember to always be prepared; carry at least 1 water bottle per person, and have at least 1 tire repair kit in the group. The last thing that needs to happen is for someone to get a flat while you are 8 miles from anywhere.


Useful Equipment

If you are traveling to your destination by means of a motorized vehicle, bringing along some basic equipment can be of great use. If you are traveling to your destination by vehicle, a portable workout kit can easily put together out of some/all of the items listed below.

This kit can be taken along anytime you take a trip to the mountains, camping or fishing. Even if you are backpacking, there are still a few lightweight and useful items that can be taken.

If Traveling By Vehicle:

    Adjustable Dumbbells With Plates:

      These can be purchased cheaply at just about any sporting goods store. A few plates can easily be stored in a box, or a heavy duty bag. 40-or-50 pounds of plates will take up about as much space as a bag of potato chips, and will certainly be more helpful! If you want to bring more along, don't hesitate to do so.

    Barbell or Broomstick:

      A barbell or a broomstick (with the broom part removed, of course) can be used with a partner for manual resistance exercises, or certain isometric exercises in some cases. If you bring along adjustable plates, these can be used with the barbell as well. You need not bring a 7-foot long, Olympic barbell. A 4-or-5 foot long, 1-inch thick barbell can still be handy.

    Heavy Duty Rope and Duct Tape:

      This can be attached to high hanging tree limbs, heavy logs or a part of a cabin in order to do a variety of exercises. A hanging rope can be used to do a variety of pull-ups. A rope attached to a heavy log can be used to simulate the resistance for T-Bar rows, shrugs or even bicep curls.

      I have even seen a person attach the ends of ropes to a 70-pound log, fashion ankle straps out of the other end, and do leg extensions and leg curls while sitting on the bed of his truck! With a bit of creativity, you can find a way to do numerous exercises with this.

      The duct tape can be used to tape several strands of rope together in order to fashion handles, ankle rests or even shoulder rests. Using heavy duty ropes and duct tape to fashion a portable workout kit can be an interesting project to do beforehand. If it works well, it can be stored in a compact, designated bag and used on all future trips. A kit like this can certainly make for an interesting workout.

    Hanging Ab Straps:

      These can be a part of the rope and duct tape kit. Ropes can be placed through the metal clips, and hung from a tree. They can also be attached to a heavy weight and used on the ankles to do leg extensions or leg curls! Again, creativity is key.

      View Hanging Ab Straps Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

    Gloves:

      Gripping onto ropes and branches can be far different from gripping even and relatively smooth barbells. A pair of workout gloves is lightweight, compact and easy to bring along.

      View Lifting Gloves Sorted By Top Sellers Here.

If You Are Traveling By Foot:

    If you are traveling by foot, such as in the case of a backpacking trips, the items you can take will be limited. You will be limited to compact and light weight itemd. There are a still a few items that can be useful. These rope handles can also be used when traveling to your destination by vehicle.

    High Strength Cord Or Rope:

      Compact cord that is strong enough to hold several hundred pounds can be purchased and brought along. Choose a cord with a listed tensile strength that is at least twice your body weight. This cord will be able to hang from tree limbs, or attached to a log to be used as a temporary weight. You will not be able to grip cord well, so you will need to make, or bring some sort of handle that can be attached.

    Rope Handles:

      These can be made in about 5 minutes with some heavy duty rope, and a roll of duct tape. They will be compact, light weight, and you will be able to use them in a variety of ways.

      You will be able to attach a rope to any tree limb or log, tie the ends to these handles, and you will have a weight with which you can do a variety of lifts! These are an excellent addition to any 'wilderness workout kit.' Here's how to make them:

      1. Take a length of rope that is 14-16 inches long. Place the ends of the rope together to make a circle.
      2. Now wrap a single piece of tape around these two touching ends in order to hold the ends together. You will now have a piece of rope in the shape of a circle.
      3. Now bring the part where the 2 ends meet across to the opposite side of the circle.
      4. Wrap the center thoroughly with duct tape, leaving a small eyelet at each end big enough to pass rope through. Continue wrapping with tape until the handle feels thick enough and comfortable in your hand.
      5. The rope can also be doubled to make a thicker handle.


Negative Activities
What Activities Will Have A Negative Impact On Your Normal Healthy Habits While Camping?

Bad Eating:

    This is probably the biggest one while on a trip in the mountains or woods. Nobody wants to cook while on a trip, and nobody wants to eat healthy, less tasty foods. As such, the most common foods tend to be ones like hot dogs, sandwiches, burgers and tons of unhealthy snack foods. There are still a few ways you can eat healthier, fairly easily while on such a trip.

    Choose Healthier Snack Foods:

      Choose a variety of fruits rather than chips, Cheetos and candy bars. Most people are much more accustomed to these junk foods, but fruits can be just as tasty, and healthier. Don't be afraid to bring a wide variety of fruits, including ones you have never tried before.

      Fruit juices can be just as delicious as soda, and also healthier. Even if your friends wind up going with the typical 24-pack soda and/or beer, you can easily throw in a few cartons of fruit juice blends. One of my favorite is a carrot, orange and pineapple blend that can be found at any supermarket.

      Some Healthier Food Ideas:

      • Instant Grains
      • Instant rice packets can be an easy, quick and tasty meal. These come in a variety of flavors. Instant oatmeal is quick, and relatively tasty. I can eat these every morning for a week with no problem. Some people may get sick of them quickly, though.

      • Protein Packets
      • Bring along some of your protein powder, and a shaker bottle. Mix this with juice or some milk, and you will have a fairly tasty shake that will help to meet your protein requirements. After all, hotdogs aren't exactly a quality source of protein.

        Use Our Protein Search Utility To Find Your Protein!

      • Canned Foods
      • Canned foods offer a convenient way to bring along many healthier foods, such as canned fruits and vegetables, or meats such as tuna. Bring along a basic spice kit in order to make these taste decent; they rarely do straight out of the can.

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Straight Outta The Can: Tuna Recipes. Straight Outta The Can: Tuna Recipes.
Tuna has long been a favorite protein source for bodybuilders, dieters and other athletes. Here are a few straight-outta-the-can recipes you can use to bring a little life into your next can of tuna!
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Drinking:

    Nothing kills your bodybuilding gains in a weekend more than a 24-pack of beer, along with that 24-pack of chip bags. It can be hard to limit yourself while sitting around the fire, eating snacks and roasting marshmallows. But nobody ever said bodybuilding was without sacrifices.

    If anything, at least try to spread your drinks out over the entire trip. 15 beers in one night is much worse than 15 beers over 2-or-3 days.

Drink'n
Click Image To Enlarge.
Drink'n In The Woods.
Not The Best Plan.


Injury
What Can You Do If You Are In The Mountains And Get Injured During These Activities?

The best thing to do is to prevent any injury or other first aid situation from happening in the first place. The majority of incidents that happen in the campsite, woods or backcountry happen because of carelessness, stupidity or lack of preparation. However, even with precautions, incidents still happen from time to time. If that happens, the two important steps are:

1. First Aid:

    It is important to bring a quality first aid kit along every time you take a trip into the woods or mountains. Invest in a good quality one, rather than a 99-cent kit from the local gas station; it may end up saving someone's life.

    Also useful is a booklet that gives first aid directions for the most common situations. It is easy to learn and forget proper procedures if you never have to use them. Having a guide book is much better than trying to remember what to do, or what not to do.

2. Following Up With Appropriate Professional Care:

    Sometimes, the person may need to be taken to a hospital. Other times, this may not be necessary. If it is necessary, it needs to be done right away. Sometimes, this may be as simple as putting them into the car and driving off. Other times, such as when backpacking, this can be difficult.

Some Basic Safety Guidelines To Follow:

    1. Always Carry Enough Water:

      I live within minutes of the Rocky Mountains, and I spend a lot of time during the summer doing activities in the mountains. It amazes me how many people go hiking, biking, rock climbing or fishing without bringing any water at all.

      Heat exhaustion and even heat stroke are real risks during these types of activities. Always bring plenty of water when going on hikes, biking excursions and nature walks away from camp. Salt tablets are also a good item to carry (to purify water).

    2. Drink Enough Water:

      Dehydration, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke are all too common in the summer outdoors. These things are bad enough in a populated area, but in the mountains, they can become life threatening. It is vitally important to consume enough water and electrolytes to prevent this.

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Many people underestimate the importance of water to the body. Many people think it is just a mom's tale, like you need to drink your milk. You could not be farther from the truth!
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    3. Let Someone Know Of Your Plans:

      It is always good practice to inform a trusted friend of your plans before heading out. Unless you plan to stay in a populated campsite, with running water and communication, this should be something that gets done every time. Let a trusted friend know where you are going, and how long you are going to be gone.

      There are numerous cases of individuals and groups heading off into the wilderness without telling anyone where they are going, getting injured and dying as a result. In many of these cases, it could have been avoided if they had told someone what they were doing.

    4. Always Bring A First Aid Kit:

      This one is a must. You never know when a first aid situation may arise. A high quality first aid kit can be purchased relatively inexpensively, and will last for a long time, if taken care of. If the need for it arises, having one could mean the difference between life and death.

More Tips To Prevent Injury:

    1. Use Hiking Boots:

      Hiking in tennis shoes isn't the smartest idea. I would know. Several years ago, when I first started getting into hiking, backpacking, and the lot, I did not own a pair of hiking boots. I was advised to get some, but being the athletic gym-goer I was, I was sure that I would not need them. By the time we were ready to leave camp, my ankle had been turned so many times I could barely stand.

      Get a good pair of hiking boots that fits well, and has good ankle support. Be sure to thoroughly break them before taking them hiking or backpacking. Wearing them around the house in an easy way to do this. Leather boots will need to be oiled from time to time.

    2. Wear The Right Socks:

      This one is important for preventing blisters. Most experienced hikers wear 2 layers of socks. The first layer is a thin, synthetic sock that fits snug around the foot. This keeps the outer sock from rubbing directly against and chafing the skin, which is the chief source of blisters. Only wearing cotton socks increases your chance of getting a painful blister 10-fold.

First Aid For Common Incidents:

    It is important to learn first aid skill when going into the mountains or back country. The best way is to get a book, and read through it regularly. Some courses are also useful in providing a level of hands on training. First aid skills get rusty quickly, so it is useful to include a first aid book in your kit, if it doesn't already have one.

    Broken Bones Or Fractures:

      If this happens, the person will need to be evacuated immediately. The limb will usually need to be immobilized at the joint with some sort of splint. Many common items can be used to splint a joint. A good first aid book will cover all the details of this process.

    Severe Cuts And Gashes:

      The first and most important step is to control the bleeding. This is best done with direct pressure. Get any piece of cloth, paper or clothing you can and apply firm, direct pressure to the wound. Pressure can also be applied by tightly wrapping a bandage around the wound. In this case, get the person to professional medical care as soon as possible.

    Hypothermia:

      This seems like something that would only happen in the cold, winter setting. However, it can still happen in the summer setting, primarily when the victim is wet. The signs are often subtle, and the victim may not be aware of their situation. The most common symptoms are uncontrollable shivering, and loss of color in the skin, loss of coordination and slurred speech.

      If you suspect hypothermia, it is important to move quickly. Remove all wet clothing, if there is any. Get the person to a source of external heat, if possible. It can get awkward, but share your body heat with them; strip down, hug it out and save your buddy's life. Also get them to drink a hot drink. Water is best. Avoid alcohol or caffeine. Even if the person becomes stable, a medical check-up can be a good idea.

    Heat Exhaustion:

      This is far too common in the summertime outdoor activity scene. In nearly all cases, this is easily preventable by consuming enough water and electrolytes. Common signs include heavy sweating, red skin, fatigue and drowsiness.

      If this is the case, have the person relax in a cool spot. Have them sip on cool water or a sports drinks. Loosen their clothing and apply cool, wet cloth to forehead and face. Monitor carefully. The condition could worsen, in which case medical care will be needed.

    Heat Stroke:

      This is basically advanced heat exhaustion, and can be life threatening. In this case, the body is no longer able to cool itself, and immediate measures must be taken to prevent the situation from becoming life threatening. A heat stroke victim's skin will be hot and dry. They have lost the ability to sweat. Fainting and unconsciousness are common. Other symptoms include a rapid heartbeat and rapid, shallow breathing.

      A heatstroke victim needs medical care as soon as possible. The person needs to immediately be moved out of the sun, into the coolest spot possible. Cool the person in anyway possible, including wet cloths, ice packs and fanning. Cool drinks should be given if they are conscious. Elevate the feet to decrease strain on the heart.

    Bee Stings and Snake Bites:

      Most people are not allergic to bee stings. However, if someone is allergic, a bee sting can be life threatening. Therefore, it is important for anyone who is allergic to have appropriate medication handy at all times.

      Venomous snakebites are different in the fact that everyone is allergic to them. If someone gets bitten by a snake, that person should get to medical care as soon as possible. Most common snakes are non-poisonous, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

      If you are bitten by a venomous snake, it is crucial that the venom does not reach the vital organs. Encourage bleeding, and avoid elevating the bitten limb. Stay as cool as possible, since panicking will increase heart rate.

      Good first aid kits for the backcountry will have a snakebite kit that contains medications, instructions and a suction device. Here is a Website that will help to identify common poisonous snakes.

      www.kcma.net/snakes/venomous_snakes.htm


Bonus
Have You Experienced A Situation Where You Or Someone You Know Was Injured And Needed Medical Assistance? How Did You Handle It?

Being an outdoor enthusiast, I have been in several scenarios where someone was injured, and needed attention. The most recent was a case of heat stroke at the end of last summer, during a day hike to a local mountain lake with 4 friends. One of the group members had not been drinking nearly enough water, and it was a hot day. At first, he simply started to lag behind a bit. Friends simply patted him on the back and said, "Come on, we're almost there. Plenty of time to rest at the lake."

Awhile later, he asked to stop and rest, for the 3rd time. Nobody noticed that anything was wrong until now. When we got up to start moving again, he collapsed, as if overcome by a spell of dizziness. He was still conscious, but there was barely any sweat on his skin. It was a mild heat stroke. I checked his water container, and he had barely touched it.

We got him into the shade, and removed his shirt. I immediately began to squirt water over his face and entire upper body. Another friend helped him sip some Gatorade mix. The water we had was fairly warm, so one of the group members went off to get cold water from creek we knew was nearby, to soak his clothes with.

After about 10 more minutes of cooling him off the best we could, myself, and one other began to carry him down the trail, since we did not want him to walk on his own. The other 2 followed with our packs.

We got him to the hospital, and he was fine. It is easy to panic in a first aid situation, and that is the first mistake. It is almost impossible to make a rational decision when you are panicking. Thankfully, all of us had first aid training, which helped greatly.

References:


2nd Place - eagles56
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

While on vacation in the summer months it's nice to get away to the mountains and relax to get away from city life. When there are no free-weights or machines around, one has to be creative to build or maintain an impressive physique. However, a lot of common bodyweight exercises and mountain activities can be enough to apply enough resistance to trigger muscle stimulation and growth or slim down.


Question
What Activities Lend Themselves To Giving The Best Workout While Camping In The Mountains?

Common Mountain Activities: (Which double as both strengthening or weight loss exercises)

  • Hiking - is the most common activity. It's free, simple and as challenging as one decides to make it. Hiking can also be part of a gruesome leg workout and the amazing views encountered make it even more worthwhile.
  • Biking - trail riding is a great way to burn extra calories and can also be incorporated into a leg routine.
  • Swimming - A full body exercise that's great for slimming, tanning and working on those slow-twitch muscle fibers.
  • Rock Climbing - a great upper body challenge that really works the forearms, arms, back and shoulders.
  • Kayaking/Canoeing/Rafting - another upper body exercise that also uses the arms.
  • Although the above are usually recreational activities, by shifting up the intensity they can pose a superior functional workout using the body in natural movements. Below are further examples of exercises that can challenge the body without the use of barbells and plates.

No Equipment Necessary Exercises:

    Chest:

      Push Ups

      This is a good exercise to build your upper body with. Push-ups should be part of everybody's workout regimen. It works your pectorals, triceps and anterior deltoid. For this exercise work up to high rep range and then add weight.

      Say one could only do 12 body weight push-ups, added weight isn't necessary until those rep ranges go up. Then start to add weight gradually with some standing next to you pushing down on your back (lightly or hard depending on strength).


Click Image To Enlarge.
Pushups.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

      Chest Dip

      This is another good exercise to develop and strengthen the pectorals, triceps and anterior deltoids.

      Be creative with whatever you have, and make sure you are safe doing it. A bad set-up can lead to instant injury, so be careful with how you set this up. A common mistake consists of using two chairs back to back. I suggest using a more solid base such as a railing.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Chest Dip.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

      Incline Push Ups

      A regular push-up with elevated feet on a bench, bed, chair, etc. This is a push-up variation that can be used or alternated with the classic push-up.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Incline Push Ups.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

    Back:

      Chin-Ups

      This is one of the best mass builders for the back. It develops the lats well, more so than most exercises, and can really build a nice back. Find a place were you can do these safely that is sturdy. If you can do these for a high amount of rep ranges then try changing up your grip or hold a weighted object between your feet or legs.

      Vince Gironda praised doing chin-ups to the sternum were better for developing mass than the classic, try switching it up once in a while or in conjunction with your normal back routine.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Chin-Ups.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

      Hyperextensions

      This exercise is good to strengthen the lower back. One to perform this exercise is on the edge of a bed or chair with you feet safely in place and won't fall out during the middle of the exercise. Make sure you do this exercise safely; it hurts to fall and could lead to injury. Try to hold your body in a straight position.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Hyperextensions.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

    Thighs/Legs:

      Squats

      An amazing quadriceps exercise. You don't always need to use weight. Go down deep and back up. To make things more difficult, try 1-Legged Squats on a staircase using the last few steps and holding the railing.


Click Image To Enlarge.
One Legged Squat.
Video: Windows Media - Real Player

      Sissy Squats

      This is another great exercise to develop the quadriceps. Be careful with this exercise and grab a hold of a sturdy structure to help support you through the movement. Unless you've done these before with good form, weight isn't necessary.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Sissy Squats.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

      Lunges

      Another quadriceps exercise that can be done anywhere. Just focus on getting low on this exercise and high repetition sets. Additional resistance can be added by holding jugs of water. Maintain a straight back parallel to the ground. Do not let your dropping knee touch the ground (aim for a 90-degree bend) and make sure your opposite knee does not pass in front of your toes.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Lunge.
Video: Windows Media - Real Player

      Glute-Ham Raise

      This exercise is really good for developing the hamstrings. You will need something strong to support you on this exercise, basically like a hyperextension, but you curl your leg when you go up.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Glute-Ham Raise.
Video: Windows Media - Real Player

      Straight-Leg Deadlift

      This exercise is a little more difficult. You will probably need to add some resistance with it when performing it. Always keep your lower back straight through this whole movement. Holding a broom or large tree branch can be used to make this more difficult.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Straight-Leg Deadlift.
Video: Windows Media - Real Player - Video iPod

    Deltoids:

      Upside-Down Shoulder Press (Wall push-ups)

      Stand up against a wall and do a handstand, it helps to have a spotter. When starting, place books under your head and go until your hair brushes them, as you get better, remove the books and work on getting your arms to a 90-degree angle or until your head touches the ground.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Upside-Down Shoulder Press (Wall Push Ups).
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

    Biceps:

      Chin-Ups

      This hits the biceps as well, good mass builder that some don't realize. The closer the grip the better and stressing a slow concentric or eccentric will keep tension on the biceps.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Chin-Ups.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

    Triceps:

      Bench Dips

      Basic exercise that builds the triceps. Good for mass and strength. Set-up two chairs, beds, tables etc and do dips, do not let your knees get lower than your feet.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Bench Dips.
Video: Windows Media - Real Player

    Abdominals:

      Crunches

      Just a basic crunch is all you need to work your abdominals. Twist to the side to work the obliques and hold for a few seconds for a greater challenge.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Crunches.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

    Calves:

      Calf Raises

      Do calf raises on a step or block that is sturdy and vary your stance from toes pointed in, out or straight forward. To work the soleus more, lock your knees. For a greater challenge, hold something in your hands.


Calf Raises.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

Sample Routine:

    Monday/Wednesday/Friday [Full Body]

    • One-Legged Squats; 3 sets, max reps
    • Sissy Squats; 2 sets, max reps
    • Lunges; 2 sets, max reps
    • Glute Ham Raise; 3 sets, max reps
    • Calf Raises; 3 sets, max reps
    • Push ups; 3 sets, max reps
    • Chest Dips; 3 sets, max reps
    • Chin ups; 3 sets, max reps
    • Wall Push up; 3 sets, max reps
    • Slow Chin up; 3 sets, max reps
    • Bench Dips; 3 sets, max reps
    • Hyperextension; 3 sets, 45sec hold
    • Crunches; 3 sets, max reps
    • Hiking/Biking
    • Kayaking/Swimming
    • Rock Climbing
    • print Click Here For A Printable Log Of This Sample Routine.


Question
What Activities Will Have A Negative Impact On Your Normal Healthy Habits While Camping?

When most people go camping or on a trip they throw nutrition out the window and indulge, binging and drinking for prolonged periods of time. While camping it's much easier to bring pre-packaged junk food than to spend some time in the kitchen to prepare healthy meals.

A cheat day once in a while won't shatter months of progress, but over-eating sugar-loaded junk food will lead to extra calories that pack on unwanted pounds.

Another activity that vacation-goers participate in consists of the laid-back, lazy lifestyle of a couch potato. Although sitting outside enjoying the view isn't a bad thing, sitting around and refraining from exercise in general is common in today's society.

While taking a break from the usual routine, not all physical activity should be forgotten. Point: don't sit around on vacation, get up and go for a walk or jog and stay somewhat active to maintain a nice physique.


Question
What Can You Do If You Are In The Mountains And Get Injured During These Activities?

First off, one should always have company or "a spotter" throughout activities not only for companionship but also in the event of some untold misfortune. However, these conditions aren't always available and one should be prepared for anything.

A safety kit consisting of a whistle, small flare gun, waterproof rain jacket, a small pan for boiling water, a packaged source of food, water-proof matches, gauze, bandages, tweezers, a pocketknife, a water-proof flashlight, and perhaps some durable rope are a good idea to carry along in case of certain disaster.

This type of safety kit shouldn't be large and could easily fit in the bottom of a backpack amongst an excess of snacks, food and water. These precautionary measures should assist in attracting rescue, building shelter, tending to wounds and warding off starvation in a worst-case scenario.


Bonus
Have You Experienced A Situation Where You Or Someone You Know Was Injured And Needed Medical Assistance? How Did You Handle It?

Although I have not personally experienced a situation where medical assistance for myself, I've been around many people injured in my rugby playing pass-time. The key is to maintain a level head and not to panic. Try to stop any blood flow as soon as possible to get a clear view of the injury itself so that the injury can be assessed more accurately.

Once a wound is elevated/ banded accordingly, one should search for professional aid. I believe that I handled myself well and I owe that to remaining calm until things were contained appropriately.


What Activities Give The Best Workout While In The Mountains?

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