If you’re needing to improve your fitness for hiking, training with a weighted backpack on stairs is an excellent choice. In this video, created for one of my Mountaineering Fitness Programs, I demonstrate a simple routine of stair walking while wearing a lightly weighted backpack. Some things to consider before you attempt adding this into your own fitness routine are listed here.
Video: Training with a Weighted Backpack on Stairs
First of all, before you put on a backpack loaded with any weight, be sure you are able to walk the stairs without one. This almost goes without saying, but you’d be surprised at how some people want to run before they can walk.
Next, make sure the backpack you’ve selected works well with the motions of walking both up and down stairs. You don’t want the bag flopping around on your back, especially if the weight in the bag is an appreciable percentage of your weight. 10% or more is plenty of weight to start “The Tail Wagging the Dog” as they say.
If your stairs are outside, like these are, be sure that they are safe for use for training. This includes water, oil, or other slippery surfaces or coatings. Be careful of critters like mice, squirrels, unicorns and the like.
For most people, about 20 steps is a good number of stair treads for training. If the stairs are too short there are too many stops to turn around and it bogs down training quite a bit. More than 20 is fine, but if you want a more HITT-like session of weighted backpack training, 20 makes for a good sprint up, and great rest returning to the bottom slowly.
If You’re New to Weighted Backpack Stair Training
Start slow, without very much weight. See what you are able to recover from depending on your fitness goals. You might progress to sprinting up the stairs with 20% of your bodyweight in that pack. You might just walk up and down with your lunch in your pack. Each of us is in a different place.
Be sure to check out the other articles in the Weighted Backpack Training series.