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Get Ready, Get Set, Hike
Part 2 of 2
By: Jackie Wright

The core should be strong and stable enough to provide balance and muscle coordination to the body to ensure a successful hiking experience. Consequently, integrate core stability and balance training into your hiking preparation by utilizing fitness tools such as the fit ball and BOSU trainer.

Fit Ball Roll Outs (works the core and abdominals)*

  • Begin on your knees laying your abdomen on top of a 65cm fit ball with your hands on the other side of the ball on the floor so the ball is underneath you.
  • Pull your navel toward your spine, relax your shoulders away from your ears, and keep your buttocks tightly clenched.
  • Roll forward on the ball until your thighs are resting on top of the ball above the knees and your hands are on the floor holding your body in a plank position.
  • The entire body should be parallel to the floor with only your hands in contact with the floor. Your arms remain motionless with the shoulders directly over the wrist joint throughout the exercise.
  • Pull your knees up toward your chest (i.e. pubic bone to breast bone), so that your buttocks "pike" up toward the ceiling.
  • Then, roll your body back to the beginning plank position maintaining a neutral spine throughout.
  • Never permit your lower back to hyperextend or let your abdomen "hang" down toward the floor.
  • Perform this exercise two to three times per week, two to three slow sets of 8-12 repetitions.

*Fit Ball Roll Outs may not be appropriate for some individuals with shoulder, back or severe balance limitations. Check with your physician first if you fall into those categories.

BOSU trainer (works the core focusing upon stability and balance)

  • Step onto a BOSU trainer with both feet on top (i.e. on the "bull's eye") and find your balance by keeping your eyes fixed forward, your shoulders rotated back and down, your rib cage lifted, your navel pulled toward your spine and your buttocks clenched.
  • Keeping the right foot on top, tap the ball of the left foot onto the floor to the left side of the BOSU and then bring that foot back on top of the BOSU and tap the ball of the right foot on the floor on the right side of the BOSU, then bring that foot back on top of the BOSU, maintaining your balance throughout.
  • If you begin to loose your balance, simply walk off the BOSU to the floor and begin again.
  • Repeat this sequence as many times as possible in 30-second intervals of left/right foot taps with a 15-second break in-between, two to three sets, two to three times per week.

Tips for safe and fun trail hiking:

  • Make certain you have been preparing for several weeks prior to hiking by following the tips in this two-part series.
  • Add a light backpack during your training regimen to prepare for steeper hills and heavier packs.
  • Hike at your level of expertise and fitness level.
  • Make certain you have warmed up prior to hiking.
  • Bring water and snacks.
  • Wear good hiking boots or shoes.
  • Dress in layers and bring waterproof outerwear.
  • Bring a first aid kit/sunscreen/sunglasses/hat.
  • Bring a flashlight/matches/fire starter/ Swiss Army knife or something comparable.
  • Bring signaling devices and hike with a friend.
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