Great question! I have to say that for me personally, it's yoga all the way. I know there are probably hundreds of great answers to this question but for me, the stretch and range of motion involved in yoga really helps prepare my body for the inevitable stiffness I feel when waking up on backpacking trips. Depending on what type you practice, yoga can be pretty weigh-bearing too (side plank with one leg in the air, i feel that burn!).
I tend to favor more intense flow practices when I am gearing up for a trip, and stick with a floor based session like yin for a few days after any major endurance activity. I'll have to look up pistol squats and see about adding those to my pre-trip routine too. Thanks for the idea!
@REI-RachelR I just did a Power Yoga For Climbers class at my local gym and it really was great. Sometimes the rewards of one class vs. just climbing are tangible, but it is so hard to give up a day of actual climbing.
I love cross-training, and I'm always looking at new exercises as well. A personal trainer or professional could speak to your specific body needs for strength-building but here is what I like to do! For backpacking and lower body strength I do a bunch of hip and glute exercises. I do single-leg exercises (like pistol squats), single-leg deadlifts, single-leg bridges, and almost every variation of lunges. Hip and glute muscles- oh my! For core, my favorite exercises are hanging leg lifts and supermans. The hanging knee lift is a good variation until you build up the strength. Always follow good form, and keep up all the playing outside!
Stretching to develop flexibility is important. I personally like back step lunges with weight. I think these are more beneficial for building strength to carry a pack than pistol squats.
I mix it up with a combination of exercises. I take 1 or 2 gentle yoga classes each week for the stretching and flexibility. A pilates class, at least once a week, for core strengthing. I lift weights, at least once a week, doing mostly upper body exercises. I do some some lower body exercises but, not as much. In addition, I hike at least 4 to 5 times a week and work with a Functional Physical Instructor, once a week. She's great. She helps me to work out any aches, pains, or tensions I might have from my activites, the past week.
Totally disagree with briano. And define “core”. You’re much better off doing progressions of front and side planks, bridge progressions and one-legged work on an unstable surface. If you go out of breath by doing trad bodybuilding exercises (and you will), you’re building fast-twitch muscle fiber and you won’t do squat (pun intended) for your “core”.
I wouldn’t do any strength or power training unless you’ve had a biomechanical check-up with a trained sports chiropractor, physical therapist or strength and conditioning coach. Your form needs to be perfect. Before you even consider strength training, you need joint symmetry, full range of motion, stable joints, and the ability to perform static and dynamic joint stability exercises. And you definitely don’t need a gym.
@WalkWithTheDocThat is a lot of bro science man... yes you need to focus on form, but if you start light and work on form you will build into all those weird phrases you used. Thousands of people have started on 5x5 or PPL or other beginner strength programs on their own with no knowlege of symetry and whatever else. Honestly, most sports chiros or PT's ect will find "issues" that you need to keep visiting them for. Start light and work on form, build weight, if something doesn't feel right stop. If you can not progress because of a issue then see a specialist.