Hiking is a big part of Natural Training Center. We enjoy being at one with Nature and we participate in many outdoor activities; But the one
that tends to lead the pack for us is hiking. Hiking is fun and it is something that almost anyone can do instantly, even if they have never hiked before. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are hiking efficiently and deterring preventable injuries.
Over the years I have led everyone from cub scouts to United States Marines on hikes. As you can imagine, the focus and mission vary greatly but the one thing that remains the same is the need for proper locomotive mechanics.
Within the NTC Method, we follow the motto of being “Always Prepared!” In order to make that a reality while on our hikes, we carry our packs. Depending on what our challenge or mission is for the hike, the weight of our packs adjust accordingly. But as many of you may know, even a 10lb basic pack can wreak havoc on you body while on a multiple hour hike. Once we add in some other forms of movement while hiking such as pulling, pushing, jumping and climbing.. Our 10lb pack now feels like it weighs 80lbs! What is the biggest culprit when it comes to facilitating this “torture?”
Answer: Improper Form While Hiking!
Kettlebells are another facet of the NTC Method. What I would like to do here is to share 3 kettlebell drills that will help you solidify your form for hiking. The kettlebell is unforgiving when it comes to bad form so it pretty much, let’s you know instantly when your form is off.
Let’s go over these 3 kettlebell drills.
Drill #1: Use the kettlebell rack walk to help with your alignment. We want to be tall and long with our spine while hiking, especially with a pack on. We also want to keep our core activated and our hips forward. The rack walk coupled with out reset pose (explained in the video below) will convey those points over to you quickly.
Drill #2: Use the kettlebell squat to hammer in the mechanics of proper mid-foot drive. When hiking, especially with resistance such as a pack, we want to feel the ground. Approaching the ground with our mid-foot as opposed to our toes or heels gives us much more stability and keeps our weight centered. This does not only aide your form but it also reduces injuries to ankles, knees and toes because of the added stability in your step.
Drill #3: Use the kettlebell swing to develop the mechanics of keeping your hips forward. When we begin to fatigue while hiking, we tend to relax our hips. When we add the resistance of our packs, this causes a lot of pressure on our lower backs. This isn’t only painful and tends to get worse with each step, but it also leaves you prone to serious back injury. The kettlebell swing will teach you to keep your hips forward with good, tall alignment. That is just the tip of the iceberg as far kettlebell swings helping you with attributes needed for hiking. We could devote a full, lengthy blog post to that subject alone and I may just write it up in the near future.
Below is a tutorial explaining the 3 drills in a bit more detail. One of our goals at NTC is to get people outdoors. Once we accomplish that first step, we need to do all that we can to keep the members of our Tribe outdoors and making it a part of their lifestyle.
-developing attributes as well as preparedness skills
-coupled with experience,
-add a heavy dose of FUN!
That recipe tends to work every time!
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