Trail running is a kind of mix between hiking and free running, and generally the idea is that you hurtle through the woods like some kind of Sonic the Hedgehog fan on too much red bull while jumping across ravines and scrambling up ledges. Proponents of course point out that this kind of exercise is very similar to what we would have done once upon a time in the wild when we would have spent most of our days tracking animals through forests and other locations.
Meanwhile there’s the obvious practical benefits of being able to run on a soft surface where you aren’t going to damage your kneecaps, and of being outdoors getting fresh air and sunlight. Then of course there’s the added bonus of being able to run through woods or other locations that are actually interesting and where you will see different things and get to explore and that will basically mean that you are far more likely to be motivated to go out there and train rather than just putting it off and avoiding it.
But why stick to just running when you’re in the woods when you can get a full workout this way and turn it into some kind of amazing assault course? Here we will look at how to do a great trail running workout.
How to do the Workout
The idea is that you are going to use the woods almost as an assault course and this means that you are going to run through it and use different items that you find as stations that you can work out with. So for instance you might use trees or logs or another item.
This is going to be a mostly CV related workout as you are going to be running and that means it will be used mostly to tone muscle and burn fat. As such you can train all your different muscle groups with a full body workout.
The idea is to keep your heart rate up and to keep pushing yourself, so keep moving from station to station and don’t pause in between. To keep up the pace you won’t be able to do sets and reps and you’ll have to move quickly from station to the next, which is why I recommend doing large numbers of repetitions for each station (twenty-thirty).
Here are some examples of ways that you can make ‘stations’ out of things you would find in your typical forest environment.
Tree Branch Pull Ups
Of course you can use a tree branch anywhere to do pull ups and this is a very simple and easy way to exercise. Simply jump up and catch a tree branch and then do pull ups. You can also use this to do chin ups of course, leg raises, around the worlds, muscle ups and more – and it will probably be a large part of your training in the woods.
A log is an idea item to be lifted and press either over your shoulders or while lying flat on the ground. Of course they come in all shapes and sizes so the level of difficulty is going to vary accordingly. You can also curl logs if they happen to lend themselves to being gripped tightly without being too light.
Tree Stump Jumps
Heard of box jumps? These are explosive movements where you jump on and off of a box in order to build explosive power in the leg muscles and to develop the fast twitch muscle fibers. This is just the same thing – only using a handily placed tree stump instead.
Dips can be done between any two parallel bars – and this can be achieved on any forking tree branch that’s strong enough to take your weight. I do mine hanging over a river so there’s an added incentive not to give up and drop…
Log dips meanwhile are tricep dips on a faller log. You can make this harder by doing one armed dips too.
You can also do any kind of calisthenics here from press ups to sit ups. Just find some soft grass and you can use these to break up your workout if you haven’t found anything recently.
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