Conditioning Workout for People Who Like To Paddle, Camp and Hike

I love the outdoors. Camping, Hiking, Paddling and everything in between. As I’ve gotten older, I needed a conditioning program that would allow me to continue to do what I love and allow me to be out there longer and feel better while doing it. I am neither an elite class paddler, nor am I professional athlete. I’m just a guy who loves being in the outdoors exploring everything nature has to offer. I  want to see what is over the next hill or around the next bend in the river, and when I get there, still have enough energy left to enjoy it.

About 6 months ago, I asked my friend and fitness expert Ty  to design a conditioning program for people like me who are outdoor enthusiasts.  A program that would be good for paddlers, hikers and campers alike. I told him I was not training for a specific event or competition, I only wanted to improve my overall conditioning. I also gave him some special stipulations that the program would have to comply with.

  1. Be simple to do
  2. Could be done almost anywhere
  3. Would not require a gym membership or purchasing expensive equipment.

This is the program he came up with.  This program is designed to enhance strength and strength endurance as well as cardiovascular health which is what a recreational paddler/ hiker/ camper needs for a day/ days on the water or on the trail. As an added bonus, the suspension trainer allows you to increase or decrease the resistance to your strength levels by simply moving your feet forward or backward. I have been doing this in addition to my weekly outdoor adventures for the last six months and it has made a huge difference.

The program is broken down into 2 sections: 1. Strength/ Strength Endurance and 2.Cardiovascular Endurance. 


Frequency: Complete each workout at least once per week on non consecutive days and train no more than three times per week.


1. Strength Workout: Equipment needed. Suspension Trainer

I chose this Suspension trainer because all I need is a door way to make it work.

Pick one exercise from each group: 

The goal is to complete 4 sets of 25 repetitions of each exercise before moving on to the next level.

Lower Body Group:

Level : Beginner – Squats (use the handles for balance and push through your heels)

Ty demonstrating the squat


Level : Intermediate : – Squat + Lunges (Do one squat then one lunge with each leg, repeat)


Level : Advanced – Squat + Lunge + Pistol Squat (Do one squat then one lunge and one pistol squat with each leg, repeat)



Upper Body Pulling Group:

Level : Beginner  – Inverted Row + Deltoid Fly (Do one fly for every four rows)


Level : Intermediate  – Inverted Row + Deltoid Fly + Curl – (make sure to keep arms straight out in front of you)


Level : Advanced 3 – Single Arm Inverted Row + Single ArmDeltoid Fly + Single Arm Curl


Upper Body Pushing Group:

Level : Beginner – Push up/ Modified Pushup


Level : Intermediate – Chest Press + Chest Fly – (Do one fly for every four presses.)



Level : Advanced  – Push up + Chest Press + Chest Fly (Complete 25 pushups then do one fly for every four rows aiming for a goal of 25 total reps.


Core Group:

Level : Beginner  – Sit-up


Level : Intermediate  – Sit up + Plank) (complete 25 sit-ups followed by 30 seconds of plank)


Level : Advanced – Twisting Pushup + Plank (45 seconds) + Rotational Plank (30 seconds each side)


Challenge: After you have gotten used to the advanced training, challenge your self to complete each advanced exercise one after another without rest for four complete sets of 25 repetitions


2. Cardiovascular Endurance Workout:  Equipment Needed –  Trekking Poles.

Nordic Walking is walking with trekking poles. It utilizes all of the major muscle groups and is a great low impact cardio workout, it also helps with full body conditioning. It can be done on almost any terrain any time of the year.

The trick to Nordic Walking is to really push off with your arms and legs on each step that way you are utilizing the muscle groups in your upper body as well as the ones in your lower body.

*******Make sure your trekking poles are set to where your elbows are at 90 degrees.


It will take a little time to get comfortable with the motion, so don’t push it in the beginning until you are comfortable.




Level : Beginner –  Train for time, not distance: 30 minutes  with 6 intervals.

Warmup –  Walk for five minutes at normal waling speed without poles

Interval 1 – Walk at normal walking speed with poles for 4 minutes, quick speed for one minute.

Interval 2 –  Repeat Interval 1

Interval 3 –  Repeat Interval 1

Interval 4 – Walk at normal speed for two minutes, quick speed for two minutes.

Interval 5 –  Cool down: walk for five minutes at normal walking speed without poles.


Level : Intermediate –  Training time –  45 minutes with 8 intervals

Warmup –  walk for five minutes without poles; 3 minutes at normal walking speed, two minutes at quick speed.

Interval 1 – Walk with poles for 2.5 minute at normal speed then 2.5 minutes at quick speed.

Interval 2 –  Repeat interval 1

Interval 3 –  Repeat interval 1

Interval 4 –  Repeat interval 1

Interval 5 –  Repeat interval 1

Interval 6 – Walk at normal speed for 1 minute, then at quick speed for 4 minutes.

Interval 7 – Cool down: walk without poles at normal walking speed for 5 minutes.


Level : Advanced – Training time – 60 minutes

Warmup – walk with poles at normal walking speed for 5 minutes

Interval 1 –  Walk with poles at normal walking speed for 2 minutes then at quick speed for 7 minutes, then walk at slower than normal speed for one minute.

Interval 2 –  Repeat Interval 1

Interval 3 – Repeat Interval 1

Interval 3 –  Repeat Interval 1

Interval 4 –  Walk at normal walking speed for 1 minute then at quick speed for 9 minutes.

Interval 5 – Walk with poles at normal speed for 3 minutes then walk at a slower speed for two minutes.


Challenge: After you have become comfortable with the advanced intervals. measure the distance you travel during your workout and challenge yourself to cover the same distance in less time.


This is a conditioning program you can utilize year around, in almost any place and the equipment required is small, inexpensive and portable which means you can take it with you whenever you travel allowing you to continue your training where ever you are. It has made a world of difference for me and thats why I’m sharing it with you.


Find your headwaters,


Jaucque, Dave and Ty
























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