Getting core-strong for your next guided walk

Mar 18, 2022

On any pack-free guided walk you need a basic level of fitness. You’re not hiking up the Himalayas with a hefty pack but you will encounter hills and possibly a bit of rockhopping and this is when you need your core strength.

Many of you may think of your core as strong, toned abs, but abdominal muscles are only part of the story. Experts refer to the core as the many different muscles that run the entire length of the torso.

When these muscles contract, they stabilise the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle and create a solid base of support. Just think of the torso as the body’s centre of power and you’ll understand what we’re getting at.

The core muscles make it possible to stand upright and move on two feet. These muscles help control movements, transfer energy, shift body weight and move in any direction.

So with this I’m mind check out these eight core strength exercises that will make your next pack-free guided walk even more pleasurable!


Side plank The side plank requires a bit more balance but is another great core strength exercise. If you’re really keen you can do all three plank exercises to really work your core.

Bicycle abs Lie face up and place your hands behind your head, lightly supporting it with your fingers. Bring the knees in to the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the floor without pulling on the neck. Rotate to the left, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee as you straighten the other leg. Switch sides, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee.

Standing calf raises This can be done with one or both feet. The exercise is performed by raising the heel as far as possible. As with squats, weights are commonly included in the exercise but it’s also effective with body weight alone. Balance may become a difficulty with free-standing calf raises, especially on one leg, so use your walking pole as support.

Squats Squats are considered a vital exercise for increasing the strength and size of the legs and buttocks, as well as developing core strength. Squats work the muscles of the thighs, hips and buttocks, quads and hamstrings, as well as strengthening the bones, ligaments and insertion of the tendons throughout the lower body.

Lying straight leg raises This is another great ab exercise. Start with raising each straight leg alternately and then move on to raising both legs at the same time. It’s a help to have your hands on the ground, by your side.

Foot drop-offs Physios give this exercise to people who are recovering from injured knees, ankles and calves. Great for your balance and your core, the goal is to get your raised heel as low as possible to the ground. However, it’s important your hips remain parallel to the ground and not leaning to one side.

Elbow plank The plank works your entire core. Lie down on your stomach. Lift your body off the floor with your forearms (elbows at 90°) and your toes. Keep your body in a straight position (without arching your back) and hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Lift one foot in the air for added difficulty.

Superman This is great for both stretching and strengthening your lower back. The first part of the exercise is to raise both arms and legs like you’re playing Superman. From there you can alternate arms and legs i.e left arm, right leg raised and then right arm, left leg raised. Each hold should last three seconds.

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