Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ >”,”name”:”in-content-cta”,”type”:”link”}}”>Sign up for Outside+ today.

Your back is a big help to when you’re out on the trails as well as helping you carry your gear, the muscles help stabilize your core and aid in maintain your balance, preventing slips and falls. A sprain to your back is the fastest way to turn an otherwise pleasant hike an unnerving, fist-clenching, difficult experience.

How can you fight it? The idea of reducing your weight is a great start. After all the more weight you’re carrying on your body, the more strain your body is putting on it. However, incorporating back-strengthening exercises in your daily routine is even more beneficial. By strengthening the load-bearing, stabilizing muscles of your back prior to your hike, you will relieve the stress of old injuries and help prevent the emergence of new ones.

For more information we could help, we turned to Mountain guide and personal coach Jason Antin, who shared the exercises for strengthening your back in the Six Weeks to Trail Fit course on Outside Learn. Below, Jason demonstrates three exercises to help strengthen your back. (Is your interest piqued? Outside+ members have access to the full course today.)

One-Legged Romanian Deadlifts

In addition to instructing you to bring your lower back to stay in place under pressure and to maintain balance, this weight-bearing exercise can strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, which are both important for hikers.

Bird Dogs

This non-weight exercise can strengthen your core muscles and helps ease lower back discomfort from long hours carrying a bag.


This easy exercise will strengthen your lower back glutes, hamstrings and glutes. This is also an excellent alternative to abdominal exercises such as exercises like crunches and Russian twists.