Can Hiking Replace Leg Day? (Read This First)

Can Hiking Replace Leg Day

If you are considering hiking, you are referring to an activity involving working out with the entire body. 

Hiking is also a recreational activity and natural exercise that promotes physical fitness. To answer the question that makes our topic, you must first consider different factors.

These factors will help you see which activity list you are to piece your hiking to or whether it’s a relatively acceptable replacement for a leg day.

Hiking offers many benefits like leg day and may even replace leg day if your goal is building endurance for your legs and core. However, if the goal is developing leg muscle, then you need a leg day rather than a standard hiking routine. Leg day focuses on developing the lower body.

As we progress within this article, we will see if hiking can count as leg day, how big legs get from hiking, what a good substitute for leg day is, and whether hiking is enough for your legs.

Does Hiking Count as Leg Day?

Can Hiking Replace Leg Day

There is no magic to a leg day, and you don’t have to do just one particular exercise.

Likewise, hiking involves doing different activities simultaneously and can also build leg endurance.

Today is “leg day,” when you dedicate your gym time to strengthening your lower body. These include your thighs, glutes, and calves.

On leg day, you’ll focus solely on exercises that strengthen and stretch your thighs, hips, and buttocks. Squats, deadlifts, and yoga are typical examples of such routines. 

The intensity of leg day may exercise off-putting, but its many benefits are well worth the effort.

Below are different factors that, if you consider them, will make hiking count as a leg day;

#1. It Burns a Lot of Body Calories

The muscles of your legs are the largest in your body. Therefore, when training legs, you expend more energy (calories) than when training a smaller muscle group, such as the shoulders.

Box jumps, for instance, strengthen your legs, glutes, and abs. And among the many advantages of doing leg exercises is the increased caloric expenditure.

The good news is that hiking is also a fantastic weight loss method. It works for the largest muscle group and supports muscles like leg day.

Hiking is an excellent substitute for leg day if shedding pounds is a top priority. In addition, your lower abdominal muscles will benefit from hiking. 

#2. Building Lower Abs

To have perfect or near-perfect packs, you need two things:

  • Strong ab muscles
  • Minimal fat deposits

Contrary to popular belief, exercising your legs during a workout might assist you in developing your abs.

In addition, it burns many calories, contributing to a reduced body fat percentage.

As a bonus, compound exercises are great for building a solid core. You can strengthen your abs while trekking.

In the same way that working out your legs burns calories, working out your abs does the same. So hiking is an excellent alternative to leg day if you’re trying to get a six-pack.

#3. A Reasonable Form of Cardio

Performing leg exercises is a fantastic cardio routine. Because the term “cardio” is commonly used to refer to any physical activity that challenges the heart muscle.

For those who trained their legs correctly, there is a feeling of their heart springing from their chest after a particularly challenging squats session.

It is for this exact reason hiking is a fantastic cardiovascular workout. 

In addition, hiking is an excellent substitute for running if your goal is to enhance your cardiovascular fitness by strengthening your legs.

#4. Good Resistance on Muscle

The ability to rapidly add more weight as training progresses is a critical factor in the success of weight training.

Muscle growth and strength are a direct result of increased resistance from lifting heavier weights.

On the other hand, training with your body weight makes it difficult to raise the resistance because you are only using your body and gravity as the force.

Even though hiking doesn’t involve weights, you can increase the resistance. The trick is to look for more challenging slopes or steeper hills to walk on.

The more exertion required to climb a hill, the more force the legs apply. So, if you’re hiking up steep slopes, you can build some leg muscle while you’re at it.

Nevertheless, one excellent reason why you cannot be able to count hiking as leg day is its repetitive nature.

#5. Repetitive Nature

There are so many ways to approach leg day. It is one of its many benefits.

You can work muscles in various ways during lunges than squats, which work in different ways during activities like box jumps.

You’re using the maximum number of muscle fibers, which is the best way to increase your leg strength and size.

When hiking, on the other hand, your legs perform the same motion repeatedly. Since it involves using fewer muscle fibers, growth in the legs is a stunt.

Can You Get Big Legs From Hiking?

Considering that hiking means taking a walk on challenging terrain, I am sure it is no surprise to you that hiking mainly targets your legs and glute muscles.

While hiking, you most likely involve the hamstring and quadriceps muscles that support the knees while moving.

The pair of muscles provide strength for the point where both the thighs and hips meet. And your ankles keep gaining strength with each heel-to-toe movement.

However, the truth is as much as hiking targets the legs helping them to develop endurance. It does not cause the growth of the muscles that make the legs big.

What Can I Do Instead of Leg Day?

It is necessary to state that you cannot replace leg day. It is like a particular day that stands out from every other gym day.

You may wonder, what’s the point of having a day dedicated to your legs? They are the driving force behind many of your favorite pastimes. They’re the fuel that keeps you going all day.

Those individuals who favor upper-body strength training or full-body exercise should also pay special attention to their legs.

Below is a table that shows the exercises you can perform for a leg day and hiking;

Leg DayHiking 
Front squatStep-ups
Back squatStairmaster 
Lateral lungesDownhill lunges
Reverse lunges Kettlebell deadlift 
Walking lungesGoblet squats
Romanian deadliftHanging knee raises 

Is Hiking Enough Exercise For the Legs?

One of the best parts of going on a trek or hike is the leg exercise you get from ascending a steep hill or mountain and going down at the end. 

When it comes to strengthening your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, going up and down a mountain repeatedly will help exercise the legs.

It would help if you did the following to improve your leg’s development during hiking;

  • Climb steep hills or mountains.
  • Wear appropriate shoes.
  • Take a backpack with basic needs.

#1. Climbing Steep Hills or Mountain

As I said earlier, your legs will experience more resistance the steeper the hill or mountain you’re hiking up.

For the same reason, your leg muscles and strength will improve. It’s preferable to start at the bottom and work your way up.

However, if your legs could be more muscular, starting on a gentler slope might be best until you bulk out.

#3. Wear Appropriate Shoes

Hiking is an activity where the last thing you need is to harm yourself due to slick surfaces caused by wearing the wrong shoes.

If you don’t want to hurt yourself or get blisters, invest in a good pair of hiking boots.

#4. Take a Backpack With Basic Needs

Water and snacks are essential when climbing up a mountain because you could be out there for some time.

You can receive the added benefit of resistance training by carrying these in a backpack, increasing the effort exerted on your legs (and more muscle growth).


When it comes to building muscle, hiking can not replace leg day. But it can be very effective in building endurance for the legs.

Hiking can count as leg day if it;

  • Burns calories
  • Build lower abs.
  • Serve as a form of cardio. 
  • Establishes good resistance in muscle.

Finally, you can only get big legs from hiking and replace a leg day.

Josh Matthews

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *