USING HIKES TO GET FIT


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The following workout routine should only be attempted by those Future Jarheads who wish to separate themselves from their peers and not by those who enjoy nature walks or long quiet walks on the beach.

It is important you understand that doing humps before boot camp is not necessary. For those of you who are more hard-core and very self-motivated and who wish to better yourselves both mentally and physically, then humps are the best way to go about it.

Humps are a huge mental challenge and if you can conquer this challenge now before you ship out, you will be much better prepared for not only boot camp, but for what comes after it as well. When it comes time to do humps in boot camp, your mind and body will be somewhat use to them while those who never practiced one prior to boot camp will be filled with fear, anxiety, doubt, and all sorts of other odd feelings.

I cannot stress this point enough. The type of strength you need to succeed as a Marine/recruit and the type of toughness that will benefit you the most as a recruit and Marine and as a civilian can be acquired by doing humps in the manner that is shown here.

There is a huge misconception that you must carry a lot of weight in order to get a good workout when doing hikes/humps and that you must hump many miles in order to benefit the most from humps. This is not true the same way that running great distances isn’t really necessary to prepare you for boot camp or the USMC.

Humps are the best way to build character and to toughen up anyone from the inside out, and it prepares you mentally big time only if you stick to your routine. If you follow the following advice, then you will be better prepared for not only boot camp, but for whatever comes after and it will also toughen your ass up both mentally and physically, this I guarantee you.

Keep in mind you can do some variations of what I describe here, but the core of the workout is what you do not want to change in order for it to have the greatest impact on you. And even if your job will not be infantry, you still can benefit from this routine. Just because your job is not infantry, you still will be doing several humps while in boot camp, and while at MCT and many of you will end up in an infantry unit and will have to do more humps during your enlistment.

  • To practice humps, you want to begin with about 30-35 pounds in a pack. Do not toss sand or dirt into a pack to use as your weight. Use actual weights or old clothing, or something solid. You must ensure the weight does not drag your shoulders back and or downward. You have to place the weight as high in the pack as possible and your load must be balanced. Any type of pack will do, but an actual military pack is preferred when possible. Make sure the pack straps do not cut off the blood circulation on your arms. The pack should fit comfortably and you should have free movement of your arms while wearing it. You do not want the pack to be slipping and sliding all over your back, especially once you begin to sweat.
  • The best place to practice humps is along the side of any road. Just ensure that you are as safe as you can be while out on the roads and that you hump in the direction of the traffic flow. Avoid humps in the dark when possible. Part of the mental challenge of humps is being able to see your path out in front of you for long distances, so this is why roads are a great place to do these humps on. You want to always try to come back on the same path you took to get out there. So if you were on a 2 hour hump, then you would walk for one hour and then make a u-turn and come back on that same path. This is all part of the mental challenge.
  • You should disregard tracking your distance at this phase of your workout routine. Your first goal should be to hump 1 hour non stop regardless of distance. You want to be walking at a quick brisk pace and it is very important you maintain the same pace during the entire hump. It is best if you do this same 1 hour hump at least three times before moving on to longer times.
  • If you happen to have a set distance course mapped out and easily accessible, then you may use this course as opposed to doing them for time, but you still want to keep track of your time. Mapping out a 3 mile course is an excellent way to begin your hump routines. At mile # 1.5 you simply return to your starting point. Remember, if you do not have a set course, then just get out there and hump for a set amount of time. If you are doing a one hour hump, then at 30 minutes you make your u-tun and head back home.
  • The purpose of doing them over and over is to build your mental state as far as how you view humps and it also builds up your body from the inside out. Regardless if this 1 hour hump is easy for you or not, you still need to do it about 3-4 times. This is called mental preparation. If you are struggling with 1 hour, then try whatever time you can master. The whole point of this timed hump is to give you confidence and to prepare your mind by getting you use to them. Assuming you stick to this plan, you then can move on to bigger and greater things once you have mastered the basics.
  • You now want to try a 2 hour hump, and do this two hour hump several times also with a 10 minute break at the end of hour number one. Once you feel good about this, then you try to hump for 3 hours with a 10 minute break at the end of the first and second hour. This means you hump for 50 minutes non stop, then rest 10 minutes, then hump 50 more minutes non stop, then rest 10 minutes and then you do your final hour. If you are not comfortable increasing in one hour increments, then increase by 30 minutes and go from there. When doing a 1 hour hump there is no break. When doing longer humps of 2, 3, 4 hours, you take a 10 minute break every 50 minutes. This means all breaks come at the end of each hour.
  • If you only do one 1 hour hump then increase to 2 hours and then to 3, then this doesn’t really do you as much good. You must repeat your humps several times to the point that they begin to bother you because of them becoming inconvenient and or a pain in the ass. Conquering this fear and or inconvenience is called mental preparation. So if you do this workout correctly, it will be something like this. 3 humps of 1 hour. Then 3 humps of 2 hours. Then 3 humps of 3 hours. And then you can move on to bigger and better things since you have proven yourself and have earned that right.

This workout routine is made to be done over several months and it is not a routine you bang out in a month or two. You need at least 4-5 months to get the most benefit from this routine. If you have less time, then you simply adjust by either doing less humps, or doing them weekly or every ten days or so.

051104-M-0000C-000Some of you will do a one hour hump and it will not seem that bad and you will want to move on to a two-hour hump. No, no, no. You must do several of these one hour humps in order to better prepare your mind and body for what is to come.<<<<MENTAL PREPARATION.

You should try to hump once every two weeks and you must drink plenty of water the days before you go hump. While on your hump you need to carry water with you and you drink while on the move. You need to have your water bottle easily accessible so you don’t stop to drink.

Let’s assume you now can do a 3 hour hump with ease. Now you can add more weight, but you now will do a 1 hour hump so you get the feel for carrying more weight, and you repeat the same routine eventually ending by doing several 3 hour humps with the added weight. Trust me when I tell you that by adding as little as 5 pounds, you will feel it over time. You should add no more than 10 pounds each time you increase in weight. This is why you must get use to doing humps with basic weighted loads first. Trying to hump 15 miles with 75 pounds is silly and can be counter-productive and dangerous. If you are doing the initial humps with somewhat ease, then you can increase the weight and continue the initial routine.

You never want to carry more then 50 pounds. That is not necessary for what we are trying to accomplish here. By following a schedule like I mentioned, you then will be better prepared both mentally and physically to take on any hump of any length, this too I guarantee you.

Remember, no matter the length, it is very important you maintain the same pace for the entire hump. If you can add hills or inclines to your routes, then this is a plus and you still must maintain the same pace no matter the elevation, the surface, how you feel or the weather. THOU SHALL NOT MAKE ANY EXCUSES!!

A three-hour hump should average out to about 9-11 miles if you are moving at a good brisk pace non stop. A 1 hour hump should be a little more than 3 miles or somewhere around there. It all depends on your pace.

It is important you push yourself and that you not cheat yourself when practicing humps in order to get the most benefit from them.

Some important tips and advice about doing humps/hikes:

  • Do not go into this training thinking that you must carry a lot of weight and hike for many miles in order for it to be effective. Trust me, this is not necessary. So do not cheat on your weight and distances or times.
  • You must maintain the same pace throughout the entire hump. Do not start off fast and then slow down. Keep the same pace.
  • Drink only water while humping. Do not drink sports drinks or any crap like that. Regular water is what you will drink while in boot camp and as a Marine when hiking, so get use to it now.
  • Do not hike with brand new shoes or boots. You have to break in your foot gear well before you go on your first hike. Hiking in new shoes or boots is only going to causes you unnecessary pain. Make sure your foot gear fits comfortably and not loose.
  • Try to add in some hills when possible.
  • You want to hold something in your hand throughout your hike. You want to simulate carrying a weapon, so use a broom stick or something to that effect. It is not easy to hold something in your hand for long periods of time and if you can do this, it is an excellent way to build mental toughness and character. A small 2×4 will also work. Just make sure you carry something in your hand.
  • Do not go on humps wearing headphones and do not use your cell phone while on hikes. You want to make your training as realistic as possible. This is all part of the mental challenge.
  • When hiking in colder weather, do not wear too many layers because you will over heat and risk getting injured. You might feel cold at first, but as you move on your body will begin to sweat and you will heat up, so dress accordingly.
  • Do not go on hikes wearing tight clothing. Loose fitting shorts or pants and preferred. Of course, if you have military style clothing, wear them.
  • When you begin any hike, at about the five minute mark you want to stop for a very short period of time to adjust anything on you that needs adjusting. This is not a break. It is simply a time for you to tighten or loosen your pack, or tie your laces or whatever needs to get done.
  • Wear a hat of any kind. This adds to the many things that make hikes a challenge. Do not remove your hat at any point except while on breaks.
  • You want to break out in a lot of sweat and your clothing should be soaked in sweat during and after your hike. That is how you know it was effective.
  • These hikes are not meant to be nature walks. So do not bring snacks to eat while hiking or anything else that is not necessary. You can stuff that stuff in your pack and during your break you can eat, but not while hiking.
  • You are supposed to feel like shit when doing hikes. They are supposed to burn your feet and cause you to bitch and moan. The slightest of things such as sweating, thirst, holding something in your hand, wearing a hat, hiking the same path over and over, knowing if you hike for 1 hour in one direction you have to hike back for one hour, etc etc are how you build mental toughness and character. So don’t panic and don’t cheat yourself.
  • Do not stop when the going gets tough. Push through the pain. If you feel it is a must to stop, just try slowing down. Of course, if you have a legit reason to stop such as an injury, then stop and think about your safety first.
  • Do not cheat yourself when doing hikes. If you do then it is counterproductive.

Be sure to read through the comments for some advice and tips about humps/hikes from your peers. And if you have anything to add, feel free to do so.

14 comments on “USING HIKES TO GET FIT

  1. This advice actually helped. It was a bitch, but it gave me tons of confidence. Thanks for the advice and info.

  2. Sounds like an intense workout program.

  3. What are the bigger and betters things to do after?

    • Add more weight and make your hikes longer as in 5-6 hours or 18+ miles.

  4. I would love to practices humps, but I can only do it in a non-military town. I can’t help but feel like a when pacing with a military pack on the side of the road.

  5. Will walking in a 40 pound weight vest give the same purpose ?

    • No. Follow the advice that is given here.

  6. Would walking the 2 miles in a 40 lb weight vest (high quality) with a few hills in the process work just as efficient ?

    • What kills me is that im good at walking inclines for a couple miles nonstop, and walking with weight but I fucking suck at running. How is this ?

      • Not everyone is good at running, so just keep practicing and you should get better over time.

    • You need to try to follow the program that is written here. If you can’t, then do what you can.

  7. so far so good! Did my first hump today in my rural mountain Neighborhood. Followed the advice and did a 1 hour no break. Wasn’t hard and actually was fun pushing through up some hills. Speed consistency seems harder to focus on humping the first half hour mark rather than the second. Feels like a different long term focus, strength thing than a strenuous tired workout.

    • Good stuff. Try sticking to the above plan or make your own plan based off of this one and you should benefit from it. Keep us updated on your progress.

  8. I’v been rucking for 3 years now. I;m a seinor/poolee in high school iv built up to 20 miles with 70lbs

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