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This 30-Day Outdoor Circuit Training Challenge Will Amp Up Your Adventure Game

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Sure, you can become a better hiker, skier, and climber by—well—hiking, skiing, and climbing all the time. But if you don't live directly at the foot of a mountain, you're going to need to find an easier way to sharpen your skills. Enter: Our 30-day outdoor circuit training challenge, developed by Alyssa Exposito, a trainer based at The North Face in New York City.

Exposito knows a thing or two about how to up your outdoor game, even if you're in a crowded city like New York. The secret? Circuits that prep every muscle for even the hardest of trails. This plan will teach your body to move in various planes of motion (which is important because hiking forces you to move laterally and up/down, not just forward, like with running), challenge your core (to keep you stable), and improve your cardio (so you have the stamina to stay on the trails allllll day). (Psst...Have you tried these 10 Picturesque National Parks Worth Hiking?)

Naturally, we suggest doing each circuit outside. But the beauty of this program is that you can do it anywhere: on the top of a mountain, the bottom of a valley, and—yes—even in a gym. Commit to this challenge, and we promise you'll emerge a better, more adventurous athlete by the end of the month. And don't forget to share your progress (and your hikes!) with us on Instagram using the hashtag #OutdoorChallenge.  

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30-Day Outdoor Training Challenge

Day 1

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Every Monday: Core Circuit

Repeat the circuit below three times every Monday. Each week, you'll spend more time moving and less time resting—we didn't call this a "challenge" for nothing.

Week one: Do each move for 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off/1 minute rest in between (3 sets).
Week two: Do each move for 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off/1 minute rest in between (3 sets).
Week three: Do each for 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off/45 seconds rest in between (3 sets).
Week four: Do each move for 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off/30 seconds rest in between (3 sets).

Sprinter Sit-Up
• Lie on back with arms overhead and legs extended.
• As you sit straight up, bring one knee into chest as you flex the opposite elbow.

Forearm Plank
• Place elbows directly beneath shoulders, legs extended.
• Press through heels so calves are lengthened.
• Draw navel toward your spine and engage your glutes.

3-Point Twist
• Lie on back, knees bent 90 degrees and feet together, arms overhead.
• Perform a sit-up, reaching just past your toes.
• Rotate to the right, then the left.

Face Back Extension
• Lying on stomach, place hands underneath shoulders.
• Pressing the palms of hands against floor, contract abs to quickly lift chest as high as you can away from floor.
• Slowly return to floor.

Day 2

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Every Tuesday: Cardio

Week one: Jog 20 minutes.
Week two: Run fastest mile.
Week three: Jog 25 to 30 minutes.
Week four: Run fastest mile.

Related: The Best Running Tips of All Time

Day 3

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Every Wednesday: Conditioning

These exercises train and condition your body by working in different planes of motion. And just like Mondays, they keep getting harder as the month progresses.

Week one: Do each move for 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off/1 minute rest in between (3 sets).
Week two: Do each move for 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off/1 minute rest in between (3 sets).
Week three: Do each move for 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off/1 minute rest in between (3 sets).
Week four: Do each move for 60 seconds on, 10 seconds off/1 minute rest in between (3 sets).

Touch-Jump-Touch
• Feet shoulder-width apart, squat down to touch the floor with hands.
• Jump as high as you can.
• Squat to touch the floor again.
• Laterally shuffle for 5 counts.
• Repeat, alternating sides of the shuffle.

Step-Up
• Feet shoulder-width apart, step up on a bench or step, one leg following the other.
• Return to starting position.
• Repeat, alternating legs with each rep.

Hip Flexor Stretch
• Kneeling with one knee on ground, one leg in front, drive hips forward.
• Hold for 15 seconds.
• Switch sides and repeat.

 

Day 4

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Every Thursday: Cardio

Week one: Jog for 20 minutes.
Week two: Jog for 25 minutes.
Week three: Jog for 25 to 30 minutes.
Week four: Run up nearest hill 5 times, or do hill repeats on a treadmill for 5 rounds of 40 seconds.

Bad weather and no gym? Try this indoor running workout.

Day 5

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Every Friday: Improve Posture and Build Strength

These push/pull exercises will boost your balance, posture, and strength.

Week one: Do 3 rounds of the circuit (6 reps each).
Week two: Do 3 rounds of the circuit; add 2 reps to each set (8 reps).
Week three: Do 3 rounds of the circuit; add 2 reps to each set (10 reps).
Week four: Do 3 rounds of the circuit; add 2 reps to each set (12 reps).

Negative Push-Up 
• Begin by lying prone with hands placed right underneath shoulders.
• Raise hands right below shoulders and with palms firmly press away from the floor to lift trunk off the floor with wrist stacked underneath shoulder (push-up position).
• Repeat. 

Bent-Over Row
• Standing with soft bend at knees, hinge at hips so chest is almost parallel to floor.
• With arms hanging by your side, pull elbows straight back, keeping elbows close to trunk and squeezing shoulder blades.
• Hold for 2 seconds.
• Repeat.

Pec Stretch
•  Standing with feet together, holding hands behind back, pinch shoulder blades together.
• Hold for 15 seconds.

 

Day 6

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Every Saturday

Week one: Do 3 rounds of the circuit.
Week two: Do 4 rounds of the circuit.
Week three: Do 5 rounds of the circuit.
Week four: Do 6 rounds of the circuit.

Single-Leg Bridge
• Lie on back with feet hip-width apart, raise one leg off the floor, straight up.
• Squeeze hamstrings and butt to drive navel to the ceiling.
• Do 12 reps, repeating on once on each side.

Kneeling Founder
• Kneel with feet together, toes lifting feet off floor.
• Raise hands above your head, keeping biceps at your ears.
• Hold for 20 seconds.

Y +T
• Lie on stomach with toes facing the floor.
• Thumbs pointing straight up, lift your arms to form the letter “Y," then raise arms to perform the letter “T.”
• Repeat for 10 reps.
 

Day 7

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Every Sunday: Rest!

Or better yet, go on a light hike or do some yoga outside.

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