Does Hiking Build Hips? 6 Amazing Benefits + 7 Expert Tips

I went for my gym session last week. It really was a nice session and one of the moms there was kind of talking about some of the routines she does for her hips. 

She suddenly recalled that I am an avid hiker and a hiking enthusiast. She then asked, “Hey, Rosalie, does hiking build hips?” “Yes, it sure does.” I really couldn’t get into all the details with her right there at the gym. I will definitely send this article to her. 

In case, you’re wondering if hiking build hips, i this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about hiking and the hips, from the muscles worked to ideal trails that target the hips.

I’ll also share my own experience, as well as tips from fitness experts. Let’s hit the trail and find out if hiking can really help sculpt stronger, curvier hips!


An Overview of the Hip Area

Before we dive into hiking’s effects on the hips, let’s quickly overview the hip area. This will help us better understand which muscles are worked during hiking.

The hip area contains three main muscle groups:

  • Gluteal muscles (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus) – make up the buttocks.
  • Hip flexors (iliopsoas, sartorius, rectus femoris) – muscles that raise the knees and bend the hips.
  • Hip adductors – inner thigh muscles that pull the legs inward.

These muscles play key roles in hip strength and stability. They also contribute to your hip width and shape.

Now that we’ve mapped out the hip area, let’s look at how hiking impacts these important muscles.

Also Read: Does Hiking Change Your Body? 7 Amazing Whole-Body Wellness Benefits


How Does Hiking Work the Hips?

Hiking is a full-body workout that engages all the major muscle groups. The hips are no exception. Here’s an overview of how hiking works the main hip muscle groups:

1. Gluteal Muscles

The gluteus maximus is the largest and strongest glute muscle. With every step while hiking, it contracts to extend the hip and propel you forward. Going uphill activates the glutes even more to power your ascent.

The gluteus medius and minimus stabilize the pelvis and hips. These muscles get worked isometrically to keep the hips aligned with each step.

2. Hip Flexors

Hip flexors lift the knees up during hiking. Shorter strides target them more. Uphill climbing also heavily engages these muscles to raise the thighs.

3. Hip Adductors

The inner thigh muscles stabilize the hips during hiking. Going downhill causes more activation as they work to control hip and leg movement.

4. Unique Movements

In addition to walking, hiking involves other hip-strengthening motions like:

  • Climbing over rocks and roots
  • Stepping up onto boulders
  • Ascending inclines in a zig-zag pattern
  • Descending steep sections with control

These unique moves challenge your hip stability, mobility, and strength from new angles.


The Benefits of Hiking for Stronger, Curvier Hips

Now that we know how hiking engages the hips, what are the specific benefits for building hip strength and shape? Here are the main perks:

1. Enhances Glute Strength

The repetitive hip extension during hiking targets the gluteus maximus. Over time, all that hill climbing builds stronger, lifted glutes. Carrying a backpack adds resistance too for even more glute activation.

2. Improves Hip Mobility

Hiking over varied terrain challenges your hip mobility. The hips must move through a greater range of motion. This improves flexibility, mobility, and stability.

3. Tones Hip Flexors

The hip flexors get worked isometrically to raise the legs with each stride. The constant hip flexion helps tone and shape these muscles.

4. Activates Hip Adductors

The inner thigh muscles are targeted during hiking, which sculpts tone in this area. Strengthening the adductors also improves hip and pelvis stability.

5. Can Increase Hip Width

Some research suggests that building strong hip muscles, particularly the gluteus medius, can create slight increases in hip width. So hiking’s glute-sculpting effects may widen your hips over time.

6. Burns Fat and Cal Storing Material

Hiking is a calorie-burning cardio activity. It taps into stored fat, including around the hips and thighs. So shedding fat in these areas will also help show off your hips!

As you can see, hiking offers a lot of benefits for strengthening, toning, and sculpting the hips!

Also Read: Is Hiking Sporty? Powerful Considerations for Hiking as a Sport


Ideal Hiking Trails to Target the Hips

Not all trails are made equal when it comes to working the hips. Here are features to look for to make sure your hike sculpt the hips:

1. Varying Terrain

Look for trails with diverse terrain – hills, uneven ground, rocks, etc. This engages the hips in unique ways for a more well-rounded workout. Varied angles also increase mobility and stability.

2. Hills and Inclines

Prioritize hikes with steep sections and hills. Ascending uphill targets the glutes and hip flexors. Look for hikes that gain over 1,000 ft in elevation for best results.

3. Rockier Ground

Routes covered in rocks, roots and other obstacles are great for hips. Navigating this uneven ground strengthens stability and tone. Be sure to wear appropriate hiking shoes.

4. Narrower Paths

Seek out singletrack trails where you have to walk single file. Narrower paths improve hip mobility by increasing your stride length and range of motion.

5. Weighted Backpack

For extra resistance, wear a backpack loaded with supplies like water and snacks. The added weight increases hip muscle activation on the trails. Start with 10-15 lbs.

Following trails with these features will give your hips the best workout!


Helpful Hiking Tips for Hip-Building

Optimizing your hiking technique is also key for targeting the hips. Keep these form tips in mind:

  • Take shorter strides to engage the hip flexors more.
  • Focus on pressing through the heels to activate the glutes with every step.
  • Maintain proper posture – don’t hunch or arch your back.
  • Tighten your core which takes stress off the hips.
  • Step up onto rocks/roots leading with the right foot, then alternate.
  • When descending, take controlled steps and keep knees bent to load the glutes.
  • Use trekking poles to increase balance and hip muscle activation.

Proper form maximizes the benefits for your hips!

Also Read: Is Hiking the Same as Jogging? Strange Similarities and Differences Between Hiking and Jogging


My Experience Building Hips Through Hiking

Honestly, I didn’t initially realize the hip benefits. But over time, I noticed a difference in my hips that I attribute to miles of hiking.

Here’s what I’ve experienced:

Stronger glutes – I have a lot more power when climbing hills or steps. My booty definitely feels more lifted too!

Improved hip mobility – I move with ease over uneven ground and have an easier time crossing my legs, etc. My hips feel looser and more agile.

Nice muscle tone – The muscles surrounding my hips are visibly more toned, especially my inner thighs.

Subtle widening effect – I didn’t expect this, but my hip width increased slightly. Not drastically, but a subtle enhancement of my curves.

Increased stamina – I can hike longer distances with less fatigue. Those hip muscles are strong endurance athletes now!

Of course, results vary for each person. But consistently challenging my hips with hiking has sculpted them over time. My hips are stronger and curvier – no doubt thanks to miles on the trails!


Expert Tips for Hiking Your Way to Fabulous Hips

Don’t just take my word for all this – fitness professionals agree that hiking can transform your hips. Here are tips from trainers and coaches:

1. Vary Hip Positioning

“Switch up hip placement by putting one foot directly in front of the other on the trail. Then alternate which leg leads. This targets the hips from all angles.” – Courtney S., NASM Certified Trainer

2. Add Weight

“For extra resistance, wear a weighted vest or backpack. This amps up the glute activation even more for increased shaping.” – Hannah J., ACE Certified Coach

3. Prioritize Incline Hiking

“Focus on trail sections with steep inclines. Hiking uphill is amazing for the glutes – it totally sculpts a perky booty!” – Monica R., NSCA Certified Trainer

4. Monitor Your Pace

“Don’t just speed hike. Take it slower some days to really focus on proper form and muscle activation.” – David S., Master Hiking Guide

5. Balance With Squats

“Combine your trail hikes with targeted exercises like squats to build rounded hips.” – Stephanie M., Certified Personal Trainer

6. Watch Your Footing

“Trekking poles can help with balance and stability on uneven ground. This engages those smaller hip muscles.” – Allison D., Orthopedic Doctor

7. Stretch The Hips

“Balance out hip hiking by stretching properly afterward – flexors, glutes, adductors.” – Dr. Olivia C., Physical Therapist

As you can see, experts agree that hiking is an excellent lower body workout. Use their tips along with the advice in this guide to maximize results for your hips.

Also Read: Is Hiking Good for Your Heart? Here are 13+ Intriguing and Compelling Reasons to Believe It is


Putting It All Together – Start Sculpting Today!

So, does hiking build hips? After reading this guide, you can see that hiking offers enormous benefits for stronger, curvier hips. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Hiking works all the major hip muscle groups – glutes, flexors and adductors
  • It builds stability, mobility and functional strength through varied terrain
  • Sculpts muscle, enhances endurance, and burns fat around the hips
  • Look for trails with hills, rocks, and uneven ground to target the hips
  • Use proper form and add weight for maximum hip payoff
  • Combine hiking with targeted exercises for balanced development
  • Be patient – it takes consistency over months to see significant growth

Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, it’s time to hit the trails and start sculpting those hips!

Try some of the tips in this guide and track your progress. I hope you achieve the strong, sexy hips of your dreams. Happy hiking!


FAQs: Does Hiking Build Hips


How often should I hike to build stronger hips?

Aim for at least 3 hiking sessions per week. Hike at a challenging pace and distance for 45-60 minutes to see optimal benefits. Consistency is key!

How soon will I see results hiking for my hips?

Many hikers begin noticing subtle muscle development and definition within the first 1-2 months. But it takes about 6 months of regular hiking for significant strengthening and growth.

Is hiking enough alone for hip building?

Hiking provides an excellent hip workout. But for balanced development, add exercises like squats, clamshells and fire hydrants. Core work helps too for stability.

What muscle groups do downhill hikes work most?

Descending puts emphasis on the hip adductors and abductors. Controlling your stride downhill targets these inner/outer thigh muscles for sculpting.

Should I use trekking poles for more hip activation?

Yes! Trekking poles engage the core and hips for stability. They also allow you to work one side at a time for unilateral hip development.

Can hiking exacerbate hip issues like arthritis?

Check with your doctor, but in most cases hiking is encouraged. Build up distance gradually and opt for softer terrain. Trekking poles help too.

Is hiking enough for glute and hip exercises?

Hiking gives an excellent glute workout. But add in targeted moves like lunges, bridges and hip thrusts a few days a week for balanced hip muscle-building.

Leave a Comment