Snowshoe Training Without Snow?

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  • #3628358
    BPL Member


    Haaa.. very good!!! I love it. Im sure you will be just fine out there. Remember.. the mind gives up before the body.. keep at it and in the long scheme of things you will be just fine when it comes time to hit that trail. Best of luck and looking forward to hearing all about it!

    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member


    No snow won’t be a problem yet….got in 5 miles and 1500′ with a 40# pack today.  Plenty more where that came from, at least for the next month.  This is about an hour drive from my house, not too bad…

    Todd T
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest

    I’d suggest caution when adding ankle weights (or wrist weights) – significant risk of tendon/ligament injury …

    The snowshoes themselves are effectively ankle weights, so why would it be better NOT to condition your body with ankle weights before going out for a long snowshoe trip?

    BPL Member


    Snowshoes are not at all like ankle weights……at least not the snowshoes I wear…

    No question ankle weights could help but there’s the downside of potential tendon/ligament injury.

    I’m simply speaking from experience….YMMV….etc etc




    BPL Member


    I’ve never even thought about practicing for walking in snowshoes, but I guess that’s because I’ve never gone more than about 7 miles in a stretch. So simple though, as far as technique, especially compared to skiing. I just go. I suppose if I were going to do a longer trip, I’d want to just be more generally fit than I am right now (if I had time to work out!). Are you racing, so that you need speed?

    I live in Fairbanks. We have snow from October to April, if you need snow to practice on. With our current minus 30 temperatures, you can test all your gear too.


    Tom K
    BPL Member


    “Snowshoes are not at all like ankle weights……at least not the snowshoes I wear…”

    I think we all agree that the best way to train for snowshoeing is to snowshoe, but wasn’t the OP’s question about how best to train when that was not an option?

    “No question ankle weights could help but there’s the downside of potential tendon/ligament injury.”

    I’m struggling to visualize how this could occur.  Would you provide a little more detail on the specifics?

    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member


    If the weights were equal, I’m not sure how ankle weights could injure you in a way that snowshoes could not.  With MSR EVOs, I think I’m a little under 2# per foot.  That’s not much.  It’s not like I’d add 20# ankle weights.  Personally, I think the high stepping and slightly wider gait of snowshoes is where the awkwardness comes from, not the weight so much.  But over thousands of repetitions, it has to be a factor.

    Sure, I think someone can throw on a pair of snowshoes and do well enough with basic fitness on an average hike.  But doing an event where the cumulative miles are high, bailing is not an option, other people are depending on you, and you don’t want to fall behind the group pace is another story.

    Perhaps it sounds like I’m overthinking things but in my experience doing distance cycling and smaller ultramarathon stuff on foot, IMO specificity is very important in training.  When I was training to ride the Furnace Creek 508 I made sure to get in plenty of hot weather miles, and not months out from the event, but as close to it as possible.  When training for the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim in a day, I focused on vertical gain before tapering.  Likewise, for the LA Marathon, I didn’t worry about running hills much; it’s a pretty flat course..  I certainly wouldn’t go into a triathlon saying “hey, I can swim, and I’m fit, so it won’t matter if I don’t swim for three months prior to the race.”  That would be a recipe for disaster IMO.  Could you squeak by?  Maybe.  But that’s not how you want to go into a big event, physically or mentally.

    I’m in a similar situation here.  Again, perhaps I’m overthinking it a bit, but experience tells me to train specificity as long as possible before something big.  Snowshoeing for the next month and then putting them away for two months prior to a hike doesn’t sit well with me.  In my experience, snowshoeing is different than hiking, at least enough so that I want to be specific.  So while snowshoeing sand dunes in May might sound silly, in my mind it’s about maintaining a degree of specificity wherever possible.

    BPL Member


    I’ve only used snowshoes once for a short distance but my butt/hips really felt it afterwards.

    I don’t know how helpful this will be, but here is some hip strength training advice I paid for:

    Your legs move forward and back, but also side to side. You need to do lateral hip strength exercises (lateral lunges with weights) as well as normal front to back hip strength. I think (what do I know?) this would be the main weight training exercise you could do for wide stance strength/mobility. Lateral bounds and split jumps come to mind too. Maybe just horse stance isometrics.

    Based on how I got sore snowshoeing I’d also try one leg 2 arm RDLs w/dumbells, RFE split squats, and single legged squats (resting your ‘off’ foot on a tennis ball or something so you can safely use weights; just focus on the leg you’re trying to use). Although now that I googled single leg squats, pistol squats look appropriate too. Surely the flexibility and strength required for pistol squats would overlap with snowshoeing at least a little…

    Do you have dumbbells or kettlebells? Either would be perfect for all these hip strength exercises. Also assisted straight leg lowering for recovery; I do this asap after any hip hinges to hopefully keep my hamstrings loose.

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