Hillwalking vs. MTB: My legs hurt! Why?

Viewing 29 posts - 41 through 69 (of 69 total)
  • Hillwalking vs. MTB: My legs hurt! Why?
  • jimmyshand

    Never used them because I've never seen a need to use them. You keep using your opinion to help you make decisions, I'll stick to using sound scientific evidence.

    Premier Icon stever

    As above, DOMS caused by eccentric loading on your quads I reckon.

    Boooo… I was hoping there was some fancy shiny kit I could buy to make it all better, it really is different from MTBing after all isn't it?

    I have the answer you're looking for. Buy a fixed and get used to using your legs for braking. Same thing. A whole new niche awaits, plus think of the fashion wear. I should charge for this kind of thing πŸ™‚


    If you use them do you use 1 or 2 poles ? And is there a technique you try and follow such as when left foot forward then the right hand pole is forward ?


    You keep using your opinion to help you make decisions, I'll stick to using sound scientific evidence.

    The great thing about sound scientific evidence is that there's always some that matches a personal opinion πŸ™‚


    I'm off the bike for the next few months through a Lat' quad muscle / tendon issue.
    I hope to be getting back into some serious walking soon.

    Hope to God I don't need a walking stick (trekking pole) as my experince of watching the sort of duffers who used to use them some 5yrs or more ago is not a positive memory at all.

    I think Nordic walking and people who like to use trekking poles (walking sticks) is not one & the same though (?).


    Treking poles can be great fun on occasion. I remember jogging down the descent from glyder fawr down to lyn y cym, then down to lynn idwal. The first bit on the zig zags you could just stick em out far ahead to pivot round the corners, and the 2nd half rather than having to slow down for the rock steps, you could just extend the poles and pole vault down each step effortlessly converting potential energy to forward kinetic energy. Felt fantastic!


    I find even walking on the flat buggers my legs if I've been doing lots of biking (like 1000's of miles). The only fix for me is to walk/run more building mileage until I'm back to 'normal'.

    On the pole front, anecdotal evidence from me. I started using poles when I kicked of this years Munro round. I find they save my knees grief and help with some really big days. Not sure about 'dynamic stability' muscles but I seem to be able to manage with and without though I now prefer with.

    BTW, I'm not a mid 30's Nordic ****, errrr, walker. πŸ™‚


    Dont know about the 'research' but I did do 7 Munros on Saturday using poles. Not sure the legs would cope without them to be honest!


    I've also got back into hillwalking again recently. Now I find going up the hills way easier than going down them. I think maybe cycling exercises the muscles that are good at walking uphill but not the downhill ones. I felt like I could climb all day but going down I felt like a 90 year old.


    I started hillwalking again a couple of years ago, caused lots of problems with achilles tendon pain, was told by a physio that I had very tight hamstrings and achilles tendons due to years of cycling, never stretching legs out fully. A series of stretching exercises helped enormously.
    I find walking poles (definitely two) beneficial when carrying a heavier pack, but don't normally bother for day walks. They do lessen the load on your knees, particularly descending.
    Saw a recent article about a study that claims to prove the benefits of poles:Pole study

    "it causing quite a stir"

    Probably because the conclusions don't resemble the real-life experiences of actual hikers.

    Apparently wearing shoes is really bad for your muscles too. Save yourself all that degeneration by Munro bagging barefoot πŸ˜‰

    Next thing, someone will be on here to tell us that gears and suspension are bad for you. Oh, they already did. πŸ˜†

    Cycling does make you fit but its non impact. This is a good thing because it means you can do a lot of cycling and not bugger your joints up however its also bad in that your muscles and joints get "soft" so when you do an activity like running or hillwalking that involves impact you suffer like the OP.

    I'm a keen hillwalker and never had a problem with sore legs when I was hillwalking regularly. Now I hill walk much less because I've moved south I found cycling was keeping me fit so I had plenty of strength and energy for walking but I suffered a lot with soreness the day after. I now make sure I run regularly which has hardened my legs up so I now have no soreness problems after being on the hill.

    Oh and another vote for trekking poles here from an ex trekking pole sceptic. Good uphill as I can use my arm muscles in addition to my legs to get me up faster and good on the downs for reducing the impact of step downs. They also help with fording streams.


    Maybe it's just because I'm fit and used to walking up hills lots that I dont get pain in my legs when out hillwalking.


    Or you're not doing enough cycling to experience the effects when hillwalking. It's nothing to do with fitness per se, it's the crossover.


    Trust me. I'm doing enough cycling.

    Wow, not out to make many friends here are we jimmyshand? πŸ˜€

    Don't know if I'm prepared to start running to prevent the sore legs, will just have to spend a few more weekends in the hills, what a hardship!


    Cycling shortens muscles in the leg over time and so affects both the ligaments and tendons accordingly. I now stretch for an hour each evening.

    So much is cycling implicated in my new found body that I've developed a sloping gait and a walk that sees me not being able to articulate the leg fully.
    I have a walk on part (!) in the next re-make of Planet of the Apes & I'm a logical stand-in for any John Wayne re-makes.


    I've always mixed up walking and cycling, so I've never really experienced the issue you mention. However, I do have a couple of observations:

    a) Try running downhill instead of walking. As others have mentioned, it's really the action of constantly halting your downhill progress which is causing the muscle pain.

    b) Use poles. For the doubters, go to Glenmore Lodge and ask the instructors how many use poles.

    Premier Icon debaser

    Boooo… I was hoping there was some fancy shiny kit I could buy to make it all better

    What about a carbon and suspension based solution πŸ˜‰

    I've had the same problem when I've not been out walking for a while. Uphills are fine but the downs cause similar sounding next day pain in my thighs. Keep meaning to try a set of poles, but I've not gotten around to it yet.

    Premier Icon clareymorris

    It is my calf muscles that get it whenI am hill walking BUT I found this amazing remedy………………..stretching……………I know, who'd have thought it!!!

    Best. Thread. Ever.

    Cheers me up no end that other people are suffering the same as I do.

    13th Floor Monk – I know you're not tempted anyway, but running won't help so you can rest easy on that one.

    When I had the time to get up hills a couple of times a month, I didn't suffer nearly as much as I do now, even though I'm sure I'm fitter now from a running or cycling standpoint.

    On the poles thing – having spent my money on a pair, I'm still not convinced. I think I walk slower with them, but I do think they're useful for balance on steepish ground and river crossings. But then, at least in my experience, there's a fine line between finding a pole useful for balance and wanting to crawl on your hands and knees. Jey walking, anyone?


    Maybe it's just because I'm fit and used to walking up hills lots that I dont get pain in my legs when out hillwalking.

    Or maybe you are walking too slowly πŸ˜›

    Oh and any hope of a link or details to an abstract of your wifes study? I'm curious as to its parameters, methodology etc as EMG activity is not the sole factor in gait biomechanics afaik..


    Your only fit for what your fit for.

    You may well be good for 12 hours in the saddle (fnar) but may be useless after an hours swimming and vice versa.

    All forms of exercise use muscles in different ways and they all take different tolls on the body.

    Having done a fair bit of running I'm finding hill-walking ok as something I can do as a 'one off', but my toenails don't like it.

    Unless your a bit of an exception, anything *different* you do at a sustained effort your body is not used to is going to hurt you

    The easiest and most fun descent I have ever experienced (on foot) was coming down the middle peak of the Sligachan horseshoe on Skye. It was the first time as an adult that I'd experienced scree-running and it was truly amazing.

    The whole slope is made up of small to medium sized boulders – you just let go and run – so exhilarating – each massive step covers about three metres and the descent is over in no time. Probably a very bad thing to do in terms of erosion but I'd do it again tomorrow – like sliding on ice, but down the side of a 45 degree slope. Didn't need my poles πŸ˜‰

    I know you're not tempted anyway, but running won't help so you can rest easy on that one

    Well I'm living proof that sweeping statement is complete bollocks. It may not have worked for you but it did for me.


    I'm surprised that someone (birly-shirly) says jogging/running won't help walking fitness. I found the opposite, it's very helpful, especially jogging uphill to workout the same muscles.
    Also, I recently started using poles, I've found them a positive aid to propelling myself uphill and helpful stopping stumbles and trips downhill, at 43 you need all the help you can get on the leg joints and if some impact is taken on the arms/hands/poles, that's got to be good.

    One of my pals who fell and broke his ankle badly whilst absailing off a climb now can only hill walk with the aid of poles to stop him 'going over' on the bad ankle. Athough not absolutely necessary, I can only see positive reasons to use poles.

    Poles and get used to walking in the mountains. Get the miles in. It might not make it easier having poles but it don't half take the impact loads out of the descents and help balance.


    Pieface – Member
    <snip> Having done a fair bit of running I'm finding hill-walking ok as something I can do as a 'one off', but my toenails don't like it.

    I keep mine in a drawer at home, saves the faff πŸ™‚

    Uponthedowns and B.A.Nana

    I don't know about your experience. But when I was hillwalking at least a couple of times a month, I would get up and down with no real problems and no muscle soreness in the days after. And I would have been doing a lot less running or cycling than I do now.

    I'm not claiming to be an elite athlete or anything like it – but I would comfortably run a half-marathon or ride a hilly century now. Whereas the occasional hillwalk now leaves my legs really stiff for a day or two after.

    All I'm suggesting is that fitness is pretty specific. If you want to train for hillwalking, but don't have the time to walk up and down an actual hill, then maybe hill running will do the job. But then, if you can run serious hills as part of your normal training, you're probably already considerably fitter than me.

Viewing 29 posts - 41 through 69 (of 69 total)

The topic ‘Hillwalking vs. MTB: My legs hurt! Why?’ is closed to new replies.