If you want to be a stronger climber but you're avoiding squats because they make your knees hurt, there's several reasons that happens and ways to fix the problem. However, that's a topic for another post.
In the meantime, the quickest and easiest thing to do is start strengthening your glutes by doing one of the simplest exercises available: the prone glute extension.
The prone glute extension targets the gluteus maximus directly without any tension on the knee. Don't be fooled by it's simplicity! It's extremely effective because it targets one muscle exactly how it's used. No substitutions available to perform this move!
Start with 3 sets of 10-15 reps each leg. Then, add resistance with ankle weights or resistance bands. Contract those glutes for buns of steel that not only look good, but propel you to the summit or help you climb out of a canyon!
Ready to be a better hiker? The Healthy Hiker 6-Month 1:1 Virtual Coaching Program gives you hiking-specific exercises like this, nutritional guidance to build muscle and sustain energy, and coaching through all the mind drama that happens when your goals feel like unclimbable mountains. Schedule a consultation and discover how you can build strength that supports your knees and improves your hiking!