The Most Effective Form of Cardio for the Backcountry

October 8, 2015 — 2 Comments

Certain types of cardio are great for quickly shedding excess body fat and losing weight, decreasing non-functional weight while improving cardiovascular performance; this is important for any hunter (But it is also beneficial for those of you who have plans for beach season). But what specific types of cardio are best?

Think about how you hike while you are hunting…

Typically, it is a series of pauses followed by short bursts of hiking, then pausing again. Part of the issue that hunters have in how they train is that they will do constant-paced cardio (like running), which is good, but they do this without supplementing other forms of cardio to train the body at the highest level of exertion; then, when they are exerting themselves more during a hunt than they would have when they were running, they fatigue quickly. That is where tabata training comes in.

What is Tabata

Tabata training was discovered by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and his research team in Tokyo, Japan. It is a form of H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) that is often used for short, intense, effective workouts. Tabata training is often used with one exercise that uses multiple muscle groups simultaneously (squat thrusts, burpees, kettle bell swings, mountain climbers, etc.) and should last between 4-10 minutes.

How to Do it

To perform a tabata workout, perform the selected move at absolute full intensity for 20-seconds, then rest for 10-seconds, then go right back to full intensity for another 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and so on until your time is up. You should begin by doing this for 4 minutes until your body can adapt to the training style at which point you can increase the time each week. You should be absolutely exhausted by the end of the workout; the active 20-second intervals should be performed at the fastest pace possible while staying safe and maintaining good form. If you feel like you can keep going when the time is up, you either didn’t give 100% or you need to increase your time. When performed correctly, this is one of the most effective forms of interval training for losing weight and improving your cardio level.

Tabata and Strength Training

While tabata training is typically reserved for cardio, it can also be incorporated into your weight lifting routine. Simply choose an exercise and use a weight with which you can perform 12-15 reps, then do the 20-second sprint/10-second rest cycle. If you reach failure during the 20 seconds, simply do partial reps until the time is up. Again, speed is necessary, but safety and form are paramount; don’t do a tabata circuit with an exercise if you cannot do it properly.

If you are a beginner in the fitness realm, try out a tabata circuit for your workout. If you are experienced in fitness, tack on a tabata circuit to the end of your workout. Whether you are training for a high country hunt or trying to lose a few pounds for summertime, tabata training is your ticket better fitness.

2 responses to The Most Effective Form of Cardio for the Backcountry


    Nice photo. Somewhere in New Mexico?


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