The Struggle is Real! (Photo Courtesy of stalkingtheseam.com)
I had a reader reach out to me a month or so ago and perhaps ask one of the most important questions of his life. He asked for advise on how to get in better shape for hunting season. I say this not because he asked me specifically but that he had personally made the decision to not only be a better hunter but more importanty to become a more healthy person. These are the types of emails that really get me excited…someone wanting to make themselves better!!! Don’t fool yourself, we (myself included) can all be better in many aspects of our life.
To paraphrase the email, the gentleman basically hadn’t spent a ton of time in the gym and was new to hunting. I was (and still am) so excited to help add another member to our ranks of hunters striving to succeed in our endeavors by putting in the time and effort to make it happen. Since there may be some others out there who have a similar question I’ll just post my response to the reader so you all have access to it. This would be great starting point for anyone and also maybe some of you veterans of the iron house of pump can pick up a new exercise or two. Here you go:
It’s great that you are reaching out and wanting to get into better shape for the season and also making the commitment towards some backcountry adventures. You’ll be very happy if you see this through.
Couple things, just because you’re sitting in a tree doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be in shape. Also, if you have access to a gym that’s terrific but if you don’t then there are certainly other options. I’ll base this response assuming you’re going to the gym so if I am incorrect let me know. If you’ve been reading the articles on HuntingFit.com then you’ve probably noticed I’m a big fan of functional and full body type lifts. These are where you’ll get the most real world strength and best bang for your buck. Don’t underestimate the importance of cardio work either. From the sounds of it you’re not currently involved in an exercise program so I’ll start you from scratch. I would initially target a minimum of 3 days of strength and cardio training. You can also mix in other types of activity on the days off (walking, shooting your bow, etc). During your 3 formal training days I would focus on 3 core lifts; deadlift, squat, power clean. You can supplement other lifts on these days too if you have time and desire. Here is how it would look:
20 – 30 minutes brisk walking (by brisk I mean you should be breathing heavy and sweating by the time you’re done) Note: you can work towards running if that is your goal but ease into it….trust me.
Deadlift (warm up set followed by 3 sets of 8-12 reps)
20 – 30 mins brisk walking
Power Cleans (warm up set followed by 3 sets of 8-12 reps)
20 -30 minutes brisk walking
Squats (warm up set followed by 3 sets of 8-12 reps) Note: be sure you drop deep into your squats and by deep I mean your thighs should be parrellel to the ground. Otherwise you won’t realize the full benefits from the exercise.
The stretching is very important so don’t leave it out. Hanging treestands, climbing in and out of them, and handling a downed deer are all opportunities for injury so you’ll want to have your muscles and joints ready to work in their full range of motion. The workouts above should take you between 40-50 minutes. I’m not sure how much time you have as I see it appears you have at least one child per your profile photo and I know how busy it can get. If you are really digging the workouts or have extra time you can add the following exercises to your workouts on the corresponding days:
One arm rows (3 sets 8-12 reps)
Planks (3 sets for a duration you can repeatedly execute. If you start holding for 20 seconds then work towards 30 seconds and so on)
Push Ups (3 sets however many you can repeatedly execute. If you start with 3 sets of 5 reps thats fine. Then work your way to be able to consistently hit 3 sets of 10 and so on)
Russian twists (3 sets however many you can repeatedly execute. If you start with 3 sets of 5 reps thats fine. Then work your way to be able to consistently hit 3 sets of 10 and so on)
Jerk Press or one arm kettlebell press or some sort of shoulder press (3 sets of 8-12)
Side Planks (3 sets for a duration you can repeatedly execute. If you start holding for 20 seconds then work towards 30 seconds and so on)
A few other words of advise. Don’t worry about lifting alot of weight. Challenge yourself and make yourself better each day. Going all macho right off the bat is a recipe for disaster and may keep you sidelined for the hunting season. The lifts I suggested require really good form. Go out on youtube or something and watch how they are executed. Form is much more important that weight. Don’t be intimidated in the gym. Do your thing and let the others do theirs. Lastly, have fun and reap the benefits of improved health and fitness. If you consistently work out it will only be a matter of time before you see results and improvements in your life.
The Standard Deadlift Works a Tremendous Number of Muscles within the Body. (Photo Courtesy of mystrengthtraining.com)
The Kettlebell Jerk Press is Another Full Body Exercise That Could Help you This Fall. Photo Courtesy of menshealth.com
This is not a get you ripped and shreaded workout and ready to run the next marathon that comes to town. However, incorporating this or similar exercise routines into your week will improve your health and make you more prepared for the woods. Speaking of being prepared for the woods, just because many seasons are either upon us or fast approaching doesn’t mean you should slack off on the workouts. The previously mentioned exercises would be great ways to maintain full body strength and endurance throughout the season keeping you operating at your peak.
You Gotta Want It. But You Have to Start Somewhere! (Photo Courtesy of freep.com)