As hunting seasons wind down, many of us get back into the swing of a normal daily routine and try to incorporate training back into our schedules. This year I will be participating in a Train to Hunt challenge which will put my fitness and hunting skills to the test.
Along the way, I will share my training tips as well as give you a glimpse into my workouts, and talk about why and how they will prepare me for hunting season.
First, I want to start off with the most important concept of any performance enhancing training regimen: incorporate specificity into your plan! In other words, what you do in the gym should be relevant to your sport or activity outside of the gym (in this case – HUNTING!).
For example, our time in the outdoors often consists of miles of hiking while hauling around loaded packs over uneven and sometimes rugged terrain. In this case, how relevant would, say, a seated leg extension machine be towards making us better fit for these types of activities? Not relevant by any means! So how do I decide which exercises I should focus on and why do I use them?
When it comes to structuring my routines aimed at bettering my fitness as well as making me a more efficient hunter, I choose to always start by incorporating the same basic and “boring” (but most proven!) movements: the squat, deadlift, lunge and overhead press. Quite simply put, these exercises flat-out work and are relevant across many different sports/activities.
There are many reasons why I choose these exercises, but for starters I’ll keep it simple:
- They are multi-joint compound exercises – “compound exercises” are exercises that use more than one muscle group at a time. Try and think of all the scenarios in the woods where you’re body is moving in a way that you only isolate one muscle. Not very many right?
- They all require the use of our core muscles – often times, when people think of a strong core they picture 6-pack abs. However, the rest of our core muscles may be over-looked. When training our core muscles, it’s important to remember that this includes all of the muscles that surround our trunk. A strong core can help us from better steadying our rifle or bow to dragging our freshly field-dressed harvest from the woods (if an ATV isn’t involved of course) – and everything in between!
- They are the best bang for your workout-buck! Performing exercises that require multiple muscle groups at once are simply going to burn more calories and increase overall strength! Also, exercises that require the use of multiple joints enable better movement and mobility.
These are just a few basic reasons why exercises like these are important to consider when putting together a training plan that will enable you to become a more fit hunter. As with any form of physical activity, it is important that we learn to perform these movements correctly to avoid using improper form that could lead to injury!