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Tune Yourself up for the Season-To-Come

During hunting seasons and travel associated with the occasional hunting trip, I would bet most of us either find ourselves nowhere near a gym or with a severe lack of motivation to spend time inside away from the water and woods.

Whether it be camping with the family on the 4th of July or spending a week at hunting camp with the gang, don’t limit yourself from being able to squeeze in a quality workout! Workouts don’t need to last multiple hours and involve loads of equipment – think minimalistic! In this case, I’m going to demonstrate how something as basic as a cooler can double as your on-the-road fitness center! First I will go over some basic exercises and then follow those up with some simple ways to throw them together for a quick yet effective workout.

Tune Yourself up for the Season-To-Come
1. Step-Ups Step-ups are a great way to improve balance, increase cardiovascular function as well as increase your lower body strength.

How to perform:

• Begin by standing directly behind the cooler with your hands on your hips or at your sides (whichever feels more comfortable).

• Step up with your right foot, placing it firmly on the cooler and extend through your heel drawing your left legup next to the right one.

• Reverse the movement to return to the ground by stepping down with the foot you lead with.

• Continue this movement by alternating each foot for the desired amount of repetitions.

• To increase difficulty, grab some weight and hold it in each hand while performing your step ups.


2. Bulgarian split squats  This is a great exercise to increase leg, glute, and hip strength as well helping to increase stability.

How to perform:

• Stand with your back to the cooler, your feet should be shoulder-width apart with your hands on your hips.

• Reach one leg behind you, placing your foot on top of the cooler.

• Keeping your torso upright, begin bending your forward knee to lower your torso toward the ground.

• Once your front leg forms a 90 degree angle, reverse the movement driving up through the heel to extend your leg to its starting position.

• Continue this exercise for several reps before switching to the other leg.


3. Decline push ups Push ups are a staple upper body exercise that help develop strength in our chest, shoulders, and triceps. In this case, I am performing the decline push-up to add a degree of difficulty and to show another variation of this movement! 

How to perform:

• Get in the standard pushup position with your hands positioned a little wider than shoulder width apart.

• Place each foot onto the edge of the cooler.

• Lower your body by bending your elbows to a 90 degree angle then straighten your arms to return back to your starting position. While lowering, keep shoulder blades retracted and squeeze your elbows in towards the side of the rib cage. This will provide stability and keep you in a more “shoulder-friendly” position!


  4. Tricep bench dips  Another common upper body movement that places more focus on strengthening the triceps while also working the shoulders and chest.

How to Perform:

• Sit on the cooler and position your hands shoulder width apart on the cooler.

• Slide your butt off of the front of the cooler and extend your legs out in front of you.

• Slowly bend your elbows, while keeping your back close to the cooler, lower your body toward the ground until your elbows are at 90 degrees. Again, keep your shoulder blades retracted in the “shoulder-friendly” position!

• Once elbows reach 90 degrees, press down into the cooler to straighten elbows and return to the starting position.

To get the most out of your workout in the least time, perform these exercises at a higher intensity with the use of timed AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) style workouts! Basically, an AMRAP workout consists of performing as many reps as possible of an exercise (or exercises) for a given amount of time. An example of a possible AMRAP using these exercises would be performing as many sets as possible of: 5 Bulgarian split squats on each leg, 10 push-ups, 10 step ups on each leg, and 10 tricep dips within 20 minutes.Another workout option would be a TABATA set. A TABATA set is a variation of an AMRAP style workout and is structured to have you perform an exercise hard for 20 seconds followed by rest for 10 seconds repeated for a total of 8 rounds. For example, I might decide to complete a TABATA set with push ups and step ups. What this entails is me completing as many reps as possible of push ups within the first 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest, and then completing as many step ups as possible in the next 20 seconds. This is repeated for a total of 8 rounds and a grand total of 3:50! Remember to use proper form and do not sacrifice form for extra reps. If you are feeling fatigued and it is affecting your form take a mini break!
Nikki Boxler
Nikki Boxler
Nikki Boxler grew up on a large dairy farm in Western New York and continues to reside there today. This setting has shaped her love of the outdoors and is how she developed a passion which drives her to spend as much time hunting and fishing as possible. For her, hunting is not about the kill, it is about the experience, the memories, the moments and having fun. Her most memorable adventures take place not only in the woods but also around the grill. Nikki thoroughly enjoys her role as co-host of Winchester Life.