Your backcountry training regimen

OntarioHunter

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I am prepping for a Spring Grizzly back pack hunt in Alaska taking place very soon. My guide had some suggestions. I have been conditioning by: 15 and 20lb weights for arms couple times a week. 100 stair climbs with 10 Bulgarian split squats x3 twice a week. This alone will get your legs and cardio mountain ready. 3-4 mile hikes in local hills and mountains on Saturdays with 45lb+ backpack, add about 11 pounds with rifle, bino's and drinking water and a once a month with no pack but fast and hard strictly for cardio and legs. Half up hill, half down. (down hill with a pack is almost as hard in a different way) The one thing I have always done which I think had really made a significant difference is I do planks every other day without fail. 2 minutes. Started at 30 seconds a couple years ago, worked up to 2 minutes within 6 months. Can't go beyond 3 minutes or I start to shake too much. That is a butt kicker but if you want a strong core, none better. My back use to hurt constantly as I had back surgery 10 years ago. Now, hardly ever. I am 68 years old and these exercises have put me in better shape then I was at 48. My stomach is tight. No overhang of fat and I weigh 220lbs. No lie. In fact, it's addicting now. I like to condition and look forward to it. I am going to stop the entire regiment in 2 weeks as I have a month to go and will rest for the last 2 weeks. I am sore from conditioning almost everyday and do not want to be as sore when doing the real thing, so a 2 week break just before I go. I am as ready as I can be but when I started I never thought I would make it to this point. That's the benefit of starting months earlier. I want to emphasize....I have prepared mentally as well. I think about the hardest part of the hike and just watch myself walk thru it. I have a no quit mentality, always have, always will. IMO, mental conditioning is as important. I am prepared for long hours of glassing in crap weather. I have accepted it is going to be a challenge, but I thrive on challenge so I am good with that. I will do this as long as my body and mind are willing. A side benefit is I will continue this after the hunt as I like how I look and feel and am already planning my 2022 Griz hunt. The next one will most likely be an inland float hunt in a rubber raft which is considered an easy hunt unlike the back pack hunt.
Is spring bear hunts still just every other year up there?

I am also 68 and impressed with your regimen. Not sure if it wouldn't be overkill for what/where I hunt. Pardon my ignorance but what are "planks." I get a little soft every spring but lose 15-20 lbs in hunting season. Fortunate to have nothing to do but hunt and fish. My dogs drop a lot of weight every fall. Have to be careful and work my way into it or I'll pay for it. Plantar fasciitis a couple of years ago was a bitch. Unfortunately, I'm an upland junkie with too little self control. I usually don't slow down till the dogs' feet are bleeding. Here's Ellie after seven weeks of hard hunting in Montana last fall. 20201209_143210.jpg
 

RSET

Member
Joined
May 8, 2020
Messages
31
I am prepping for a Spring Grizzly back pack hunt in Alaska taking place very soon. My guide had some suggestions. I have been conditioning by: 15 and 20lb weights for arms couple times a week. 100 stair climbs with 10 Bulgarian split squats x3 twice a week. This alone will get your legs and cardio mountain ready. 3-4 mile hikes in local hills and mountains on Saturdays with 45lb+ backpack, add about 11 pounds with rifle, bino's and drinking water and a once a month with no pack but fast and hard strictly for cardio and legs. Half up hill, half down. (down hill with a pack is almost as hard in a different way) The one thing I have always done which I think had really made a significant difference is I do planks every other day without fail. 2 minutes. Started at 30 seconds a couple years ago, worked up to 2 minutes within 6 months. Can't go beyond 3 minutes or I start to shake too much. That is a butt kicker but if you want a strong core, none better. My back use to hurt constantly as I had back surgery 10 years ago. Now, hardly ever. I am 68 years old and these exercises have put me in better shape then I was at 48. My stomach is tight. No overhang of fat and I weigh 220lbs. No lie. In fact, it's addicting now. I like to condition and look forward to it. I am going to stop the entire regiment in 2 weeks as I have a month to go and will rest for the last 2 weeks. I am sore from conditioning almost everyday and do not want to be as sore when doing the real thing, so a 2 week break just before I go. I am as ready as I can be but when I started I never thought I would make it to this point. That's the benefit of starting months earlier. I want to emphasize....I have prepared mentally as well. I think about the hardest part of the hike and just watch myself walk thru it. I have a no quit mentality, always have, always will. IMO, mental conditioning is as important. I am prepared for long hours of glassing in crap weather. I have accepted it is going to be a challenge, but I thrive on challenge so I am good with that. I will do this as long as my body and mind are willing. A side benefit is I will continue this after the hunt as I like how I look and feel and am already planning my 2022 Griz hunt. The next one will most likely be an inland float hunt in a rubber raft which is considered an easy hunt unlike the back pack hunt.
Gettin $h&@ done! Love the commitment. Just what I was looking for. Good luck on the hunt(s).
 

RAZ

New member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
9
Is spring bear hunts still just every other year up there?

I am also 68 and impressed with your regimen. Not sure if it wouldn't be overkill for what/where I hunt. Pardon my ignorance but what are "planks." I get a little soft every spring but lose 15-20 lbs in hunting season. Fortunate to have nothing to do but hunt and fish. My dogs drop a lot of weight every fall. Have to be careful and work my way into it or I'll pay for it. Plantar fasciitis a couple of years ago was a bitch. Unfortunately, I'm an upland junkie with too little self control. I usually don't slow down till the dogs' feet are bleeding. Here's Ellie after seven weeks of hard hunting in Montana last fall. View attachment 181214
 

RAZ

New member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
9
Nice dog. Got 3 myself. Planks are laying prone on the ground. Then rising on your forearms and tip toes and holding that position level, don't hump up your butt. It is a hard exercise imo but it pays big dividends and fast. Google a picture of it. I use to alternate one arm at a time but that put too much pressure on my previously injured shoulders. So I stick to a regular plank now. I found when I got in better shape, the less I was prone to injury. I was 45 lbs heavier then i am now just 3 years ago, that made a big difference. I use to weigh 265 and too much fat. I am built big anyhow, but that extra loss of weight made a big difference. I do the 16 hour fast and it works for me. It was hard at first but now it's my routine and I do not miss breakfast in the least. Of course, I still have to watch my caloric intake. If I could kick my red wine habit, I would lose more, but hey....I am not willing to do that! I just don't eat junk food instead. I have had many injuries in my days. More surgeries then most people will ever have. It use to slow me down, but no more. I even lost my achilles tendon in an injury and had to have a transplant. I walk fine, but have to watch the rub on that area as there is a large bulge there from muscle transplant as when the achilles was gone, there is nothing there but bone. That one slowed me down for about 5 years but I recovered just fine and when Doc said I would most likely walk with a limp, I said F...that! No one would ever know by watching me walk. I walk just fine, I just have to watch boot doesn't rubbing that area raw. Basically, I am saying I was motivated to prove naysayers wrong. So for me, it's a personal journey to stay in good physical condition. I use to train in MMA, not as a fighter, but the same work outs. A guy name Glover Teixiera, currently a Light heavyweight contender in the UFC, trained me one on one and got me in shape. I blew my back out 10 years ago, at a gym where Glover trained called the PIT. That is the only reason I don't do that now. That was just another set back that I did not let get me down. Life is what we make it.
 

OntarioHunter

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Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
1,426
Nice dog. Got 3 myself. Planks are laying prone on the ground. Then rising on your forearms and tip toes and holding that position level, don't hump up your butt. It is a hard exercise imo but it pays big dividends and fast. Google a picture of it. I use to alternate one arm at a time but that put too much pressure on my previously injured shoulders. So I stick to a regular plank now. I found when I got in better shape, the less I was prone to injury. I was 45 lbs heavier then i am now just 3 years ago, that made a big difference. I use to weigh 265 and too much fat. I am built big anyhow, but that extra loss of weight made a big difference. I do the 16 hour fast and it works for me. It was hard at first but now it's my routine and I do not miss breakfast in the least. Of course, I still have to watch my caloric intake. If I could kick my red wine habit, I would lose more, but hey....I am not willing to do that! I just don't eat junk food instead. I have had many injuries in my days. More surgeries then most people will ever have. It use to slow me down, but no more. I even lost my achilles tendon in an injury and had to have a transplant. I walk fine, but have to watch the rub on that area as there is a large bulge there from muscle transplant as when the achilles was gone, there is nothing there but bone. That one slowed me down for about 5 years but I recovered just fine and when Doc said I would most likely walk with a limp, I said F...that! No one would ever know by watching me walk. I walk just fine, I just have to watch boot doesn't rubbing that area raw. Basically, I am saying I was motivated to prove naysayers wrong. So for me, it's a personal journey to stay in good physical condition. I use to train in MMA, not as a fighter, but the same work outs. A guy name Glover Teixiera, currently a Light heavyweight contender in the UFC, trained me one on one and got me in shape. I blew my back out 10 years ago, at a gym where Glover trained called the PIT. That is the only reason I don't do that now. That was just another set back that I did not let get me down. Life is what we make it.
Yep. Give er hell. You only have life once. A sin to not make the best of it. Good for you.
 

DouglasR

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Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
944
Location
East central, Il
Things like this.
#coachshaul #shaultainstrong #tacticalchad
#shaultainofski
#direstraights
#shittalkingprofessionals
#soflo #flogrown
#hashtagbowhunting
#thereason

seriously tho, my waterskiing’s gone to shit.
After spending some time with my feet jammed into ski boots that are clicked into my bindings that have the din set at 💯 it feels like these things are gonna fly off my feet.
 

WillDean

Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
49
Location
SW MT
I'm very curious how one goes backpack hunting without actually carrying a backpack. An example. Lets say you go on a 5 day hunt, you only walk around in the daylight, and daylight is 12 hours per day. So that's 60 hours of hikeable time. 0.01% x 60 hours = 36 minutes...and that's round trip, so 18 minutes each way. This would imply that your camp is at most about 1 mile from the truck. Also this would imply you didn't kill anything that you had to carry out, which is reasonable since you're 18 whole minutes from the truck.

A reasonable daypack with weapon, optics, clothes, and food is 20 pounds. 20 pounds on your back at 11,000ft is definitely noticeable. Most backpack hunters never go anywhere without their day pack.

I do agree that carrying heavy weight all year will just beat your knees and shins to pieces. Staying in shape year round helps a lot, but that can just be staying strong and not fat. Crushing cardio in February for a September hunt is totally useless. Unless you're a big ol fat guy that needs to cut a bunch of weight, just lift weights year round then ramp up the cardio 4-6 weeks prior to a hunt for conditioning. It takes far less time to build cardiovascular fitness than physical strength and muscle.

Above all, mental toughness will get you farther than physical fitness. However pushing yourself with physical training also builds mental toughness.
My rifle season elk day pack with my gun is around 12 pounds, which I would consider not much weight. 12 pounds compared to people training with a 60 pound pack is barely any weight at all. If you’re mountains fit, carrying a 12-20 pound pack all day is no big deal.

My approach to staying fit for elk hunting is not my own. It is informed from a lifetime of mountaineering and studying the physiology of training for climbing mountains. Crushing cardio in February for a September elk hunt is exactly what you should be doing. It takes FAR less time to build strength and muscle than it does cardio fitness. Again, not my opinion but the evidence-based practice of people that have made a living off training elite mountain athletes—cross country skiers, mountaineers, etc. Research Steve House, Scott Johnston, Uphill Athlete, etc.

Now if your idea of archery elk hunting is tooling around the mountains three days a year then disregard what I’m saying. But if your idea of hunting is getting up day after day after day at 3 in the morning and hiking and calling til the sun goes down, and waking up the next day feeling full of energy, then many hours of low and high intensity hiking should be the backbone of your training regimen.
 

Wallydeuce

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2021
Messages
38
Location
NV
There is a small mountain not far from my home that has a 12' flat trail around it. Total distance is 2.3 miles with about 300' of vertical, most within the first quarter mile or so. If I want to crush it, I do the "loop" in about 50 minutes with about 25 pounds in my pack. Half way around, there's a nasty trail to the peak. It's about another 600' of vertical in less than half a mile. It's steep and slippery gravel on rocks. The reward is a decent view of the Las Vegas valley. Below is the view from a windy two days ago. If you have something similar that's close to where you live, a trap on a weighted pack and hit it often.

Best of luck with your plans.
 

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wllm1313

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Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
10,700
Location
Manetheren
Things like this.
#coachshaul #shaultainstrong #tacticalchad
#shaultainofski
#direstraights
#shittalkingprofessionals
#soflo #flogrown
#hashtagbowhunting
#thereason

seriously tho, my waterskiing’s gone to shit.
After spending some time with my feet jammed into ski boots that are clicked into my bindings that have the din set at 💯 it feels like these things are gonna fly off my feet.
You trailering that out here or I’m a flying there?

The HO tournament skis these days have buckles on the boots 😳
 

Rzrbck918

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Joined
Aug 13, 2016
Messages
1,277
Location
Bixby Oklahoma
And what innovative ways do Sea Level folks prepare high altitude?
There is no practical way to prepare for high elevations if you live at lower levels. As someone who resides at 653 feet above sea level and camps over 9k in NM, the best thing you can do is be in good shape where you are and you will acclimate faster when you get where you are going. Cardio is key and I don't try to prep for carrying out an animal I only try to prep to carry what I will pack daily.
 

dgc1963

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Feb 17, 2019
Messages
620
Did 3 miles this morning on 45 degree hill up n down 45 min with 25 lbs in pack soon to add weight
 
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SaskHunter

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Aug 7, 2018
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Saskatchewan
My training regimen includes, but is not limited to, walking 6k with a pack filled with the family's stuff, a lunch and with one of two kids on my shoulders while my wife drags behind with the other kid who is "toooooooooo tiirrreeeeddddd". During the hike I make several reps of lifting the kids as they argue over who will be on dad's shoulders.

In the end, it's all worth it when you get to see things like this with your family:
20210501_135911.jpg
 

thebestusernamesaretaken

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Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Messages
155
My training regimen includes, but is not limited to, walking 6k with a pack filled with the family's stuff, a lunch and with one of two kids on my shoulders while my wife drags behind with the other kid who is "toooooooooo tiirrreeeeddddd". During the hike I make several reps of lifting the kids as they argue over who will be on dad's shoulders.

In the end, it's all worth it when you get to see things like this with your family:
View attachment 182214
No legggs Daddy! No legggggs!
 

stevejfarms

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Dec 25, 2017
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170
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SE Mo
Today I cleaned up the dead tree I cut down yesterday that exploded when it hit the ground. Then I drank 10 bud lights and smoked about 20 salem lights ( the menthol helps you breathe at altitude).
 

Bozone

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Joined
May 7, 2012
Messages
201
Location
Bozeman
Curious to see how others are training for backcountry hunts this year. Have a coveted archery elk tag this year so extra motivated to embrace the suck.
While not "hunting athlete" related (thank baby jeebus), I have been using this program and finding that it works well. The people behind Uphill Athlete are very climbing/mountain running/alpinism focused, and their methodology is based on decades of research and real world use. I like to ice climb in the winter and hike/backpack in the summer, so this works well for hunting come fall.
The plan is nothing fancy and you won't be doing any ass-clown kipping pullups or backflip burpees while butt-chugging Bearded Warrior-Operator-Berry-Raid-Power-Drink. It uses tried and true exercises that build your legs and aerobic capacity. That's it. It keeps me on track and progressing as well as accountable, as I get a reminder on the days I need to stop whining and do the workout. I find when I try and "hike a lot with weight" on my own or when I feel like it, I either don't progress well through the season, or I overdo it and burn out or tweak something. It is the progression and incremental work that seems to work well for me.
 

AlaskaHunter

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Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
830
Location
interior Alaska
I am fortunate to live in the hills and backpack all winter long on the neighborhood dirt roads,
doing a loop to and from the house.
At 64, all I do is long distance hikes without a pack alternated with shorter hilly hikes with a pack.
For me, endurance is most important and that takes time.

Nice to be retired, as I used to do the weekday hikes by headlamp in the dark before or after work,
now its in the afternoon.
MorningDogWalk.jpg
 

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