Year round we all watch people buzz in and out of the talking about making sure they are in shape for summer swimsuit season or an upcoming wedding, but we love to work out for a whole different reason: to make sure we’re ready for big game bow hunting season. Many people who are new to archery or bow hunting are learning precisely how exhausting the sport can be. Many people assume you just stand and shoot, but that is definitely not the case. You need your body to be ready to track your elk up hills, down slopes, over ridges, and also be prepared to follow the signal on your Pro-Tracker, ultimate tracking and recovery system, for miles on foot. Which is why it is so important to maintain good physical shape year round, but it is especially important as we approach the big game season. So, in order to help make sure you don’t huff and puff your way through your fall hunts, here are some of our favorite ways to make sure you’re in shape for the big game season.
The First Month
Some people may say that it is still early to worry about getting into shape for the season, but as with all exercise it is important to give your body time to adjust and to not rush getting it ready. Most people recommend giving yourself at least 12 weeks prior to your first hunt to start getting ready, but we feel like the more time you give yourself the better. One sure fire way to help your body get into gear is actually by walking. Walking is the primary way you maneuver out on a hunt, so the more ready you are for a good long trek the better off you will be. A brisk walk for 45-60 minutes 3 times a week is a perfect way to jump start your metabolism; want to get more out of your walk? Then add in hills of varying sizes. Once you’ve gotten into a good walking routine (after 1-2 weeks), then it’s time to add in strength days. You want to make sure to do core work every strength day complete with crunches and planks, then alternate your arm and leg days. Having good arms is incredibly important when bow hunting, but having a strong core will make sure that your bow is held steady during your shot.
By 3-4 weeks into your routine, you should be feeling quite a bit better, which means it’s time to step things up again. This is a perfect time to increase your walks to jogs and to also start doing some interval training as well. In order to optimize your workout, we recommend jogging for 1-2 minutes, walking for a minute, and then jogging again. After 10 minutes or so, rather than walking add in squats or lunges for 5 minutes; after 10 minutes return to your jog/ rest combination and repeat each set twice. You’ll still want to maintain your strength training, but now you’ll want to make sure to include your core workout (and planks) every day. Now is where things start to get tricky, you’re going to want to find one steep hill and once a week jog up the hill, then walk down; and repeat for at least 20-30 minutes. This is going to make you extremely tired, but we guarantee that come hunting season, this will make hilly terrain a breeze.
Add Some Weight!
Now a month has gone by and we are really cooking. You should feel much better, fatigue less and be showing a good amount of strength throughout your body; which means it’s time to keep cruising. Remember, when you hunt you also get to tote a pack with you and you also may or may not need to pack your animal out. So, bust out your hunting pack and load it up with either your gear or weights that should approximate your normal load. Now that you’re all strapped up like a pack mule we’re going to go head out and do the same workout you’ve been doing. We should mention here that due to the pack, you will get tired and you may not be able to complete your normal routine. That is perfectly okay! Do as your body asks and rest when needed. If you need, go back to your earlier workouts with your pack and build up your endurance to where you can do your intervals, hills, and jogs with your pack. The goal here is to be able to move your normal routine up to a steady jog/run for about 45 minutes at a time and to be able to sprint up your hills when you encounter them.
Don’t Forget to Shoot
If you keep up this routine you will be in tip top shape, but there is one more thing (besides crunches and planks) that needs to be done every single day without fail to get you ready: shooting. You’ll want to take your bow out and practice for a good 30 minutes or more every day. Not only will this help to perfect your aim, it will ensure your shooting muscles are up to snuff. When you start out, focus more on just shooting that perfecting your aim; once your muscles are strengthened and your muscle memory is solid, perfecting your aim will become the main priority. Don’t forget to take a rest day once a week and remember to stretch! We look forward to seeing all of you looking great and ready to hunt come fall!