Three Exercises to Help You Improve Physical Fitness Before the Big Day
Hey there! Today I want to talk to you about how to improve physical fitness before going up into the mountains or backcountry, and how to improve your shooting under stress.
These techniques will help you manage the shakiness that adrenaline can cause when you see the monster bull elk you’ve been tracking, or when you are in a situation of extreme physical exertion.
Now, for those of you down south — where there ain’t no mountains – who sit in your heated blinds, waiting for your buck to walk up to your bait so that you can shoot him from 10 or 20 yards away — this isn’t for you. You can go ahead and keep eating those donuts. Hey! No offense, I love Y’all too. But I’m talking about those hunts where you’re walking up and down mountains so steep only the goats can keep up with you. Or the trek deep into areas where the four wheelers don’t roam, and you can only get there by horse or on foot.
All joking, and ribbing aside, EVERYONE will benefit from these techniques.
What I’m talking about is being focused and committed enough in the offseason, to train hard so that when it comes time to make the trek into the backcountry and take that crucial shot, you will have the energy and ability to make it count.
My goal is to encourage you to take the necessary steps to prepare physically before the hunt. Here are some exercises to get you started.
Arms, Core, Legs
These exercises target three main areas of the body: Arms, Core, and Legs.
Let’s start with arms.
Whether or not you are bow hunting, rifle hunting or using black powder, you will use your arms frequently. This is why it is important to keep your arms strong and fit. Keeping your rifle steady for a clear shot is crucial! An exercise to help with this is one that you probably know or did in P.E. when you were in school.
Wait, push-ups? Yep! Push-ups.
Push-Ups are one of the easiest ways to keep your arms strong and fit. But I’m not talking about just doing push-ups alone. Doing push-ups in conjunction with target practice can make a world of difference.
Let me go into more detail.
For this exercise, you will want to be at the range.
Start with doing regular push-ups. Do 20 regular push-ups, shoulder width apart. Take a break.
Then do 20 more push-ups, but this time do them wide set. Spread your arms out wider than your shoulders. Stretch out until you have just enough length to do a proper push-up.
Then after that do another set of 20, but this time do them inside the shoulders. If you have broad shoulders, it might be difficult, but try as best you can to have your hands within shoulder length and then proceed to do 20 more push-ups.
After that, try taking a shot standing up. You should notice that it’s hard to steady your rifle or bow. This is good in that it resembles the shakiness your body will experience when it’s pumped up with adrenaline.
Note: If you don’t feel weak in the arms from all those push-ups, repeat the process until it is difficult for you to steady your weapon. (The object is to get fit while, learning to steady your shot.)
Next is Core.
Remember, it’s not the exercise itself necessarily, as it is the exercise in conjunction with taking a shot while trying to remain steady.
This one is simple. Do sit-ups until failure. Do sit-ups until you can no longer pull yourself up with your abdomen. Next, take a break and catch your breath.
Then lie back down and proceed to do butterfly kicks to the length of your favorite song. If you are unfamiliar with butterfly kicks, it’s simple. Simply lie down on your back with your hands by your sides. Then raise your feet 6 inches off the ground. Make sure that during this exercise that your feet never touch the ground. Then proceed to alternately raise one foot in the air and then the other. Kick the air alternately, keeping your feet 6 inches off the ground at the lowest point, until the song has ended. Once the song has ended, proceed to take a couple more shots, but this time try it while in the kneeling position. Be sure to try to be as accurate as possible and take your time to steady each shot.
Last is Legs.
If you are in an area that permits it, run or jog a mile (or at least for 15 minutes). The purpose is to get your heart beat up and going. Also, while running every quarter mile, or 5 minutes (whichever you are doing) stop and do five burpees. Now if you are unfamiliar with that, I will explain.
A burpee is an exercise that is a mix between a push-up, squat and a jump. Start off jumping to the ground, getting into the push-up position. Do a push-up. Then Jump to the squat position and then jump reaching up as far as you can. After you have done five burpees, run again. Do this every quarter mile or 5 minutes.
Once you have completed your run, try taking another shot. Only this time go back to standing.
Take time to carefully make an accurate shot. The purpose of this exercise is to train your body to make good habits while it is fatigued, so that when your blood is pumping, and you are excited you can still carefully place that shot in the right place.
Repeat this exercise until you no longer quiver after the exercises. Not only will you form good habits that improve the accuracy of your shooting, but you will also improve physical fitness in the process.
Also, check out our article on How To Get Physically Fit For The Apocolypse.