Training tips (not intended to be argumentative)

mtwarden

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I don't want to be dismissive, but backcountry hiking/hunting is just strenuous walking. There is almost no skill whatsoever to the activity.
I don't want to be dismissive, out fo curiosity howe much backcountry hiking and hunting experience do you have?
 
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Maverick1

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So the first major misconception I have seen is the notion that the best way to train for backpacking is....to backpack! WRONG.

While you are certainly not doing yourself any harm or disservice by training that way, you are not by any means maximizing the efficiency of your training. Consider this...if you live anywhere below, say, 3k elevation and then travel to 8k+ elevation, literally everything you do will be harder at 8k than it was at sea level. So, if you are training for a hunt by simply replicating as close as possible the activity you will be doing at elevation, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Hiking at elevation will always be harder than climbing stairs at sea level. Even if you are doing it with increased weight at sea level.

The goal of any successful training program is to train at intensity levels that are significantly HIGHER than your actual activity. I don't want to be dismissive, but backcountry hiking/hunting is just strenuous walking. There is almost no skill whatsoever to the activity. We all do it everyday (hopefully) and our species has literally evolved to be efficient walkers. We are physiologically designed to walk. Not stand, not sit; walk. All of the skill in hiking/hunting pertains to non-fitness items (following a trail, map reading, reading/recognizing game sign, general mountain safety, survival skills, packing technique, etc.).

I said earlier I am new to hunting...I am not new to hiking/camping. The most strenuous hike is not nearly as cardio intense of an activity as, for example, playing full court basketball at full speed for 1-2 hours. Or climbing several thousand feet of singletrack MTB. Or playing a couple intense games of ultimate frisbee. Or kayaking miles of rapids, etc.

Training your cardio system by any of the above mentioned examples will absolutely have your cardio capacity at a higher level than simply rukking. Again, no argument against incorporating rukking into your regimen.

Just saying, if you think for a moment that a college basketball player couldn't throw on a 40# backpack and hike for 5-10 miles with ease, or if you think an amateur cyclist couldn't hop off the bike and run a 10k at a pretty fast clip without any "specific" training, you have misread the literature.

At the end of the day, backcountry hiking/hunting falls into the general fitness category and will have very significant benefits from all forms of cardio training. There is nothing especially unique or demanding (other than altitude) about hiking that requires you to hike as practice. The reason basketball players practice by playing basketball, or boxers practice boxing, or sprinters run sprints, rowers row, etc. is because they are practicing the unique skills, technique, form, etc. that is demanded by their sport to be at the elite level. None of that applies to hiking. It is just basic strength, cardio, and balance.

Which brings me to the second misconception....strength training.
Have you ever hunted in the mountains?
 

Tpeterson18

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Very surprised to see a Rippetoe mention. Some of his stuff is goofy, but I'm coming from a Weightlifting (the sport) background. Lots of good information on here. Unsure why there is confusion on a lot of this regarding the OP.

Squat. Deadlift. Row. Run. And make sure your back is jacked.
 
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Mike from MO

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For the most part, no, you probably don’t stand to benefit from doing higher rep ranges if your goal is purely performance based. Some strength coaches do like to do short hypertrophy cycles for upper body strength (usually refers to in this context as “power building” as opposed to “bodybuilding”), but 5 reps seems to sufficiently combine just enough hypertrophy with just enough intensity to stimulate sufficient increase in muscle size that is an inevitable part of getting stronger. When you drop down to triples, you’re not getting much of any hypertrophy. In fact, some coaches argue that triples are “expressions” of strength closer to a heavy single or a 1 rep max than that of actual training sets. That could have some variance for individuals, but the fact remains that a person likley wont get very far in their training only doing triples (or only doing singles, for that matter), since you do need a blend of hypertrophy to get stronger and that’s why sets of 5 reign supreme in the strength game. Most established strength programs are built around sets of 5 even if they involve other two schemas.

Higher rep range (aka hypertrophy) is more for increasing the size of the muscle but not necessarily strength (or performance). Not to say that you won’t get stronger, but strength is not the primary outcome of that type of training. If you desire to have a pair of aesthetically pleasing looking arms, beach muscles or the likes, then, yes, you should be doing hypertrophy training in some capacity.

The exception here would be certain assistance exercises such as chins ups, pull ups, curls, tricep extensions etc. those muscles are getting sufficiently trained for strength doing compound movements but may benefit from some extra size since they are relatively smaller muscle groups. For example, chins ups or pullups are accessory movement to the deadlift. Your upper back certainly gets strong performing the deadlift, but your upper back will eventually benefit from some increased size as well. Biceps get sufficiently trained for strength doing virtually everything with a barbell, but a trainee’s elbow health may benefit from having bigger/stronger biceps and/or they may help squeeze out a few extra chinup reps to further train the back. Similar for triceps accessories as they relate to pressing i.e an intermediate trainee might include lying tricep extensions or dips in sets of 8-10 instead of 5s and 3s that they bench press with.

I’ll also add that while variation is tempting, most successful/respected/established strength programs stick to the same basic movements with the variation coming in the form of intensity and volume. If you’re just going to the gym and doing “whatever” (whatever you think, whatever you feel etc) until you’re get bored and then Doing something else, then You are not training, you are exercising, which is fine if that’s what you want to do, but if you want to make the most out of your time in the gym and continue to get stronger over a plane of times, especially as you age, then You should consider finding a quality program and following it as intended.
Variation can be stimulating, but variation for the sake of variation doesn’t tend to produce consistent results. By its own design, it can’t because it’s not Consistent in application of stress.
Great post!
 
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Mike from MO

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Is time being taken into consideration in everyone’s advice. If I had all the time in the world, I’d definitely lifts weights. Seeing that currently I only have my lunch break to workout, strength training is not going to cut it for me. There’s no way anyone is going to convince me that weight lifting with long waits between sets is an efficient (from a time management perspective) way to stay in shape. I don’t care what I can squat, dead lift, or bench. I’ll out hike the world record holder in all three lifts.


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Time is ABSOLUTELY being taken into consideration, as I mentioned in the original posts...that was one of my major points is that I can get into and/or maintain phenomenal hiking shape without having to go out and hike 10-20 miles. I would encourage anyone reading this to try doing a HIGH INTENSITY kettlebell workout for a couple weeks and see how they feel. I never suggested only doing heavy lifts with long waits in between as your sole training. But I promise you, and I have lived this in real life, that I (as someone who never jogs) can go out and keep up with any of my friends that are runners on a 10k tomorrow with a 7-8 minute mile pace. I've literally done that before.
 
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Mike from MO

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We are lucky to have some super knowledgeable guys on this site with regard to strength training. 5x5 is an excellent plan. I still agree with the comment that “l‘ll out hike the world record holder in all three lifts”. I guess I would ask the obvious expert strength guys, am I missing what you are saying or do you really believe that just a 5x5 program alone is the best preparation for backcountry hunting? Thanks for all the strength training info!
Sorry for delayed responses to all these--accidentally quited notifications!

In answer to this, specific question: NO, only doing 5x5 is not the best preparation. All my original posts emphasized extensive core lifts, i.e. CORE WHORE. Core meaning your body's core, not "core lifts" as in bench, deadlift, squat.

If someone is looking for the single silver bullet for effective mountain training, I would say a high intensity kettlebell workout, where you continue to push yourself and increase the weight of the kettlebell over time. I linked a couple of them in my earlier posts, but check out "Bodyfit by Amy" on youtube. She has a ton of kettlebell videos and they are all great, and if you use a heavy enough weight those workouts kick your ass in as little as 10 minutes.

Personally, I enjoy strength training just like another thread I read where the OP liked running. He likes it, so he's going to incorporate it more than maybe is "ideal" and I will do more strength training than is "necessary" but those are just personal preferences.

IF ANYONE READING THIS TAKES NOTHING ELSE AWAY FROM ANYTHING I'VE POSTED, PLEASE TRY A HIGH INTENSITY KETTLEBELL WORKOUT FOR 2-3X PER WEEK FOR A MONTH AND JUST SEE FOR YOURSELF HOW YOU FEEL. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!
 
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Mike from MO

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I rarely have more than 30 minutes and definitely no time to drive to a gym. I’m able to excel at everything that is important to me. Lifting heavy weight is not one of those things.


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No one, at least not me, was trying to tell you your priorities or capabilities. I don't know you from Adam. I offered specific training advice for mountain hunts for anyone that is interested. If you are locked and loaded, not sure why you are even reading or commenting here...?

A large part of my post, in fact, was explicitly intended for the time-constrained individual who doesn't want to commit hours and hours to the gym.
 

*zap*

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The best ruck training program I have come across is this (originally got this from a post by Coach Chris), program was developed from studies by nato on rucking.

Detailed:


Video overview:

The video also discusses the importance of proper gait (biomechanics) while rucking @15:30.
 
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Mike from MO

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The vast majority of us would at any given time. It allows you to carry heavier loads. It increases the amount of time until muscle failure. It protects your back, knees, and other weak points from potential injury. It makes your bones stronger. It makes your body more efficient at recovery. It even boosts your immune system. It teaches how to know the limitations of you’re body. It makes you harder to kill. Its practical, functional and mentally toughening. You should really be strength training and you know it.
Fantastic! That's about as concise and well-written as it gets!

I will expand on that to say that a lot of the rebuttals or support for hiking as training for hiking is some version of "you need to get your joints used to it" which is inaccurate. If you have total body strength, and it is PROPORTIONAL strength (most people, even those that strength train tend to have an underdeveloped posterior chain (specifically hammies and lower back) relative to their quads and upper body), your musculature actually should be absorbing most of the impact from hiking. When I am descending or ascending steep terrain, I can literally feel my hamstrings and glutes absorbing most of the force on the descent, and feel my glutes and quads exerting on the ascent. I have very little joint soreness on a hiking/camping trip even without doing any specific "hike" training.

I am turning 38 this year and your comments re: injuries and aging are especially apt. See the same thing all the time....
 
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Mike from MO

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More important than that. I coach my kids sports teams, bring them outdoors, try to be a good husband, take care of my house, and work more than full time to pay the bills. Human performance is a complicated subject, and whenever someone comes in like the OP talking X’s and O’s and black and white textbook stuff, I just can’t keep my mouth shut.
Sorry


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Guy--that is awesome! I am the OP and I did everything I could to make it clear I was not "coming in on my high horse" but I guess it was not enough. That was never the intent. I am a father of two young girls as well (5 & 3). I have coached one season of soccer, and hope to do a lot more of it in the future. My whole post was intended for people like myself....I want to maximize the EFFICIENCY of my training. That's all I was trying to offer advice/perspective on. My point was you can prepare yourself to be in great shape for hunting WITHOUT having to commit tons of hours to hiking/conditioning.

If you are happy with your program, stick with it by all means!
 

jorgensen.travis

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No one, at least not me, was trying to tell you your priorities or capabilities. I don't know you from Adam. I offered specific training advice for mountain hunts for anyone that is interested. If you are locked and loaded, not sure why you are even reading or commenting here...?

A large part of my post, in fact, was explicitly intended for the time-constrained individual who doesn't want to commit hours and hours to the gym.
My routine is actually what you are now suggesting. An intense kettlebell routine, along with body weight stuff for 30 minutes. Don’t really get the part about why I would read or comment. If I’m supposed to be a guy who thinks I have it all licked and shouldn’t be researching any further, that’s not me. I try to keep an open mind and continue to learn. That doesn’t mean I’m going to throw out experience for regurgitated book knowledge though.


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Mike from MO

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I don't want to be dismissive, out fo curiosity howe much backcountry hiking and hunting experience do you have?
I made clear in my posts this will be my first HUNTING trip but I have been hiking and camping for 20ish years. Your quote of me takes it out of context, as I went on to say, there is a TON of skill involved in backcountry hunting, but the SKILL part is primarily non-fitness stuff (glassing, reading sign, preparedness, mountain awareness, survival skills, shooting accuracy, navigation skills etc. etc.). Fitness should be the easiest part of anyone's hunt. I'm most definitely not saying that it IS the easiest part, but that it SHOULD be.
 
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Mike from MO

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My routine is actually what you are now suggesting. An intense kettlebell routine, along with body weight stuff for 30 minutes. Don’t really get the part about why I would read or comment. If I’m supposed to be a guy who thinks I have it all licked and shouldn’t be researching any further, that’s not me. I try to keep an open mind and continue to learn. That doesn’t mean I’m going to throw out experience for regurgitated book knowledge though.


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Great! I am glad my "regurgitated book knowledge" aligns with your reality.

My OP was not operating under the constraints of "I only have 25 minutes available in my day and I am unable/unwilling to train at the gym" Had that been the universal constraint of everyone reading my post, I would have gone straight to kettlebells and stopped there. My posts were designed for a broader audience, most of which are able to carve out at least an hour a couple times a week and already have gym memberships. I did say in my OPs that I do HIIT/tabata kettlebell workouts usually 2x/week in addition to the more traditional strength training. All of my training sessions rarely exceed 45 minutes, many are 5-25 minutes.

As an aside, heavy kettlebells will increase your bench/squat/deadlift ability, so you actually are getting stronger in those lifts even if you are not specifically training them. The Russians pioneered kettlebells and were notoriously some of the strongest individuals in the world exclusively training with kettlebells (and probably a bunch of steroids, but that's besides the point :ROFLMAO: ).
 
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Mike from MO

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Great! I am glad my "regurgitated book knowledge" aligns with your reality.

My OP was not operating under the constraints of "I only have 25 minutes available in my day and I am unable/unwilling to train at the gym" Had that been the universal constraint of everyone reading my post, I would have gone straight to kettlebells and stopped there. My posts were designed for a broader audience, most of which are able to carve out at least an hour a couple times a week and already have gym memberships. I did say in my OPs that I do HIIT/tabata kettlebell workouts usually 2x/week in addition to the more traditional strength training. All of my training sessions rarely exceed 45 minutes, many are 5-25 minutes.

As an aside, heavy kettlebells will increase your bench/squat/deadlift ability, so you actually are getting stronger in those lifts even if you are not specifically training them. The Russians pioneered kettlebells and were notoriously some of the strongest individuals in the world.
Yesterday, for example, I did a very quick workout in the morning before I took my shower:

5 turkish get ups (TGU) w/ right arm (30# kettlebell)
5 burpees
5 TGU left
5 burpees
5 TGU right
5 burpees
5 TGU left
5 burpees

15 russian twists w/ 30# kettlebell
15 v-ups with 30# kettlebell

No breaks between any of it.

Whole thing took less than 10 minutes and then I hopped in the shower and got ready for work.
 

jorgensen.travis

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Great! I am glad my "regurgitated book knowledge" aligns with your reality.

My OP was not operating under the constraints of "I only have 25 minutes available in my day and I am unable/unwilling to train at the gym" Had that been the universal constraint of everyone reading my post, I would have gone straight to kettlebells and stopped there. My posts were designed for a broader audience, most of which are able to carve out at least an hour a couple times a week and already have gym memberships. I did say in my OPs that I do HIIT/tabata kettlebell workouts usually 2x/week in addition to the more traditional strength training. All of my training sessions rarely exceed 45 minutes, many are 5-25 minutes.

As an aside, heavy kettlebells will increase your bench/squat/deadlift ability, so you actually are getting stronger in those lifts even if you are not specifically training them. The Russians pioneered kettlebells and were notoriously some of the strongest individuals in the world exclusively training with kettlebells (and probably a bunch of steroids, but that's besides the point :ROFLMAO: ).
I wasn’t referring to what you said as regurgitated book Knowledge. Just making a broad statement.


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Maverick1

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Some good information, thanks for sharing.

OP - as this is your first elk hunt, please come back and update this thread after your hunt (or create another thread), sharing any lessons learned, things that went well, and things that did not go as planned.
 
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Mike from MO

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Some good information, thanks for sharing.

OP - as this is your first elk hunt, please come back and update this thread after your hunt (or create another thread), sharing any lessons learned, things that went well, and things that did not go as planned.
Most definitely!
 
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