What’s does your fitness routine look like to get in(and stay in) elk hunting shape?

crich

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Stair stepper is good but nowhere near as good as an actual hill with your pack on. Stadium or bleacher steps are a great compromise. Anything to increase your vo2 max is good. I added more cardio and 45min of stairstepper to my M-F 5x5 weightlifting routine 6 months out from my first hunt. I was ready to conquer any mountain colorado had (so I thought). Going from sea level to 9k feet the altitude kicked my *** the first day!!

Same as M-wig above... I just couldn't catch my breath. Quickly acclimated after day 2 though.
 

*zap*

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best to just stay in very good physical condition and at a good bodyweight with low fat and good lean muscle mass...don't overlook swimming for cardio, especially if your swimming correctly. Freestyle swimming will allow you to limit your breathing as necessary for gains in 'wind'.....you can breath every 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 strokes.....according to where you are at and improve your on demand wind for shorter tougher demands without all the stress of sprinting/hiit. Swimming hard laps is actually a hiit exercise but your body debilitates less because the water keep you cooler and it is better for your wind because you cannot breath constantly......if your swimming correctly and limiting your breathing....have fun.
 

20DYNAMITE07

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Stair stepper is good but nowhere near as good as an actual hill with your pack on. Stadium or bleacher steps are a great compromise. Anything to increase your vo2 max is good. I added more cardio and 45min of stairstepper to my M-F 5x5 weightlifting routine 6 months out from my first hunt. I was ready to conquer any mountain colorado had (so I thought). Going from sea level to 9k feet the altitude kicked my *** the first day!!

Same as M-wig above... I just couldn't catch my breath. Quickly acclimated after day 2 though.

I'm in terrible shape, so I wont give fitness advice... but I will 100% endorse this. I've transitioned between sea-level and high altitude hundreds of times in my life, and even when I was in the best shape of my life, going to altitude, particularly 8K and above is NO joke.

If you cannot train at altitude, at least try to simulate it to an extent or visit it repeatedly before your trip so you can get an idea how it will impact you. If none of these are possible, arrive at your camp site as many days in advance as you can to give your body a chance to acclimate.

Good luck!!!!
 

trophyhill

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I hate doing cardio, running, working out etc. I have a barbell and a couple dumbells and one of those ab roller thingamabobs, but that’s about it. And those have an inch of dust on them. But when it’s go time, I show up early and stay late as if I’ve been working out all year. Crazy huh?
 
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Coffindaffer

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Reviving this thing one last time.

Also wanted to say thank you for everyones input. This has been great.


Does anyone regularly work in any kind of yoga or other stretching focused activities? I feel like you can be super strong, have great cardio conditioning, but if you're stiff, you're going to get your ass kicked or get injured. Whats everyone do to stay "nimble"?
 

Grant K

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Reviving this thing one last time.

Also wanted to say thank you for everyones input. This has been great.


Does anyone regularly work in any kind of yoga or other stretching focused activities? I feel like you can be super strong, have great cardio conditioning, but if you're stiff, you're going to get your ass kicked or get injured. Whats everyone do to stay "nimble"?
yoga is a good way to figure out if you can actually use your strength in odd positions, I do less than I should but I've never regretted it, I also try to do balance intensive exercises as much as possible, Turkish get ups and box steps while holding a weight in one hand are great...
 

AaronMColeman

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Reviving this thing one last time.

Also wanted to say thank you for everyones input. This has been great.


Does anyone regularly work in any kind of yoga or other stretching focused activities? I feel like you can be super strong, have great cardio conditioning, but if you're stiff, you're going to get your ass kicked or get injured. Whats everyone do to stay "nimble"?
I live at 8000' and hunt basically where I live so that is a HUGE advantage.

I do a lot of Yoga. I feel like it has helped me more than anything. The stretching and breathing help me a lot. I focus on my breath as I hike and it helps me with my cardio, just paying attention to my movement and breath. Yoga also focuses on core and balancing muscles. Turns out both are super important when hiking in the mountains.

I also do a lot of HIIT (high intensity interval training), basically modern circuit training. This provides a good amount of strength, core, and some cardio.

So all in all I would highly recommend Yoga for hunters, just make sure it's some sort of "yoga flow" or "power yoga". There are so many kinds of yoga and some is very stretch oriented, some is for relaxation, some is spiritual. All good, but for hunter fitness I think Yoga Flow and Power Yoga work really well.

Rarely do I do more than 35-45 minutes a day of either. If you work hard you don't need to work for a long time.
 

NIDAHO HUNTER

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I'm 53 and have been hunting the high mountains for 30 years. I'm in better shape than anyone I know in my age group. Each year seems to motivate me work harder and raise the bar. Fortunately I have been relatively injury free and live near high and steep mountains. My routine amounts to going long distance easy vertical one day then steep weighted pack the next. Repeat. My easy distance days were 15 to 25 miles and my steep days were 65lb packs with 2000 to 4000ft gains over 2 to 5 miles. No gym equipment prepares you for the off angles, side hills, loose rocks, climbing over and under deadfall...
A day off is worshipped and cherished but I feel guilty.
 

Rideout3

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Jun 10, 2021
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Just got back from Idaho and definitely would say fitness is crucial. I would consider myself in decent shape at 40 but that country whooped my tail
 

Dzeek

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Oct 22, 2021
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Im planning a idaho elk hunt next year so this peaks my intrest as well. Any of you guys at sea level have any good ways to simulate the thinner air at 7k+ft? Wearing a mask during weighted hikes? I know nothing will equal being up there but hoping theres something to help. Thanks
 

Poser

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Durango CO
Im planning a idaho elk hunt next year so this peaks my intrest as well. Any of you guys at sea level have any good ways to simulate the thinner air at 7k+ft? Wearing a mask during weighted hikes? I know nothing will equal being up there but hoping theres something to help. Thanks

The air is not “thinner”, acclimation is a cellular adaptation. Don’t buy one of those masks unless you desire to have suboptimal workouts.
 

Scrapperdoodles

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Nov 2, 2021
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Montana
Reviving this thing one last time.

Also wanted to say thank you for everyones input. This has been great.


Does anyone regularly work in any kind of yoga or other stretching focused activities? I feel like you can be super strong, have great cardio conditioning, but if you're stiff, you're going to get your ass kicked or get injured. Whats everyone do to stay "nimble"?
When I was a wildland firefighter, I would do yoga between fires and that felt like it unlocked muscles that were stiff and tight. It was like taking the e brake off on a car and I could finally get out of my own way. Back then I hiked enough to wear holes in a brand new pair of boots each summer.

That being said, I didnt like hiking in the off-season unless I was hunting but found biking, stair master, uphill walking on the treadmill to all be very effective in its place. Biking was probably the biggest revelation for me as well as reading the book "uphill athlete". I also ran a fair amount back then but I don't think it's necessary.
 

fatlander

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Feb 11, 2016
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We’ll be in SW Montana. In the early season I imagine most of our hunting will be 9-10,000+

You’ve gotten some great info as far as staying in shape on this thread, but I didn’t see anyone mention this. I’ll go ahead and save you the trouble. At those elevations, you’ll be a couple thousand feet above most of the elk in Montana…


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simarden

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Sep 19, 2021
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At the gym? No, I've been working out at home for eight years.
Working out at home is something I already have, so I'm just going to work my way through it.
It's just going to be weight work.
I have two workouts a week on average, as well as some strength training.
 
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Coffindaffer

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You’ve gotten some great info as far as staying in shape on this thread, but I didn’t see anyone mention this. I’ll go ahead and save you the trouble. At those elevations, you’ll be a couple thousand feet above most of the elk in Montana…


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Im a flatlander dude. Everything above sea level is like Mt Everest to me haha

I guess a more reasonable expectation is 5-7000' depending on the specific area we end up in.
 

Wingnutty

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Sep 8, 2020
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43yo. I swim 3-4x per week and have for about the past 5 years. Typically my swim routine is a mix of sprints and different stroke work. Despite being able to swim hard for 90 minutes I still feel inadequate on the mountain. This year I picked up running which was great till I pulled a groin muscle early in the season from…running.

This coming year I plan on getting into better shape with a goal of getting into the best shape of my life. Plan on mixing swimming, trail running, rucking and hopefully some weight training. Probably won’t start rucking till 60 days before season.

I’ve got 4 kids so finding time to work out is tough but being able to hunt elk on my terms keeps me motivated. Hunting elk gives me the motivation I need to keep myself in good shape.
 

3325

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Oct 10, 2021
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I’ll toss this out for controversy. For my post season training this year I started doing something that is often not recommended for performance by trainers and coaches. I started doing a lot of machine and cable isolation/single joint exercises.

That’s not all I do. I also do “functional” movements like split squats, step ups, dips, and pull ups. I organize it by having two full body workouts, one all compound movements and one all single joint machine exercises. I then alternate workouts.

I haven’t been on this program very long but so far the supposed “non-functional” bodybuilding type exercises leave me feeling pretty good. Maybe they’re a form of physical therapy?
 
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fatlander

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Im a flatlander dude. Everything above sea level is like Mt Everest to me haha

I guess a more reasonable expectation is 5-7000' depending on the specific area we end up in.

I spend most of my time at sea level as well. I guess what I was getting at is there are plenty of fat guys that kill elk, fitness is just part of the puzzle. Being where elk are is the key to killing them, and thinking you’ll find them at 10k+ in SW Montana isn’t going to put you in elk.

Good luck on your hunt.


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*zap*

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I’ll toss this out for controversy. For my post season training this year I started doing something that is often not recommended for performance by trainers and coaches. I started doing a lot of machine and cable isolation/single joint exercises.

That’s not all I do. I also do “functional” movements like split squats, step ups, dips, and pull ups. I organize it by having two full body workouts, one all compound movements and one all single joint machine exercises. I then alternate workouts.

I haven’t been on this program very long but so far the supposed “non-functional” bodybuilding type exercises leave me feeling pretty good. Maybe they’re a form of physical therapy?
For good general fitness and joint health I think it is best to do both types of strength training.....compound and 'other'.....no need to do hypertrophy if you want strength but you can do the other exercises for good fitness and function.
Do not forget your aerobic capacity training.

Work in low bar back squats, deadlifts and rdl's if you can....

I do 6 different strength workouts which does my whole body......I just cycle thru em. But I am older....
 

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