In a growing trend more and more bowhunters are using offseason hunting workouts to maximize their hunting potential.
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Offseason hunting workouts can pay huge dividends when fall rolls around.[/caption]
You're either getting better or you're getting worse. I've been given this advice by several influential people in my life and really believe the message. If you want to be successful at things in life you need to grind. This goes for any aspects of life you want success in. Sports, school, marriage, faith, and on and on. If you are not spending time each day devoted to the thing you want to be good at, you will never reach your potential.
The last 10 years has witnessed a massive boom in the popularity of offseason hunting workouts. Motivated by guys such as Cameron Hanes and Kenton Clairmont, thousands of people have taken their bowhunting dedication to the next level. Their commitment to the sport spans the entire year and each day they strive to get better. Some folks argue you don't need a year round training program to be a successful hunter. Those folks may be correct, but in our sedentary lifestyles, you definitely don't hurt yourself by getting active each day.
If you don't currently have an offseason hunting workout program, here are a few things to consider.
Running and other cardiovascular exercises, such as biking and swimming, should be the focus of most offseason hunting workout programs. Most hunters will simply do more walking than anything. The ability to cover long distances with ease is extremely beneficial for hunters. For example, I recently went on a bear hunt in one of our western states. It was a rifle hunt, but that is beside the point right now. The area I hunted was webbed with roads criss-crossing the landscape. Most guys in this area stuck to the roads while hunting. Since road hunting is definitely not my cup of tea I was the odd duck who spent lots of time walking around.
I soon found out since most hunters were driving the roads, you didn't have to get that far out into the boonies to starting bumping into animals. But you did have to get far enough in to out-walk most guys. We're not talking long distances here, three or four miles at the most. After a few days of tramping through the woods though the miles were adding up. A week into the hunt I finally discovered a honey hole, but it required a steep climb to get to. Wouldn't you know it, my hard work had paid off and I was rewarded with my first black bear kill. I earned the bear through miles of walking which I was able to accomplish due to a dedicated offseason running program.
You don't have to run marathons to see the payoff. I run a few times a week, with varying intensities, and it keeps me fit enough that I never feel like I can't go peak over the next ridge. I can hunt harder because of my cardio exercise.
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Running workouts can get you to places other hunters won't go, and allow you to hunt longer.[/caption]
Another workout I have been growing fond of lately is riding an exercise bike. I can picture the groans and eye rolling of all the old boys right now. In the rural area I live in, there aren't more than a handful of guys who would admit to something like that. The truth is an exercise bike is a great tool for a hunter with miles to cover. It gets me a cardio workout to increase my lung capacity, while also providing my legs with a low impact resistance workout. When combined, this tool allows me to cover more miles and makes those long climbs easier. Rugged bowhunters like Fred Bear may have never used an exercise bike I know. I'm not Fred Bear and it makes me a better hunter. I'll swallow my pride on this one and do what will make me better in the long run.
While running should constitute the bulk of your offseason hunting workouts, there are a good deal of people getting into the weight room to improve their hunting performance. Lifting weights is a great way to keep the body in shape, and can also offer an abundance of benefits to hunters in the field. One big advantage is lifting can make you much more accurate when you shoot your bow
. Lifting weights does require dedicating more time to your training, and if you're like most guys that time simply isn't there. Too many other obligations swallow up your time. For the family man who might not be able to dedicate an entire hour to the gym, a mix up of body weight lifts after your run might just be the ticket.
I have a young family, growing obligations, and a full plate like lots of people out there. I do budget in a chunk of time each week to workout, typically early in the morning so I can have more family time after work. When my morning run is done or I'm off the bike, I spend a few minutes doing various push up, pull up, and other body weight exercises. These won't every land me on the cover of Fitness Magazine, but they do keep me in good enough shape for my hunting forays. Building your lifting workout into your running workout might be a good idea for a person with tight time restrictions who still wants to stay in good physical shape.
Lifting and running are two important facets for solid offseason hunting workouts. You don't have to run marathons, perform Olympic lifts, and head to Venice Beach for these workouts to pay off. The benefits of these workouts might not wow your friend with the results, but they will make you better in the field and allow you to hunt longer in life. Stay dedicated to your sport and your health this offseason by incorporating an offseason hunting workout into your schedule. When fall comes and your finally able to hit the back 40, walk into that untouched honey hole, or simply hunt more days on end, you'll be glad you did.
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NEXT: OFFSEASON PREP; 3 RUNNING WORKOUTS FOR HUNTERS