Weighted pack offseason workouts
‘Tis the season (well, offseason) to get in shape or continue on the path to ultimate mountain goat performance with the end goal being a heavy pack full of meat after a successful hunt. The offseason is a great time to get the body back into hunting form — not only because the body is well-rested, but also because you can do many movements in the comfort of your home/garage with minimal gear that most of us probably have. One thing you will notice throughout most of the workouts provided here is a healthy amount of lunges or movements that focus on hip mobility/strength. Don’t forget to get some stretching in prior and after your workout to break up the lactic acids.
I’ve come up with these three at-home workouts that can be completed in an hour or less and with minimal gear. Let's walk through them!
*Tip: Wear your favorite hunting boots; practice as you play.
**Disclaimer: Perform these exercises at your own risk. If required, seek assistance from a qualified trainer or physician.
1. 30-minute archery weighted pack workout
- Hunting pack loaded with 45 to 60 lbs (I used a bag of concrete wrapped in a heavy-duty trash bag inside a game bag/dry sack)
- Hard-sided cooler such as a Canyon or Yeti or Step Box
- Archery set up with five arrows
- Target set at three to five yards
The setup is fairly simple. In your garage, have your pack pre-loaded with the weight inside the bag or meat shelf. Be sure to have your archery target in a safe location.
This workout is straightforward: you will wear your pack the entire time and complete as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in 30 minutes.
One round will include the following:
- 20 step-ups onto the cooler (10 each leg)
- 10 forward lunges (five each leg)
- Five pushups
- Then, finish the round with five smooth arrows into the target while focusing on proper release mechanics with an elevated heart rate. With minimal to no rest, get through as many rounds possible until 30 minutes has expired.
Start with lower pack weight and work your way heavier. Also, use a trekking pole as a stability aid if needed.
2. The deadfall trainer
- Hunting pack loaded with 45 to 60 lbs
- Hard-sided cooler such as Canyon or Yeti or Step Box
One round will include the following:
- Begin at the base of the cooler wearing your pack
- Complete 10 forward step-ups (five each leg)
- Then approach the side of the cooler
- Complete 10 (five each leg) side step-ups
- To finish, perform 15 slow and controlled seated squats onto the cooler top. Once seated, “explode” up off the cooler, then repeat until 15 repetitions have been met.
- Complete five rounds for beginners; eight rounds for intermediate and 12 rounds for pain!
Try to complete the circuit without removing your pack from your back.
3. Stability and mobility
- Hunting pack loaded with 15 to 30 lbs
These exercises will focus mainly on the core stabilizing muscles required when carrying a load. Test each exercise with a lighter weight to gauge what weight will best suit you. With all of these movements, focus on control; not speed.
One-legged front bend:
Hold your pack in both hands so that the front of the pack is parallel to the floor. Then, with a slight bend in one knee, slowly bend at the hip allowing the opposing leg to raise off the floor. Continue lowering until you feel a light stretch in the hamstring, hold for two seconds, then slowly return to the start position. Focus on balance and controlling the movement.
Position your legs roughly shoulder width apart. Holding the sides of your pack, extend your arms out in front of you. With the pack in the “center position,” slowly twist to the left and hold for two seconds. Then, return to the center position and hold for two more seconds before slowly twisting to the opposite side for another two-second hold. Perform 10 iterations. This will also help with grip strength.
Overhead 30-degree lunge:
With your weighted pack in one hand, press it up and hold it above your head. Then, perform a forward lunge. Instead of the foot being placed straight in front of you, step out at a 30-degree angle and complete the lunge. Perform 20 total repetitions, 10 each leg.
Begin by properly wearing your pack. Then, perform a plank. Simple, right? Challenge yourself by keeping a timer for how long you were able to hold the plank. Then, after a minute or two of rest, try to beat your previous time.
Lace ‘em up! Give these workouts a try and let me know what you think in the comments! Happy training!
More fitness articles:
- Four workouts inspired by the elk mountains
- MTNTOUGH — Fitness training for the western hunter
- Build fitness not strength for success in the backcountry