Most bowhunters will agree that there is plenty of upside when it comes to fitness for hunting. Fitness can and will make your time in the field more enjoyable, but more importantly, will aid in keeping you healthy enough to hunt later in life.
Bowhunting into your golden years should be important, especially when you are awarded the opportunity to pass along your bowhunting heritage to the next generation. Fitness requires time, but mostly effort. You don't have to go to a gym to workout, rather train at your home in the name of better bowhunting.
Here is a 10 minute workout for bowhunters that are on a time crunch.
Perform each exercise for 1 minute and, of course, try to do so without stopping (that is the goal, but realistically you'll have to take a quick break here and there). Set a 10 minute running clock and switch to the next exercise every minute on the minute until you've done all ten.
You are guaranteed to be sweaty and get a great workout regardless of time or what kind of current physical shape you are in. When you're finished, you won't regret it for a second. Fall back on short 10 minute interval workouts like this one to help ease you into elk shape.
If you already are in shape, then do 2-3 rounds of this workout, it will be as hard as you make it!
Burpees will condition your entire body. This exercise will develop strength and anaerobic endurance. Starting the workout off with burpees is extremely rude, but very prudent. So if you begin to hate burpees after doing two repetitions, then you are performing them correctly.
To execute a burpee, go from standing into a squat position with hands on the floor in front of you, then kick your feet back to a pushup position, lower yourself to the ground quickly, return to the pushup position, and then back to the squat position, and finish with a small jump upwards from the squat position.
Repeat, move as fast as you can, most athletes should shoot for 20 repetitions in 60 seconds.
Now that your heart rate is jacked, let's recover slightly by working on your muscular endurance and strengthening some of your core muscles.
To perform, lie face up on the floor with a folded towel under your lower back, soles of your feet together knees open to the sides, and arms overhead on the floor.
Next, brace your core and sit up, reaching your fingers toward or past your toes. Return to start under control, that's one rep, now you need to do as many as you can before grabbing your jump rope.
Goal here is to go unbroken for the entire minute.
I personally love double unders, but there was definitely a time when I despised them. Double unders are performed when the participant jumps high enough that the rope rotates twice under the feet. Double unders have gained traction recently due to how often they are thrown into CrossFit workouts.
The common mistake folks make when starting to work on double unders is that they try to make their arms look like giant windmills. Swinging your entire arm is inefficient, try keeping your arms tucked in tight and simply use your wrists to spin the rope. This may take some practice, and using a speed rope will help, but it is all in the wrists.
Start out jumping higher than you need to. Don't make it a habit, but get a good feel for what it takes to swing the rope twice under you. You will find it is not as difficult as you think.
If you can't quite master them, then switch to single unders, but keep practicing because they are one of the best pieces for a home workout.
Push-Ups With Rotation
Start in plank position. Perform a push-up, then shift your weight to one side, rotate your body and raise your arm. Return back to the plank with control. Repeat on the other side.
Continue, alternating rotation sides. This twist to the regular push-up (no pun intended) makes basic pushups more challenging and engages more core muscles which is a win-win.
You can modify these simply by starting from your knees, these will be very challenging to go the full minute without stopping regardless what style you choose.
Start standing, feet together, then take a big step behind you with your left leg, lifting your left heel off of the floor, keeping most of your weight in your right leg.
Slowly bend both knees, lowering your body straight down until both knees make a 90-degree angle, being sure to keep your front knee in line with your ankle. Push down through your front heel as you slowly stand back up.
Alternate legs and really try to crank out the repetitions. This will make your backside strong and durable on those long ascents up the mountain.
The goal is to go unbroken on lunges and maintain perfect posture throughout the movement.
The chair step-up is a great butt exercise that you can do to work on strength, power, and balance in a unilateral fashion. It targets all the main large muscles of the legs, particularly the glutes and hamstrings, and really helps the posterior chain, which is largely responsible for pulling you up hills and mountains.
Start by standing upright with one foot on a chair or step, push off your top foot and step up onto the chair with both feet. Step down onto one foot, keeping the other foot on the bench and repeat.
Alternate the lead leg for the entire minute, keep your posture strong, and focus on controlling the descent of each rep.
Since the chair is already out, might as well work on your guns.
Perform a chair dip by siting in the chair, holding on to the edge with both hands, knuckles pointing forward. Slide your bottom off the seat and hold yourself up with arms straight, keeping your body close to the chair.
Slowly lower your body for two counts as you bend your elbows (they should point directly behind you, not out to the sides); straighten your arms for a count of two. Make sure your arms (not your feet) are supporting your weight throughout the motion. Repeat for the entire minute or as long as you can without taking a break.
My arms were burning badly at only 30 seconds into the minute. Good luck!
I believe squats to be one of the best movements on this list, but also one that can be performed poorly without some fine-tuning. So please pay attention to some of these ques.
Your stance should be shoulder width, toes slightly out, weight on your heels and your posture strong. Keep your chest up as you move your hips back and down. Squat down until the hip crease is below the knee crease, return to standing with your hips fully extended.
Remember, the lower you squat, the more difficult the movement is. Lower your hips to a point that is safe and comfortable for you. Pay attention to your knees as you descend, for many the hips are tight and the knees will want to buckle inward, fight for real estate between the knees, spread the floor with your feet as you stand up.
Your goal is to get at least 30 squats or one every two seconds.
High Knees (Running in Place)
To me this is one of the easiest movements on the list, but will also be the hardest to maintain for the entire minute.
To start, feet are hip width, your posture is upright and strong, and you should gaze straight ahead. Jump from one foot to the other one at the same time, lift the knees as high as possible (hip height) and the faster you are doing this, the more effective the workout.
Your arms are what dictates how fast your turn-over is, so be aggressive in your arm action. Try not to pace, rather just go as hard as possible and let the chips fall where they may. You might only make it 10 seconds, but after a few attempts, you might be able to make it the full minute. I'd rather see you go hard for 10 seconds, then a slow pace for the full minute.
Take short breaks and hit it hard for short bursts.
Planks helps you to build strength in your core, upper and lower body so it's a good full body workout.
Start by getting into a push-up position, bend your elbows and rest your weight onto your forearms and not on your hands. Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
Be sure to engage your core by sucking your belly button into your spine keep your legs straight, avoid the slight bending at the knee which is a common mistake. Hold this position for the full minute. The clock will all of sudden slow down once you're in the right position. Hold on tight!
Want more interval training exercises and tips? Watch the video below from Bowhunter TV:
About The Author: Dan is an avid bowhunter residing in the Northwest where he owns CrossFit Spokane Valley. You can keep tabs on Dan by visiting ElkShape.com or following him on Instagram @danthefitnessman