#ElkShape Workout for the Aging Hunter | Elk101.com | Eat. Sleep. HUNT ELK!

#ElkShape Workout for the Aging Hunter

2016_0328_Aging Hunters_Tony Mudd

As we age, hunting doesn’t get any easier. Decreasing flexibility, waning strength and endurance, fading motivation, or constant pain are all potential barriers. The thrill of chasing bugling bulls throughout the mountains gradually gives way to a desperate search for oxygen and shaky legs. At 55 years old though, that scenario is simply not an option for me!

 

What is an option is a little hard work and a lot of persistence to ward off those aging evils! For you younger guys, once you get into #ElkShape, remember this: It’s Easier to Stay in Shape than to get in Shape! Make it a lifestyle.

2016 marks my 30th year of training for bow hunting, and my 28th year for elk and mountain bowhunting. I train with one thing in mind: to be in the best shape possible when opening day arrives. This mindset simply makes my hunts more enjoyable.

Over the last 30 years, there are a few things I’ve learned about physical conditioning. I have tried everything under the sun when it comes to getting in ElkShape, and I now have it refined to efficient, functional training for me as an archery elk hunter.  The focus of this article is on physical conditioning for an aging hunter, but PLEASE REMEMBER, nutrition and recovery are just as critical to your overall conditioning as the workouts themselves. My daily goal is three balanced meals, with three high-protein shakes that contain Glutamine.  This aids in faster recovery and enables me to get back after it sooner. If you haven’t yet, check out the MTN OPS Magnum protein blend, along with their other products. When it comes to supplements that will help you get into ElkShape, they have everything you need.

Tony3A brief health history about myself – between the ages of 50 and 52, I had multiple injuries. I completely tore my Achilles tendon (in half) playing indoor soccer with my daughter’s soccer team. I also had two arthroscopic knee surgeries that were the result of several years of downhill mountain running, a naval hernia that finally required surgery (after living with it for 28 years), and a badly torn hamstring from pole vaulting. Then, to top it off, my back went out to the point that I couldn’t sit comfortably or straighten up. During this time period, I thought I had been in excellent condition. I had been doing cross-fit workouts with my daughter’s soccer team, along with consistent weight training and mountain trail running. It became apparent that I needed to take a serious look at my workouts.

First, I sat down and looked at my injuries. Three things became clear. First, my range of motion and flexibility were horrible and needed to greatly improve. Additionally, my joints and tendons needed more support from surrounding muscles. And lastly, my core strength needed some work. With these factors in mind, I laid out a simple workout plan that would be a better fit for me as an aging bowhunter. Since I changed my training program three years ago, I’ve been basically injury free (knock on wood)!

There are four areas of focus that have become the cornerstone of my training the last three years: Flexibility, Range of Motion, Strength, and Endurance. The actual exercises I do improve each of these areas and work to help me become a better mountain hunter. I break my workout into two categories – Upper Body (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) and Legs/Core (Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday). Here is my actual workout program:

Monday/Wednesday/Friday

2. Warm-up2Warm-Up Exercises:

First, warm up the shoulders and rotator cuff areas with full range of motion movements. I use a machine to help warm-up, but the exercises can be done with bands as well. 3 sets of 25 on each Warm-Up Exercise should get you nice and warmed up.

Upper Body Exercises:

  • Exercise #1 – Push-ups
  • Exercise #2 – TRX Strap Back Pulls
  • Exercise #3 – Dips
  • Exercise #4 – Pull-up
  • Exercise #5 – Straight Bar Shoulder Press
  • Exercise #6 – Straight Bar Curls
  • Exercise #7 – Standing up right rows

On Monday and Wednesday, I want to focus on getting blood flowing into the upper body muscles. It’s important to concentrate on an excellent range of motion and stretch. Monday and Wednesday are setting up a heavy weight/low rep workout for Fridays.

Here are the reps and sets I do on Monday:

Exercise #1 – Push-ups: (6 sets – 250+ push-ups)

  • Set 1: To Max, timed for one minute, 2 minute rest
  • Sets 2-6 : To Max, 2 minute rest between sets

Exercise #2 – TRX Strap Back Pulls: (5 sets – to MAX)

Exercise #3 – Dips: (3 sets – to MAX)

  • no weights

Exercise #4 – Pull-ups: (3 sets – to MAX)

  • no weights

Exercise #5 – Straight Bar Shoulder Press: (3 sets – to MAX)

  • bar only

Exercise #6 – Straight Bar Curls: (3 sets of 15 reps)

  • choose a weight you can achieve 15 reps in 3 sets

Exercise #7 – Standing Upright Rows: (3 sets of 15 reps)

  • choose a weight you can achieve 15 reps in 3 sets

Here are the reps and sets I do on Wednesday:

Exercise #1 – Push-ups: (6 sets – 250+ push-ups)

  • Set 1: To Max, timed for one minute, 2 minute rest
  • Sets 2-6 : To Max, 2 minute rest between sets

Exercise #2 – TRX Strap Back Pulls: (5 sets – to MAX)

Exercise #3 – Dips: (1 set – to MAX)

  • no weights

Exercise #4 – Pull-ups: (1 set – to MAX)

  • no weights

Exercise #5 – Straight Bar Shoulder Press: (1 set – to MAX)

  • bar only

Exercise #6 – Straight Bar Curls: (1 set of 15 reps)

  • choose a weight you can achieve 15 reps

Exercise #7 – Standing Upright Rows: (1 set of 15 reps)

  • choose a weight you can achieve 15 reps

As I mentioned previously, Friday is my strength day, so I’m going for heavier weights today to increase strength.

Here are the reps and sets I do on Friday (strength day):

8. Shoulder PressExercise #1 – Push-ups: (6 sets – 250+ push-ups)

  • Set 1: To Max, timed for one minute, 2 minute rest
  • Sets 2-6 : To Max, 2 minute rest between sets

Exercise #2 – TRX Strap Back Pulls: (5 sets – to MAX)

Exercise #3 – Dips: (5 sets – to MAX)

  • Set 1: No weights
  • Sets 2-5: Add weights with a weight belt or dumbbell between your legs

Exercise #4 – Pull-ups: (5 sets – to MAX)

  • Set 1: No weights (goal – 6-8 reps)
  • Sets 2-5: Add weights with a weight belt or dumbbell between your legs

Exercise #5 – Straight Bar Shoulder Press: (3 sets – 12 reps each set)

  • bar only or minimal weight

Exercise #6 – Straight Bar Curls: (5 sets of 5 reps)

  • choose a heavier weight you can achieve 5 reps of

Exercise #7 – Standing Upright Rows: (3 sets of 10 reps)

  • choose a weight you can achieve 10 reps of

 

Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday

Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are Leg Days and Core Days for me. My goals for Legs and Core is simple – increase strength.

Warm-up Exercises:

Do something to get your legs warmed up and stretched out (jump-rope, air squats, lunges, etc.)

12. Core2Leg Exercises:

Exercise #1 – Deadlifts: (6 sets)

  • Set 1: Just the bar
  • Sets 2-3: 5 reps with heavy weight
  • Sets 4-6: 3 reps with heavy weight

Exercise #2 – Squats: (6 sets)

  • Set 1: Just the bar
  • Sets 2-3: 5 reps with heavy weight
  • Sets 4-6: 3 reps with heavy weight

Core Exercises:

  • Core Exercise #1 – Knee Lifts/Twists: (3 Sets – to MAX)
  • Core Exercise #2 – Mason Twists: (3 Sets – to MAX)
  • Core Exercise #1 – Ab Wheel Rollouts: (3 Sets – to MAX)

 

Here is a video highlighting the exercises I do:

Cardio

Nowadays, I don’t focus on anything other than hiking to get my cardio. I prefer to hike 3-4 times per week with a 50# pack. As I get closer to season, I’ll increase it to 5 days a week. If time allows, I sometimes even do 2-adays! Normally, my hikes are 3.5 to 7 miles loops and will vary from 500’ in elevation gain to 4000’ feet in elevation gain.

Summary

Lastly, here are some things to keep in mind with each of the exercises I mentioned:

4. Push-upExercise #1 – Push Ups

I try to do 250+ in the least amount of sets as possible with a short rest between sets. I also time my first set and monitor how many I am doing in the first minute. Set a goal! My goal was to double my age in push-ups in 1 minute.

Be kind to your joint. DO NOT LOCK your elbows out on the upward movement – close, but not all the way locked.

Keep a log on your iPhone or Android of your progress. My log looks like this:

  • 02/17/2015 – 72, 40, 38, 34, 32, 35 =251 (6 sets). My first day.
  • 06/04/2015 – 111, 85, 60 = 256 (3 sets). It took almost 4 months to reach my goal of doubling my age in 1 minute.
  • 02/28/2016 – 112, 75, 75 = 262 (3 sets). A day after my 55th Birthday.

Please do not take these numbers as boasting – I am simply sharing what is possible at 55 if you choose to work your tail off.

5. Back PullsExercise #2 – TRX Strap Back Pulls

I do them at the gym with TRX straps, BUT you can make these at home with pull straps hanging from the garage ceiling.

Keep your elbows out and then pull your elbows in tight to your chest as shown in the video.

6. DipsExercise #3 – Dips

Focus on a full range of motion with a stretch and pause at the bottom of the movement.

7. Pull upsExercise #4 – Pull-up

Again, focus on a full range of motion with a slight pause at the top.

8. Shoulder PressExercise #5 – Straight Bar Shoulder Press

This can be one of the best shoulder exercises. HOWEVER, you need to take it slow! ANY PAIN = STOP. Focus on that full range of motion and a good stretch at the bottom.

Start light and work into them gradually. If you have any pain with the straight bar, try dumbbells instead.

9. CurlsExercise #6 – Straight Bar Curls

Focus on a full range of motion. Curl up, and then drop the weight slowly (3 second resist on the way down).

10. Standing RowsExercise #7 – Standing up right rows

Focus on the full range of motion.

 

I hope this workout gives you some ideas for how aging hunters can maintain their conditioning and avoid injuries and pain. Heck, even you younger guys might see the benefit in this program. I’d love for you to give this a 4-month run and let me know how it works out for you!

UEH Member Login

Lost your password?

Lost your password? UEH Member Login

error: Sorry, content is protected and cannot be copied...