Wilderness Fitness

Manipulate Your Weight: Being Fit to Hunt

Latest posts by A.J. Fick (see all)

Assisted Pull-upsArticle Contributed by Guest Writer Jeremy Koerber of Fit To Hunt

The core belief system around why we encourage and promote training for the hunt is to enhance your enjoyment of your outdoor adventures. In less than a year in business, we have seen clients battle back from debilitating injury, lose large amounts of weight and have the physical ability to hike long distances simply by adding the right components of exercise and fueling to their lives. Lately, we have taken on another philosophy when it comes to being Fit To Hunt. Being strong just might save your life.

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The most dangerous times for a whitetail hunter is when they climb into and out of a stand and there are countless reports of injuries sustained from falls out of tree stands every year. We hope and pray that each and every one of you who hunt out of tree stands are using both a safety harness and lifeline but have you ever thought for a moment what would happen if you did fall and were dangling there from a tree? Would you have the upper body strength to pull yourself back to safety? If you don’t possess that kind of strength and dropped your phone, how long would you hang there dangling before someone missed you? Worse yet, would anyone know where you are?

The ability to manipulate your body weight is an often overlooked but very important ability. An ability many take for granted. One of the areas we see most people struggle with is the traditional pull-up. It’s hard because not only is gravity working against us, we are asking our arms to pull well over 75% of our body weight up and down, over and over. Most of our male clients cannot perform this movement when they initially come to us and in 18 years training clients I have seen only a handful of female clients have the ability to perform pull-ups. Mostly this is a combination of two things:

  • Carrying too much weight
  • Poor upper body strength

We aren’t asking you to break any fitness test records with the number of pull-ups you can perform. All we need to know is that if you fall out of your stand and are hanging there wondering what the next step will be, you can compose yourself and perform just one pull-up to get you back to safety.

For most of our new clients, we start them on an assisted-chin/pull-up machine. Most gyms will have this piece of equipment for the aforementioned issue that most people cannot perform pull-ups. This machine works off of your body weight. If you weigh 200 pounds and set the machine at 100 pounds, you will be pulling only 100 pounds of weight. As you become stronger, you put less weight on the machine until you are performing pull-ups on your own.

Assisted Pull-Up
pull ups by using a super band wrapped around the knee to offset body weight.

If you don’t have access to a gym with this type of equipment you can still improve your upper body strength. In our training programs we often use super bands to assist hunters and huntresses perform pull-ups. These bands are cost effective and all you need is a bar, swing set or other safe, solid playground equipment. I’ve performed these moves in a barn before so having gym membership is not necessary. In fact, helping create functional, outdoor workouts is becoming a growing “ask” from our member base and it makes sense. We love the outdoors so let’s create workouts that get us outdoors.
Yes, being able to perform a pull-up can potentially save your life but that isn’t the only benefit. Developing your pull muscles will allow you to increase the draw weight on your bow, prevent low back discomfort from your hunting pack and as we age, keep up standing upright and tall. We aren’t talking about turning you into a body builder or gym rat but make no mistake; you are an outdoor athlete. The stronger you are, the better you will perform in life and having the ability to perform a pull-up just might save your life! Stay Fit To Hunt my friends!

*Always consult a physician before beginning any exercise program.

Bio: At Fit To Hunt we offer one on one training, semi-private training and e-workouts that can be downloaded and are specific to your type of hunting. We also offer online coaching and personal training and can help you design a program that is safe, efficient, fun and will enhance your overall hunting experience. Visit our site at www.fit2huntperformance.com and get started today!

Connect with Jeremy and Fit To Hunt.
Instagram: @fit_to_hunt
Twitter: @fit_2_hunt
Facebook: FIT TO HUNT

A.J. Fick

Born and raised in northeast Pennsylvania, I’ve lived in southern California, central Texas, and currently reside in western Idaho. I consider myself a western hunter at heart, enjoying being part of vast landscapes and the thrill of the stalk. One of my hunting mottos is “stretch the stalk, not the shot”. My motivations as an outdoorsman are rooted in the sustenance, independence, and challenging physical aspects. In fact, my largest driving factor for physical fitness is preparing for upcoming hunts and ensuring I’m well-prepared to climb mountains and cover ground with a heavy pack. I also recognize and respect the importance of conservation efforts for our wild animals and wild places and the close connection to hunting and fishing. If we want future generations to experience the wonder and adventure of the outdoors, and gain the countless benefits, we must continue to make wildlife conservation today’s priority to ensure continued opportunity.

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