Fitness Assessment for Hunters

Tips on how to keep yourself in top form for the hunting season.
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JPH
 
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Fitness Assessment for Hunters

Postby JPH » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:07 pm

As an unapologetic nerd when it comes to both hunting and fitness, I am constantly looking at the link between strength and conditioning as it relates to hunter safety and success. While my obsession with these to topics may be a bit ahead of the curve, I have seen signs that the hunting community, and the industry that caters to it, is beginning to pay attention to the correlation as well. As a perennial forerunner in all things related to deer hunting, D&DH has facilitated this board. Participation has been decent, but somewhat lacking in that there is no real common benchmark by which to gauge a hunter's ability to physically perform in the field.

Veterans will recall regularly taking PT tests in order to track their level of battle readiness. Many fitness communities have established benchmark assessment tests as well. These assessments can be used by new members in establishing a "starting point" as well as seasoned members who use the assessments to mark progress or highlight training deficiencies.

I have been playing around with ways to develop a "sport specific" assessment test can be used by any hunter who wishes to see where they are. The score on this test could be used in conversation here, so that forum members may seek advice and encouragement as they strive to improve. Also this could be used as a way to watch how an individual gains or loses strength and conditioning through their career. I understand that in order to be effective the test must be realistic, both in terms of equipment requirements and in terms of expectations. If you need an Olympic training facility or superhuman ability to take the test, it won't work.

I have a basic test sketched out, but before I dump more time into it I'd like to know if there is any interest. Is there a body of people out there who would like to assist in the development and scoring standards? Would people actually use the test if we made one? Let me know!

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Jslotter
 
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RE: Fitness Assessment for Hunters

Postby Jslotter » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:46 pm

Sport specific would be ideal. Alot of cardio type stuff. Lower and upper body strength too. If its gonna be like running 5 miles in 30 minutes or 80 pushups in two minutes, that would be unrealistic in my opinion. I would support some sort of Physical fitness regiment for the outdoorsman. If you want some possible ideas, let me know.
I only hunt on days that end in ' Y '.

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JPH
 
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RE: Fitness Assessment for Hunters

Postby JPH » Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:44 am

You and I may be the only two nerds who care about this J. But for what it's worth...
 
I was looking at 5 events to evaluate endurance and total body strength. I am also working to make it very realistic for the average hunter. So far what I have should be doable for almost anyone without a disability and can be done with equipment found in a hotel fitness room.
 
- 1 mile walk/jog for time on a treadmill at a 4% incline and loaded with a 25 lb. backpack and two 5 lb. dumbells. (overall endurance)
- Max set of pull-ups. (strength as it relates to tree stand safety)
- Max set of dips.(strength as it relates to tree stand safety)
- Max plank for time. (overall core strength)
- 4 rounds of 5 yard "dot-drills", :60 each. (an excellent way to simulate the stress of dragging a deer without special equipment)
 
Most PT tests have a minimum passing score. I think it would be better to leave this test open ended at the bottom. Let's face it, we're going to hunt no matter how we do on the test. This is to see where we can improve.
 
That being said, I would like to establish a maximum score. If a hunter can score 100 on this test, they should move on to other more challenging tests.

Dan Salmon
 
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RE: Fitness Assessment for Hunters

Postby Dan Salmon » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:04 pm

I think it's a good idea.  Like you said, everyone will still go hunting whether or not they pass the test, but I've been noticing after 10 years behind a desk that I'm winded much easier and tire much more quickly. 

I'd be interested in finding out more.

DBogie59
 
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RE: Fitness Assessment for Hunters

Postby DBogie59 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:46 pm

I'd be interested as a way just to test myself. I walked my farm today with chainsaw and rake to work on new food plots. Now I can't get out of the recliner, and I work in a physically demanding job everyday.

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jonny5buck
 
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RE: Fitness Assessment for Hunters

Postby jonny5buck » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:30 pm

Im not quite following you...it's hard to have an individual test that can correlate to each person.Simply put each person has different strenghts and weaknesses.Also say i can bench press my own body weight 10 times max,to me that's strong enough...yet some guys shouldn't even consider lifting that much ,and if someone has any prior health problems a doctor is the one to tell you what you can and can't do.

Same thing with cardio,when i went to the gym we were all free weights,i learned powerlifting and afterwards tweaked it with bodybuilding 2 complete seperate entities....yet this worked better for me individually,my one buddy never deviated from power lifting cause it worked for him.

That being said the main reason we hit the weights was to trim the fat,and build strength,you could get cardio by mixing up your routine,and say doing sets of 12-15 w/moderate to light weights with no rest in between sets.I would do 3 sets of different exercises for each muscle group. Than take 5imute break.....then move on to a different muscle group....it worked great it really tones the crap for that leaner look where you look ripped.

I would do that 3days a week ...thats it i work my butt off when i go my philosoiphy has always been get in get out..Than the next week to confuse the muscle and build it and strenght i w/do 5 sets of 5 ....ya thats right...5 serious sets of what you can just get 5 clean reps resting for 1to 3minutes in between sets.

This method right hear worked crazy ass good for me ,im not the biggest guy in the gym...i never strived to be,but i have seen tons of guys wasting their time,sticking to the same routine not getting results,or going by a strict written out regimn.This never worked for me and this alternating...no rest 10-15 reps week followed by a week or 2 of strength training gives fast results.

Guys like me that work hard at work are called hard gainers....if your actuall job is physical...framing/consrtuction...etc. 2 or 3 days a week is usually plenty.....most of my workouts were under and hour....sometimes 35 to 40 minutes...thats it,but i dont play around i go right to a piece of equipment and have aplan in my head...do it and move on...i would be out the door with better results than most guys that camp out for 2 hour routines....it's different for each guy.

Once you get in your late 30s and early forties...powerlifting may not be something to do at all...the basics of it i believe can be tweaked ...with down sets pyrimad sets,cycling sets and so on with less weight.I know im rambling here a little ....bottom line ..if you can moderately strength train you get a leaner stronger body...cardio is good dont get me wrong,i dont smoke and walk miles during season and drag deer out without getting winded....but i think strength training covers all your needs for deer hunting.

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jonny5buck
 
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RE: Fitness Assessment for Hunters

Postby jonny5buck » Sun Feb 13, 2011 8:59 pm

Ok i just realized i probably lost a few folks on that last post.

Here's what im trying to get across to the AVERAGE ''joe'' and or ''jane''...don't be afraid of strength training...it works...your NOT going to get huge....that's what most women think and why they struggle when they commit to the treadmill and see zero results.

Guys too,it takes time to build strength and muscle...take it gradual...why im so big on it is because when your done strength training .......your body is burning calories for hours afterwards...this relates to losing weight....the number one reason people start going to the gym...

You CANNOT spot reduce fat...thats a fact-that means you will lose that gut quicker by doing bicep curls than you will by spending 30 minutes on the treadmill....skip the scale....it doesnt measure body fat...it tells you nothing...go by how your clothes fit....and how you start looking in the mirror

When you cardio train...ride the bicycle machine...treadmill etc....you have to get your heart rate to a specific area....then you start burning fat......as soon as your heart rate drops ....you stop burning the fat....my suggestion...skip it all together for 99 % of the people your wasting your time.

Learn to lift weights correctly and ease into it....i dont care how much you lift....just do it correctly each time.....you can add weight gradually.....aftera week or 2 or 3...don't try to mimic another guys routine.....this is what set Arnold Schwarzenneger...apart from his lifting buddies...his did his own thing and those that tried his routine.....got burned out and frustrated....if you start in strength training you will i repeat lose weight....quicker than cardio....some people love running...do it but too much cardio..decreases your strength.

Bottom line -you lose weight quicker,build muscle quicker,and burn MORE calories longer...a lot longer w/weight training.[:D]

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JPH
 
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RE: Fitness Assessment for Hunters

Postby JPH » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:08 am

jonny5buck, I appreciate your comments, but I'm not sure we're tracking in the same direction here. The topic of this thread is not weight loss, nor is it about designing a training program. I fully agree that individual differences regarding health, ability and body type play a huge role in the goals an individual sets and how they go about achieving them. I disagree with a few of the points in your last two posts, but I do understand you. 

This thread is about developing a sport specific evaluation for hunters that tests the various facets of physical exertion experienced. The Marines, the career fire service, the NFL and many other groups with a specific physical mission have developed evaluations to highlight strengths and weakness that indicate ability or lack thereof. Why not hunters? You are correct that we all have different levels of ability and body style, but that's just life. Again, I'm working hard to keep the evaluation obtainable to everyone (except those with specific physical limitations) and still simulate the workload we can face during a deer hunt.

Most of us have gone hunting and been surprised by how winded we got on the way to the stand. Or maybe we have been shocked by the amount of muscle fatigue we experience while dragging a deer. Worst of all, some hunters have learned that they do not have the strength to pull themselves back into the stand after a fall, only after they have fallen. The idea behind the evaluation I am playing with is to expose those things and correct them now, rather than during the hunt.

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RE: Fitness Assessment for Hunters

Postby jonny5buck » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:30 am

@JPH-i will wait and see what you come up with.I am pro-weights and was just trying to make the correlation that strength training not only helps with hunting...dragging deer,climbing...preventing injury,,,,but that the by-product of it was fat loss....a plus if you will.

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JPH
 
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RE: Fitness Assessment for Hunters

Postby JPH » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:04 am

ORIGINAL: jonny5buck

@JPH-i will wait and see what you come up with.I am pro-weights and was just trying to make the correlation that strength training not only helps with hunting...dragging deer,climbing...preventing injury,,,,but that the by-product of it was fat loss....a plus if you will.


Fair enough. The idea here is to pinpoint weakness so that an individual can address them through programing. Depending on the individual and the weakness found, weights may well be the answer.

Also it should be understood that one of the goals is to make this accessible to a wide range of people. For example, I would much rather use a weighted sled/tire drag as one of the events, but I know very few people have access to something like that. The 5 yd. dot drills are a surprisingly good substitute and they can be done by virtually everyone. The same goes for free weights. There are a lot of people who would avoid a test that required them, either because of a lack of access  or because they do not know how to perform the lifts safely. Every graduate of elementary school PE knows how to do a pullup and a dip.

I think I have the thing laid out. I've run through several versions of the evaluation and tweaked the scoring. I just need to shoot a little instructional video and post it to youtube. This way I can post a detailed explanation in both a written and visual format. Might take a few days.  

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