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Thread: Training for Elk Hunt

  1. #1
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    Training for Elk Hunt

    Looking for some advice (and not a little encouragement through your stories) on getting in shape for a September elk hunt in the Southern Colorado area.

    I'll be hunting during bow season on a two hunter/one guide format in around 3-4,000 feet of elevation. No horses, will be walking and some treestand action, per the outfitter.

    I live near Memphis, TN, so lower elevations with humidity is our norm. I'm 6'5" and 270 right now, have been as low as 245 but that was years ago. Really wanting to get back to that point again, but I have this problem called eating that gets in the way every time. Pesky. Also have some chronic knee pain that will flare up time to time, and when it does I can't do much. Seems that running, even for short distances, aggravates it, so I'll have to walk for my cardio.



    If you've done this before, and trained on getting in shape for it, I'd love to hear your advice.


  2. #2
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    Have you had the knee looked at? If it picks the wrong time to flare up, you could be in for a miserable hunt.

    While running is good for general cardio, it won't do a lot for getting you up and down mountains. Leg presses and walking stadium stairs/bleachers is going to help you there. Start easy and progress to taking two-at-a time. Wear a pack after a couple weeks but be careful you don't lose your balance on the stairs. Hydration is also very important.

  3. #3
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    I actually did get my knees (it's both) checked out, and they said that the issue is not with the actual joint, but with the fascia associated with the patella and quadriceps muscles. When I do regular exercise it's better, but when it flares up, doesn't seem to be associated with times of inactivity or overstrain-just flares up. They told me that without at least some exercise, I could literally rip that area apart climbing stairs one day and require surgical repair. So, exercise is my friend...

  4. #4
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    Having done similar trips I would think easing into it would be best and as mentioned above some kind of climbing activity would be great. After time add some weight and then do some archery practice afterwards.

    In regards to your knees I'd think losing as much weight as possible would be best in terms of reducing impact with each step. Make sure to get yourself a good pair of boots and train in them.

    At the elevation you described I don't think it'll play a big factor in terms of aerobic function.


    Good luck!
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  5. #5
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    I went to Colorado last year, I rode a bike to get my legs in shape low impact . Legs never was a problem hunted 8500-12000 with friends 17 years younger and from Colorado was able to keep up. Got my bike out yesterday for this years hunt.

  6. #6
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    Something you may want to try is swimming. I've had friends tear ACLs, MCLs, and have other joint issues and the doctors have recommended swimming. If you swim laps and focus on breathing, you will not be sucking air working out.

    I swam through high school and played soccer. It always sucked going from soccer season to swim season. But I was never tried going from swimming to soccer.

    I coach swimming at a YMCA so if you have any questions just ask and I'll try to help you out.

  7. #7
    The step workout will help. Anything cardio oriented will work. Just remember the "real" work doesn't start until you have to pack one out!! Good luck out there.

  8. #8
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    Honestly, I don't think the 3-4,000 feet of elevation is going to be that bad either.... if you suffer from knee pain some, I'd suggest riding a bike (mountain, road... doesn't really matter) and working those quads hard. As a biproduct, you'll be getting yourself in better shape as well.

  9. #9
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    Since your knee removes running from the equation, anything which elevates your heart rate and keeps it there. Cycling, swimming, elliptical, rowing machine, etc. Start off with 15 min or so. And gradually increase time every couple of weeks. You should be sweating, and not just beading. I am talking wring your shirt out wet.

    2 to 3 months from the hunt, load up a backpack with weight and hike. (Add this in to your cardio of choice). Hills trails are best. Wear your hunting boots also. Start off with 20 lbs or so. This tests your pack and fit with a load. Gradually increase weight. Max out around 60 pounds. This will stengthen your calves, ankle stability, and quads. (Especially if you hike uneven, hilly, dirt trails.)

  10. #10
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    All this sounds good. I would love to do that next year, so much so that I started working out a few months ago. i figure if I can't lose 30-40lbs, I can forget the whole idea. Spent an hour on the elipticle last night. Good soaking sweat!
    Steve

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCS View Post
    All this sounds good. I would love to do that next year, so much so that I started working out a few months ago. i figure if I can't lose 30-40lbs, I can forget the whole idea. Spent an hour on the elipticle last night. Good soaking sweat!
    Steve
    Always doing an hour on the elliptical is going to be hard to continue to maintain. Try some intervals and they will cut your time in half. Something like:
    4 min warmup at ~50% intensity
    6x intervals 2 min intervals
    - 30 (or 60 if you can) sec high intensity (~90%)
    - 90 (or 60 if you did 60 above) sec recovery (~60)
    4 min cool down (~40%)

  12. #12
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    Training for elk

    Were in the same boat slabside.Trainig for my first elk hunt also....Only took two weeks to get to my target weight...185lbs at 6"1".
    As for breaking up the fasia....you wont believe it ..but get a small toilet plunger...no ****.
    Lay down on your side and you should get a good enough suction that you can travel almost all the way up from your knee to hip.Do hamstrings and quads.Just over 5 minutes to do my legs after mountain biking the Nrth Shore all day or a heavy leg work out in the gym....stretching does wonder for endurance

    Thats from a 53 year old extreme athelet and ex Pro Thai Boxer.

  13. #13
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    I started training for elk hunting about 2 years ago and have been on 2 elk hunts. My training hasn't stopped since I started.
    You need Legs and Lungs the most - but core, arms, shoulders, chest and back are needed too.

    1. Lift weights total body, but especially legs - squats etc.
    2. Bike for cardio
    3. Stairs Stairs stairs (we would run 2 or 3 miles and then do ~1000 stairs.)
    4. Stairs with weight vest
    5. load your pack with weight and go up and down steep hills for hours.
    6. P90X is great for conditioning.

    How much you exercise you do depends on how hard core your hunt will be. Like many others have said - you can't be in too good of shape for elk hunting.

  14. #14

    Don't worry bud!

    Get to peddling...NON-Impact and you can burn it all and be solid as a ROCK!!
    I am getting ready for a high-mountain mule deer hunt in the very high mountains of Utah. I am 53 and we LIVE to call in the bulls each Fall.

    Be FOCUSED and NEVER miss a workout!!

    Drink TONS of H2O....look at it is "flushing" your system.....

    Got get 'em Bud!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 48down View Post
    I started training for elk hunting about 2 years ago and have been on 2 elk hunts. My training hasn't stopped since I started.
    You need Legs and Lungs the most - but core, arms, shoulders, chest and back are needed too.

    1. Lift weights total body, but especially legs - squats etc.
    2. Bike for cardio
    3. Stairs Stairs stairs (we would run 2 or 3 miles and then do ~1000 stairs.)
    4. Stairs with weight vest
    5. load your pack with weight and go up and down steep hills for hours.
    6. P90X is great for conditioning.

    How much you exercise you do depends on how hard core your hunt will be. Like many others have said - you can't be in too good of shape for elk hunting.

    #2 for sure - get your heart rate up and keep it there. I would suggest getting heart rate monitor to gauge your workout intensity. A small backpack here also works for adding resistance.

    #5 for sure. I got a buddy tht works his way up to 80lbs in his backpack and my neighbor goes up to 50lbs in his pack before the hunting season. Me, I just use a daypack at around 25lbs - and I can feel the extra weight of a handgun if I carry one hunting.

    #6. I'm back for round 3 of P90X for two reasons - I have to look good in Fla in August and I'm going somewhere out west again to hunt elk. Biking and P90X worked awesome for strength and endurance.

    Where ya going if you're only hunting 3-4K feet?
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  16. #16
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    Thumbs up Training for Elk Hunt

    You guys afre on the right track as far as the excercise...priority on the leg-lung-heart -cardio scenerio.

    What I never see mentioned is diet.

    Its old news if you think by turning up your resistance i.e. excercise your going to get in great shape...think about the whole mechanics of the added resistance be it weights ,skipping rope etc.Those muscles produce by products i.e latic acid ,ammonia and most importantly to address FREE RADICAL FORMATION is the biggy.

    So you have a kiler workout...your glycogen,protien pools are depleted,tendons etc possibly inflamed....what are you going to increase or add in your diet....think again if you think your current diet prior to the training program is adequate.

    Your fooling yourself if you think you get enough vitimins & minerals in just your diet.

    ANTIOXIDANTS....these might be Vitimin A,C E mainly.

    Basicly your red blood cells which are carrying the hemogloben oxidise and are carrying impurities such as by products from your work out.
    Clean the blood up and you enable the red blood cells to carry oxygen for more efficiently....henceforth the art of recovery.

    New tissue and repair gets addressed and one gets far better results.

    No one said it was cheap to get quality supplements but here is one 53 old dude that spares,mountain bikes,snowshoes with youngsters 20 years my jr.

    Cant put enough importance on understanding the ART OF RECOVERY.

    You dont have to have had a past career as a saturation diver for 21 years and be a medic to be up on the whole FREE RADICAL/ANTI OXIDANT game.

    The internet is loaded with facts..find out what works for your body.

    Get after.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for all the input! I'm actually going to Colorado, the camp is at mile marker 4 on Highway 10 east of Walsenburg. Supposedly more of a plains country hunt than mountainous, though they have both.

    I'm really curious, were you serious with the plunger?

    My diet leaves a lot to be desired, as the only way I seem to lose weight is on a no bread/sugar/complex carb diet. I've bought the P90X system, and it does a great job of holding down the napkins on the dining room table. I've gotta get up and get moving soon.

    Maybe that deposit check will have me motivated....

  18. #18
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    Interestingly, just did a search and discovered that Walsenburg, CO is actually about 6,100 feet elevation.

  19. #19
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    Feb 2009
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    Slabsides -

    If you want to diet and still eat the foods you like (in moderation!) check out Eat. Stop. Eat. by Brad Pilon. It's based on flexible intermittent fasting. Sounds strange, I know, but it works! I've been living this way for the last 7 months and have lost 27 pounds. (Granted, I didn't have a lot of weight to lose...I'm at 9% BF right now). I feel great and my exercise is more effective. Most of that weight also was lost in the first 2-3 months...so you should have plenty of time before September!

  20. #20
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    Checked out that EatStopEat, and I might try that out. Thanks for that tip. Today is my first fast, then we'll see how it goes...

  21. #21
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    Definately get the knee looked for starters. It could be nothing but if it is a patology then that doesn't nescessarily mean you can't start training you may just have to modify your workout a little. I am not a fan of running period unless it is done on a soft surface like grass and especially with you being a large frame athlete I would probably not reccomend it. Besides, you aren't going to be doing alot of running on your elk hunt. You can get through your hunt and be out of shape but if you want to enjoy your hunt then you will need to build the endurance in your legs while also not neglecting your upper body. This is done by incorporating short and long duration cardio with strength training at a high lactate threshold. Notice I said strength training, not weigh training. With your body weight that should be all you need for resistance so I would focus on body weight moves. Your cardio needs to eventually be event specific so if you are planning on hiking in 5 miles for example you need to work up to that. It would be a good idea to start training in hunting footwear and heavier clothing as you get closer to your hunt. Also, practice shooting your bow when you are out of breath. For instance, take a brisk walk, then take a shot while you are still trying to catch your breath. This will simulate a common scenario in elk hunting. I hope this helps. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
    I am the Pilgrim, master: I shall go Always a little further: it may be beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow, across that angry or that glimmering sea
    A coward dies a thousand deaths, a warrior dies but one.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by slabsides45 View Post
    Checked out that EatStopEat, and I might try that out. Thanks for that tip. Today is my first fast, then we'll see how it goes...
    I actually fast while I am prepareing to go out west to hunt. I usually go for 30 days sunup to sundown then I do Fri. night to Sunday morning for the last few weeks leading up to my hunt. Where are you at in MS? I grew up in Tupelo.
    I am the Pilgrim, master: I shall go Always a little further: it may be beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow, across that angry or that glimmering sea
    A coward dies a thousand deaths, a warrior dies but one.

  23. #23
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    Thanks again for all the posts and help!

    I was born in Tupelo, small world! Raised in Laurel, moved back to Tupelo for about 7 years and now reside in the Memphis suburbs south of the state line. My dad and his wife still live in Tupelo, and most of my good friends are from that area.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plain & Simple View Post
    You can get through your hunt and be out of shape but if you want to enjoy your hunt then you will need to build the endurance in your legs while also not neglecting your upper body. This is done by incorporating short and long duration cardio with strength training at a high lactate threshold. Notice I said strength training, not weigh training. With your body weight that should be all you need for resistance so I would focus on body weight moves.

    By body weight moves, do you mean push ups, sit ups, lunges, etc? Or do you have more specific and specialized moves in mind?

    Also, what do you mean by high lactate?

  25. #25
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    All those body weight exercises, plus pull ups, squats, single leg squats, etc. Google Body Weight Exercises for a bunch of info.

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