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  • Matt Breton

Building a Base


This time of year, my fitness training is focused on building a broad and solid base to put the rest of the year on, with a focus on a peak in November.

So what builds a good base?

This ultimately depends on individual goals. For me, I enjoy running/hiking in the summer months, so that becomes an endurance focus of base building for the second 12 week block of my training, so I focus on building strength in the first block.

Strength, as an absolute, is measured in what is called a '1 Repetition Max', the most amount of weight you can lift one time. Heavy. Because I'm an endurance guy and a physical therapist, I work toward a 5 rep max, the heaviest amount of weight I can lift five times. I think this still helps get me strong and gives me some wiggle room from an injury prevention standpoint, so I can focus on good form. If I get 4 reps with good form and feel like I won't get the 5th rep, I can safely bail out. I have target weights I work toward, derived from some 1 rep max recommendations from Rob Shaul at https://mtntactical.com/ and then recalculated for 5 rep max. The specifics matter little- in-the-field performance is the only measure and ultimately that buck doesn't care if I deadlift 225# or 245#.

The other consideration is what lifts to perform to build the desired strength. Dan John, a well known strength coach who has a couple books out there, keeps things relatively simple and is where I got the idea of focusing on movements. He breaks it down into six basic movements to train:

Push

Pull

Squat

Hinge

Loaded Carry

Everything Else

Last year I noticed I didn't have the 'snap' in my legs I wanted, so this years training, starting now, is going to include a little more explosiveness. So I planned two, six week routines of lifting a couple days per week, focused on these movements. The first six weeks are more basic, with pushups.bench, pullups/rows, lunges/squats, deadlifts, farmer walks and getups on the list. The second six weeks will continue with those basics, but will work in kettlebell swings (an explosive hinge movement) and lunge and box jumps (explosive squat movements). That will hopefully carry over into the running/hiking season.

Next up will be planning the endurance training block and I have some new wrinkles there based on last season. As I move toward the peak, I'll work on morphing the strength and endurance base of the first 24 weeks of 2019 into hunting-specific fitness.


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