Welcome to the last installment in my strength training series for this off season, the loaded carry, as part of the Big Five Movements (Push, Pull, Hinge, Squat and Loaded Carry).
This is ultimately what all of us are after... getting weight out of the woods. I lump some great exercises into this segment that could find a home in other areas of strength training. From the stand point of programming, I think they all fit fairly well in this segment and allow for some variability when trying to include one of each of the Big Five Movements in a training plan.
From a planning standpoint, some of these movements are repetition based and some are time based. There aren't as many complex calculations here related to bodyweight, simply because whether you weigh 165# or 220#, you just have to get that buck out of the woods or the elk quarter off the mountain.
Nothing will prepare you for moving weight around like getting out under load...but we'll get to that in the summer endurance training phases. For now, treat these activities like strength training and don't worry, I recommend these exercises in increasing volume as we approach hunting season.
The Loaded Carry Exercises I like include standard exercises like the Suitcase Carry or Farmer Walks, but I also incorporate Log Drags and Sandbag Get-Ups in this section of my training plan.
Suitcase Carry is just what it sounds like- walking with a suitcase. Having a heavy weight offset to one side creates a lot of focused core work in the lateral stabilizers and requires strong shoulders and hips to stay level.
Ideally you build up to half of your bodyweight in a suitcase carry, working from 10-60 second carries on each side for repetitions. I try to accumulate 3-5 minutes of work on each side in a session, so say 5 x 45 sec per side.
(80# Kettlebell while walking)
The log drag is also a time based event. I drag both backward and forward, up and down hill, usually for 1-3 minutes per repetition, 3-5 repetitions per session.
(This log might weigh 300#)
A sandbag get up is also quite simple- put a 20-50# sandbag on your shoulder and get up and down off the ground. The fancy version, the Turkish Get Up, is a very form specific activity and is a good way to train, but this movement is basic and challenging. I perform this for repetitions, usually 5-8 repetitions per side for 2-3 sets. When you fall down with your pack on, you'll be thankful you did this one!
(40# sandbag get up)
As a tracker and western hunter, I consider hunting an endurance endeavor. That said, I think strength training plays an important role in the basic fitness of the hunting athlete because some of the things we do are hard and heavy. That strength should be built form the ground up- legs, core, then upper body. The principles are simple- train movements, focus on form, progress slowly up to a standard and then maintain.
With winter coming to an end, my strength focus is ending and I'm shifting to an endurance focus starting in April. I'll work 1x/wk to maintain some strength, but putting on easy miles will be the bulk of the plan.