Pulling exercises are incredibly IMPORTANT! Sorry for yelling but for many, it appears all we do is sit, slouch then sit some more in our everyday lives. Don’t believe me? If you are at work right now, walk around the office and check out your co-worker’s posture. You will see first-hand the result of weak back muscles and bad posture such as rounded shoulders, heads jutting forward and the beginning of a curved spine. I also bet you are taking this posture with you into the woods which only compounds the problem because you are most likely loaded down with gear. You compensate for weak back muscles on the way to your spot then proceed to use poor posture during your hunt. The
good news is there are exercises that can correct posture and enhance your hunting experience and we are going to show you how to add it to your workout!!
How can pulling exercises fix your posture? Think of it like this, if you slouch in your stand and your back starts to ache your first instinct is to sit up and PULL your shoulders blades together to alleviate the discomfort. And the pulling motion doesn’t start there because depending on what and how you are hunting, you have the potential to pull things the entire hunt. You have to pull yourself into your tree stand, pull up your gear and if Good Lord willing a dandy buck walks by, you will use all the pulling muscles you have when you draw back your bow. Do you see where I'm going with this?
For so long, especially in my athletic career, emphasis was based on bench press and squat. We call them “Mirror Muscles” because these are the exercises you can see in the mirror and people dig it. They like seeing muscles in action but they tend to neglect the pulling muscles in the upper and lower back. What they should have told me was to do chin-ups and rows which is why now I'm placing emphasis on pulling exercises which not only enhances my fitness, it has enhanced my outdoor experiences because I perform better in the field. If you are working out to make your hunts better start focusing on the pull, because I promise you will never push a deer out of the woods.
When you start thinking about what it is you are going to undertake in both life and the field, you have begun to think about the way your body needs to move. Not only will these pull exercises help with your hunts, but they will begin to help with posture so that you can slouch a little less and stand a little taller. Strengthen yourself and you will strengthen your hunt.
Let's start with an experiment. Take a big deep breath in through your nose with your mouth closed. Now, exhale slowly out your nose and open your mouth before all the air is gone. What did you feel? You probably felt the air just fall out of your abdomen and a little unsatisfied by not exhaling all the way. Why is that? Because you didn’t use all the tools God gave you to breathe effectively! The good news is there are breathing methods that will help you stay calm and centered when the buck of a lifetime walks by your stand and we are going to teach you how to use breathing to get a big deer, elk or gobbler on the ground!
When it comes to breathing your face was created in such a way that it has two sources in which to breathe out of; the first being your nose and the fail safe being your mouth. Your nose is your filter. It tends to stop bacteria and allergens (via your nose hairs etc.) from getting into your system. The other thing is does is maintain abdominal pressure, that is, if you are actually breathing into your stomach.
Another great and probably the biggest reason for breathing out (exhaling) of your mouth is for neurological purposes. Exhaling through your nose has a direct connection to your brain that signals feelings of flight or fight or what I like to call the “Oh, Sh!#!”Reflex. Many times you get this feeling (along with adrenaline) when a deer or flock of ducks get close. Learning to control your breath will help you become calmer in the field which increases the odds of both good decision making and a more accurate shot. If you are confused at this point let us demonstrate a technique to help you breathe better:
We've all had those days where long a trek to our stand or blind left us winded. We have all felt what it's like to have the excitement of a big deer creep near your stand or a flock of ducks fly low over your blind and how our hearts race with adrenaline which often produces shallow, rapid breaths. Friends, I promise that if you will follow the breathing technique in the video above you can begin to control your heart rate. And if you can control your heart rate, you will be more suited to stay calm and make an accurate kill shot. Keep this in mind next time you are out hunting and the 12 point you have hunted for the last three years steps out at 30 yards!
Get ready for turkey season!
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The buck of a lifetime walks into the cut bean field you’re hunting and he's on a line straight to your stand. As you get up to draw, you lean back and you rock yourself to your feet. What happens next is a blur: The stomping of hooves, the white flag and the blow. Your buck is out of the field and gone in a flash but what went wrong? The answer is simple. You brought your rocking chair to the stand.
If you plan on taking a mature whitetail you have to remember to reduce movement to an absolute minimum. If you are like me, you like to stand to shoot, so the question is, how do you get into a standing position without spooking a wary buck? This is where the rocking chair effect can ruin your chances of a successful hunt, meat in the freezer and a big taxidermy bill.
A deer's ability to pick up movement is so much better than ours. If you lean back to generate enough momentum to stand you'll get busted every time. We often take for granted the simple motion of standing from a seated position or in gym speak, performing a squat but if you aren’t putting these into your workout routine, it’s time you did! Not sure how to squat safely? Check out this video:
The squat is a move that will translate well from the gym to the field. If you are being seen more often than you would like because of excess movement as you attempt to stand, squats should be the cornerstone of your strength training program. You don’t exercise? No problem. Simply use the tips in the video above to help you develop the leg strength to kick the rocking chair effect to the curb.
Stealth is the name of the game and being able to manipulate your own body weight in the stand will make you a deer hunting ninja! Don't get noticed in your stand from a weakness that you can actually control by adding squat movements to your workout. We spend hundreds of dollars each year in camo scents and gear. Add squats to your workout and you may find yourself with the buck of your dreams on the ground. Stand up, be confident and leave your rocking chair at home!
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To lose weight or kill big deer you need a healthy dose of patience
and a realistic outlook.
I have never passed on as many deer as I did on the first three days of the 2014 Missouri firearms season. It was a continuous parade of a few does and many small bucks. Since I have pictures of a monster eight and ten point on the farm I was in no hurry to pull the trigger. Still, it was very tempting when you have bucks literally camp out in front of your stand to pull the trigger and get that immediate gratification our society craves. It was at that moment that I realized that there is a direct correlation between killing BIG deer and losing weight. Think I am crazy? Let me make the connections for you!
Have you ever had a plan then ditched that plan for something much, much easier? Of course you have. We have all done it. It is a whole lot easier to snuggle on a couch eating cookies by the fire than it is to lace up your shoes and go for a walk or run, so if the choice is workout in the cold or sit by the fire, many are going to be throwing some extra logs on and hunker down for the night. But diverting from your plan won’t make the pounds disappear. The same can be said for diverting from the hunting strategy
you developed for getting your chance to knock down that booner on your trail cam. When buck fever hits it is easy to shoot the first deer that walks by (which there is nothing wrong with) but if your goal is a wall hanger, burning a tag on a spike isn’t sticking to the plan.
And then there is the lure of the cupcakes. They talk…no, they sing to you don’t they?Pretty tunes saying “go ahead and have one or two….or three.” I typically don’t fall for the lure of sweets but it was awfully hard not to pull the trigger on a small buck on day two. He literally paced a 60 yard line back and forth for 30 minutes grunting at every step. I think now it was just pure meanness on the buck’s part and he should have been put down for tempting me but I resisted. Can you say the same when it comes to avoiding temptation and staying strong in the face of a delectable treat that you know will derail your weight loss efforts? What kind of self-talk do you have with yourself when it comes to derailing your nutrition and hunting strategy? Better yet, do you try to justify it?
There is also a time commitment to both weight loss success and killing monster deer. TV has led us to believe that body fat melts off just by ordering the High Intensity Fat Burning Bikini Boot Camp DVD in a moment of late night weakness. And if you watch a lot of hunting television (and don’t think it through) it is easy to think that the few seconds from the time the hunting personality climbs into the stand and a non-typical 12 point strolls by at 10 yards is 100% normal. Now, I think we all have killed a deer or
turkey mere moments after getting set up but I think we also know this is not the norm. Weight loss takes weeks and weeks of sticking to both exercise, nutrition and stress management strategies and most hunting personalities are sitting in trees from sun up to sun down in order to get that kill shot on film. That’s right, by the time you are getting cold and are ready for coffee and a nap (for me that is about 9am) those folks are still sitting in a tree. All day long in order to accomplish their mission. Bottom line: If you aren’t willing to put in the time expect both the scale to stay the same and to kill small deer.
Still, there has to be a dose of realism with everything we do. On day four of firearms season the BIG ten point busted me before shooting light. My one chance at him was shot to heck. Nevertheless, I stayed vigilant and harvested a very respectable three year old seven point. Did I want that ten? More than anything but I was also presented an opportunity to harvest a nice deer so I had a choice to make (I still have two bow tags so that ten isn’t safe just yet). With weight loss, you will also reach a point where you need to be realistic. I run into a lot of people who want the magazine cover, washboard abs
(who doesn’t) but aside from a great deal of air brushing, one has to understand that these models have:
1. Outstanding genetics
2. Exercise 5-6 days/week for 60+ min per session
3. Have an impeccably clean eating strategy
Most of us don’t want to or cannot adhere to such a stringent plan but we can achieve a lean, toned physique, lose weight and feel great! Just keep in mind there is a big difference in what we see in media regarding what it takes to get that cover model physique and a monster buck. Stay committed but also be realistic.
At Fit To Hunt we have always found that when you can correlate situations in other areas of life to a health, fitness or weight loss goal, it helps the client look at their objective in terms they can relate to and this is no different. To lose weight or kill big deer it takes patience and a realistic outlook.
Contributions made by Fit2Hunt Staff!