Hunting Conditioning


Hiking around the mountains of southwestern Montana in search of the big game and other critters can be very physically demanding. Training for such expeditions takes some careful thought. The primary areas of fitness trained should be stamina, strength, endurance and power. Training should be done focusing on movements, more importantly dynamic movements heavily focused on the core, hips and legs. For example Turkish Getups, deadlifts, lunges and kettlebell work.

Strength and Power work are essential if you are carrying a pack.  If you bag an elk packing it out is no easy task and you will need to be able to not only pick up that weight; but carry it for distance or drag it. This is where functional “core”, strength and power training will come in handy. Don’t forget about squats, deadlifts and farmer’s walks.

As elevation increases there are a number of acute responses to the altitude change that should influence training. The most critical of these is reduced oxygen saturation (oxygen bound to red blood cells to be transported) because of the decrease in barometric pressure. So there is plenty of oxygen available in the air but it cannot be transported. Therefore working on “cardio” and stamina is pretty important. Endurance work should focus on moderate length intervals with moderate to high intensity done running, hiking hills, and step ups carrying a load.

Don’t forget to hydrate! The cold weather as well as increased altitude act to increase the rate of respiratory water loss (and sweat loss believe it or not). The importance proper hydration cannot be overstated.


Kaminsky, Leonard A.. (Eds.) (2006) ACSM’s resource manual for Guidelines for exercise testing and prescription /Baltimore, MD : Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

2 responses to this post.

  1. Great points made in this article! I liked that you kept it simple for any one to follow! Good luck to all the hunters this season.


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