Cardio Recommendations for Upcoming Hunt Cardio Recommendations for Upcoming Hunt

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Thread: Cardio Recommendations for Upcoming Hunt

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2023
    Location
    Denver
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    5

    Default Cardio Recommendations for Upcoming Hunt

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    Hey folks,

    I'm looking to start making a shift in my training to prepare for a pretty intense, week long elk hunt in the mountains of Colorado and would like some advice.

    Some background, I've "exercised" most of my life, but started to follow the SS program this spring, getting my DL up to 430lb, Squat to 340lb at 6'2" 205lb BW. After a similar hunt last year, I know that I'm going to need pretty intense conditioning to be able to traverse the pretty extreme high altitude terrain and I'm looking for advice from guys that have successfully added hard cardio to their training with *minimal* impact to their strength training. Of course, it seems it will impact no matter what and that's a trade-off I have come to accept to have a successful hunt this year, but if you guys or gals have any advice or specific cardio training programs - I am all ears. So far, I have added ruck walking with a heavy backpack either on a treadmill or stair stepper and have plans to hit the hills this weekend to do an actual hike.

    Thanks in advance!
    Nick

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Posts
    260

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    Long time elk hunter (Wyo) here but living in the flatlands (Okla).
    You have an advantage living at 5000 ft in Denver so your acclimating is probably quicker.
    I'm almost 71yo but stay active and strength train year round. My first day in the mountains is slow but that isn't a bad thing when hunting.
    I focus more on my strength training (HLM) and daily hiking outside with regular daypack weights to make sure my boots are comfortable.
    I do hard cycling intervals on a 30-60 second hill once or twice a week (30 minutes tops).
    I do not run. I've never needed to run to kill an elk as I know they are always faster.
    I don't spend a lot of time with very heavy rucking because it affects my recovery for strength training and my archery practice (2 Factor Model?). I may load up a heavy pack just once to make sure all equipment is in order. My strength training alone is enough for me to pack an elk out. Sure, it's going to suck and I always use trekking poles but it's not an impossible task and there is adrenaline after being successful. Plus, you pack out the elk and the heavy lifting is done except for helping your buddy pack his elk out.
    Good luck this season. September is getting close.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Posts
    535

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    The general consensus is prowler pushes. However, since you've started SS since the last hunt, I would actually recommend not doing any cardio prior to the hunt, just do SS as normal up to it. I think you may be surprised how much better conditioned you are.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2023
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    252

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    Do you have access to a prowler?

    Prowler's king for conditioning, both because it lacks eccentric loading and because it can be titrated to train the energy system you want. Two sessions on "off days" never interfered with my strength training. Load it appropriately for the conditioning regime you're targeting, and start with five "reps": push the prowler over one distance interval, rest until you feel mostly recovered, and then push it over another interval. Try to get five reps the first day, then add a rep each time, trying to keep it within ten minutes or so. When you add enough reps, add time.

    I'm not familiar with the conditioning demands of such an activity. Our numbers are similar, but our prowler/turf setup might not be. I load mine to 180 lbs (4 plates) to train anaerobic conditioning, and 135 lbs (3 plates) to train aerobic conditioning. Try it and see. If you feel like recovery from short bursts of muscle activity is the training effect you want, load it heavier. If you feel like you want to train aerobic recovery over longer distances and efforts, load it lighter (and perhaps increase the distance interval). This'll get you where you need to be after about six sessions or so.

    That said, it sounds like weighted rucking will be what you're after: hiking with a heavy pack will train you for hiking with a heavy pack like nothing else. Maybe do that one one rest day and prowler conditioning on another. Just be careful not to wipe yourself out. Up your calories to make sure you're not losing weight, maybe gain a few pounds leading up (205 for a 6'2" guy is light). If you're doing a hike you might need another 1-2 thousand calories that day.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    North Texas
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    What is the elevation where you hunt?

  6. #6
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    Aug 2023
    Location
    Denver
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    Rip - thanks for the reply, usually depends where the animals are, the elevation range of where we'll be is about 8-10000ft.

    So far I've been able to manage recovery wearing myself out with the backpack but my gym has a few sleds so I can start to work in some pushes. To your point Maybach, I've noticed weight has just started to fall off so I've really had to adjust my eating a ton.

    Lost and Found - appreciate the reply and advice, always awesome to hear from guys still getting it done in the backcountry!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    36

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    For a trip like this, I no longer believe a person needs to ďdo cardioĒ with the intensity or volume that will significantly interfere with recovery from lifting, except for the most serious lifters or those engaged in other strenuous activities, and provided thereís time for four bouts of lower intensity, so-called Zone 2, cardio per week.

    So start with 25 minutes of walking or rucking during which you go easy enough that you can maintain mouth-closed nasal breathing. And do the. Nasal breathing. Work up to four sessions a week of about 45 minutes each for at least a couple or a few weeks before you taper just a bit before the trip.

    If you have time to train your VO2 max, donít start until after youíve built a solid Zone 2 base, and then do just one day a week of hills/intervals. Youíll see progress from the Zone 2 work in a lower resting heart rate and higher heart rate variability, if you donít otherwise notice it. The intervals will improve rapidly if you build a Zone 2 base first.

    Zone 2 work is the fastest way to stimulate mitochondria in your slow-twitch muscles. Depending on your age and the relative intensity of your lifts you may even find that it improves your recovery from lifting. Thatís my experience.

    If you donít have time to train your VO2 max before the trip, start when you get back. Like strength, it can be improved at any age. And like strength, VO2 max is strongly correlated with healthier aging.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2007
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    Anybody interested in my opinion?

  9. #9
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    May 2020
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    Seattle
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    Yes

  10. #10
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    Jun 2023
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    Ontario, Canada
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    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe View Post
    Anybody interested in my opinion?
    I am!

    And mostly because rucksacking sounds like a form of "functional" training to me.....

    That said, I'm also interested since next month, I have a 7 day - 160km (100 mile) canoe trip coming up that will have some nasty portages to do with heavy packs as well as a 35 km (22 mile) 3 day hike over terrain and I'm curious if I should be putting my body through any additional work outside of my NLP.

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