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Preparing for the Backcountry | | backcountry hunting, built outdoors, elk shape, outdoor athlete

Preparing for the Backcountry

As outdoorsmen we share a common bond- we pursue wild game in hope of a successful hunt. To each of us, “success” can be defined many ways. As Outdoor Athletes, we know first hand the importance of functional training and know our training priorities must follow a specific plan to prepare us for what we may endure in the backcountry. It’s easy to train for strength and power, but what about balance, mobility, and stamina?

As you know, our best-laid plans in the field can quickly take a turn. We find ourselves several ridges over from where we anticipated, in the bottom of a deep canyon chasing the herd and hopefully faced with a long, heavy pack out. This is exactly why we train for the unknown.

At Built Outdoors Group we take hunting seriously. It’s about family traditions, preserving our heritage, conservation, diving into the wild, and filling our need to chase the monsters of the forest.

Training specificity isn’t a new revelation- a baseball, football, and soccer player all train specifically for their sport. So, when you break it down and think about the sport of hunting, wouldn’t it make sense to practice how you play? We think so!

Try adding in these four moves to help build your core stabilizers, balance, hip mobility and get ready for the pack out. No need for a gym membership or investing in pricey workout equipment- keep it functional, find something around the house, you could even use your bow or hunting pack.


Movement 1– Stand and Reach Reverse lunge

Begin this move by standing on one leg, keeping your shoulders rolled back, chest out, eyes forward. Then, keeping your working leg slightly bent, hinge at the hip to bring your hands to the ground (aim for your foot). Come back to center by pushing your working leg heel into the ground, keeping your core engaged and pulling with your glute and hamstring. From center, you will step back into a reverse lunge. Make sure when you lunge you focus on bringing the back knee straight down to the ground and limit your forward movement.

Repeat the above sequence for 15-20 reps on each side.

Movement 2– Oblique Crunch

You will begin this exercise by lying on one side. Bend your top arm and bring your hand to the side of your head- never should you pull on your head. Then crunch your chest to your knees, keeping your feet together and slightly bending your knees, maintaining a solid, contracted core. Return to beginning position and repeat. Perform this movement 15-20 reps on each side.

Movement 3– Kettlebell V-Ups

This movement can be done with or without weight. Begin by laying on your back, weight held above your head and legs slightly bent. You will bring the weight over your chest, raising your shoulder blades off the ground at the same time you bring your feet up to meet your hands in the middle. Make sure to keep your core engaged and strong. Return to starting position by bringing the weight overhead and your legs back to the ground.

Repeat the above sequence 15-20 reps

Movement 4– Sumo High Pull

This movement is started by firmly holding a kettle bell with long arms at your waist. Start the movement by contracting your core and bending at the waist, knees, and ankles to lower the kettlebell safely to the ground. Once you’ve touched the ground with the kettlebell, drive through your heels, keeping a tight core and using your legs to straighten your body back to the starting position. At the same time pull with your upper back and shoulders until the kettlebell comes up to chin level. Repeat this sequence for a total of 15-20 reps.