After I got my tail kicked at 10,000 feet on an elk hunt last fall, I started to rethink my preseason workout program. For other bowhunters who have elk tags to fill, now is the time to start training. Under Armour pro staffer and diehard hunter Cameron Hanes has a plan to get you from zero to elk in three months. Phase one, which emphasizes cardio, strength, and daily shooting drills, starts today.
1. Slow and Steady**
Weeks 1-2 Take things slow in the beginning. “Most people never make it outside because they think they need to run a marathon,” Hanes says. Walk–don’t run–for 30 minutes every day. Try to maintain a brisk pace, but don’t push it. “It takes a while to break in your legs.”
Weeks 3-4 Divide your walks into intervals–starting with one minute of light jogging, followed by five minutes of walking. Increase the times of your runs with the goal of jogging the entire 30-minute session by the end of the month.
2. Strong Like Bull Elk
Weeks 1-2 For strength, start with three sets of planks: Hold an elevated push-up position for 20 seconds. After a rest, get up on one arm and hold the plank for 20 seconds. Switch arms and repeat. Next, do four sets of 10 push-ups and 10 squats.
Weeks 3-4 Lengthen your plank times by 10 seconds until you can hold it for a full minute. And add more push-ups and squats. By the end of the month, you should be able to do 80 of each, over four sets, every day for an entire week.
3. Shoot. Shoot. Shoot.
Weeks 1-2 Forget accuracy for now. All you should be focused on is building archery muscles. Every day, shoot at a bale from point-blank range until you’re fatigued. Keep track of the number of arrows you shoot, then add three more arrows to your shooting regimen each day.
Weeks 3-4 Push out to 20 yards and shoot five-arrow rounds. Increase the rounds until you’re shooting 100 arrows a day. “Don’t worry about distance just yet,” Hanes says. “That comes next month.”