Rob’s Personal May/June 2020 Programming

Nothing trains like vertical! Loaded uphill hiking for mountain endurance …

By Rob Shaul

Most of my focus in May and June is to prepare for hunting season, which begins either mid-August or September 1. Beginning in July, I’ll be out 1-2 nights per week scouting new hunting areas. Scouting is a way to spend more time outside, in the mountains, and extend my hunting season.

Backcountry bowhunting’s major fitness demand is mountain endurance – uphill movement under load, and long days and mileage.

Mountain Endurance primarily involves mode-specific cardio (hiking uphill under load), leg strength for the uphills, eccentric leg strength for the downhills, chassis integrity, and rolling hill rucking for the approaches and hunting specifically, the heavy pack out.

In addition to training for the hunting season, in the Spring I find myself sick with cabin fever, even when there isn’t a pandemic, and simply want to be outside as much as possible with the warming weather.

Finally, extra body mass (fat), and upper body muscle mass do nothing but slow you down in the mountains. So a shift in programming to an endurance emphasis, with limited, heavy, low volume strength training, would hopefully help me cut weight, and as a result, move faster and better in field. I began May 1 at 165#, and am down to 160# here at June 1. I hope to cut 5-10 more pounds as the summer proceeds and be at 150-155# come September 1.

Here was my May weekly schedule:

  • Monday: AM: Strength, Chassis Integrity; PM: Uphill Endurance (unloaded hike and run) at a Moderate Pace – 60 Minutes
  • Tuesday: 50-75 minute Trail Run, at an Easy Pace
  • Wednesday: AM: Strength, Chassis Integrity; PM: Uphill Endurance (unloaded hike and run) at a Moderate Pace – 60 Minutes
  • Thursday: 50-75 minute Trail Run, at an Easy Pace
  • Friday: AM: Strength, Chassis Integrity; PM: Uphill Endurance (unloaded hike and run) at a Moderate Pace
  • Saturday: Rest, or 50-75 Minute easy Ruck @ 45#
  • Sunday: Rest

With May’s strength and Chassis Integrity programming for the Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I lab ratted a couple different methods to make the gym-based sessions as efficient as possible.

First, I eliminated the warm up, and replaced it with a 20 minute, 4-exercise Chassis Integrity grind, which always included sandbag get ups.

We initially tested Chassis Integrity grinds to begin the training session during last year’s dryland ski training with my local lab rats. During that cycle, as we continued to progress the leg lactate programming, we simply began to run out of time in a 60 minute session to get everthing in …. so I cut the warm up.

It worked well. Twenty minutes of sandbag-intensive Chassis Integrity at the beginning of the session did a great job of preparing us for the long, intense Touch/Jump/Touch to box intervals. I always included the sandbag getup then as well, to ensure we got a deep knee squat in the warm up.

I did the same in May. Below is a typical Chassis Integrity Circuit I deployed:

20 Minute Grind … (work steadily, not frantically)

  • 5x Sandbag Getups @ 40/60# (Alternate Shoulders Each Round)
  • 5x Sandbag Good Morning @ 40/60#
  • 5x Keg Lift @ 40/60# Sandbag
  • 10x Hinge Lift @ 65/95#

May’s Strength Work was built on a three exercise assessment – 1RM Back Squat, 1RM Bench Press and Max Rep Weighted Pull Ups @ 25#, and a Density Progression.

In past Density progression programming, I’d run each exercise by itself, on a 90 second interval, for example:

  • 5 Rounds, 4x Back Squat  @ 80% 1RM, every 90 seconds … followed by …
  • 5 Rounds, 4x Bench Press @ 80% 1RM every 90 Seconds … followed by …
  • 5 Rounds, 30% weighted pull ups @ 25#, every 90 seconds.

In May, I wanted to see if we could tighten this up, and do it more efficiently by running all 3 exercises in the same interval, and still be able to make all the prescribed loads and reps. I did this by running the exercises back to back, under a 3:30 Interval, so …

5 Rounds, every 3:30 ….

  • 4x Back Squat @ 80% 1RM
  • 4x Bench Press @ 80% 1RM
  • 30% Max Rep Weighted Pull Ups @ 25#

Between the Chassis Integrity and Strength Work we’d need to take 3 rounds of warm up work to get ready for the heavy back squats and bench press. So, putting it all together, here was a typical May gym-based session – which would take around 45 minutes.

Monday

Training:

(1) 20 Minute Grind …

  • 5x Sandbag Getups @ 40/60# (Alternate Shoulders Each Round)
  • 5x Sandbag Good Morning @ 40/60#
  • 5x Keg Lift @ 40/60# Sandbag
  • 10x Hinge Lift @ 65/95#

*** I’d typically get through 4 rounds in 20 minutes, my son – 5 rounds

(2) 3 Rounds

  • 8x Back Squat @ 50/60/70% 1RM (50% Round 1, 60% Round 2, etc.)
  • 8x Bench Press @ 50/60/70% 1RM (50% Round 1, 60% Round 2, etc.)
  • Instep Stretch

(3) 5 Rounds, every 3:30 …

  • 4x Back Squat @ 80% 1RM
  • 4x Bench Press @ 80% 1RM
  • 30% Max Rep Weighted Pull Ups @ 25#

I was somewhat surprised we (because of COVID, only my son could train alongside me) were able to make this loading and interval, but we did, and it’s offered me another tool to make MTI programming more efficient. Both my son and I increased or 1RM Back Squat and Bench Press by 10-20#, and max rep loaded pull ups by 10-20% over this quick 4-week cycle, despite all the endurance work.

For June, the general outline is the same, but with even more emphasis on mountain endurance. Here is the planned weekly schedule

  • Monday: 90-120 Minute Trail Run, Easy Pace
  • Tuesday: AM: Strength, Chassis Integrity; PM: Uphill Endurance (Load hike and unloaded run) at a Moderate Pace – 60 Minutes
  • Wednesday: 90-120 Minute Trail Run, Easy Pace
  • Thursday: AM: Strength, Chassis Integrity; PM: Uphill Endurance (Loaded hike and unloaded run) at a Moderate Pace – 60 Minutes
  • Friday: 90-120 Minute Trail Run, Easy Pace, alternating weekly with a 3-5 mile heavy ruck (75#)
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: 2-4 Hour Peak Bag, Trail Run or Hike

The Monday/Wednesday/Friday trail run at an easy pace is new this year. In past years, a greater percentage of my backcountry hunting mountain endurance was uphill hiking, but this year I wanted to change it up and see if I could do a better job of building aerobic base with easy-paced trail runs. I’ve found it’s difficult to maintain a lower (Zone 2ish) heart rate hiking uphill.

For the gym sessions, we’re still doing a 20 minute Chassis Integrity circuit warm up – with sandbag getups – but have changed the strength work to an even more efficient application of MTI’s “Efficient Strength” methodology. Specifically, a three exercise circuit involving a Lower Body, Upper Body Press, and Upper Body Pull exercise.

Tuesday and Thursday’s PM hike and run – I’m using a backpack loaded with 3 gallons of water (about 28# all together) for load on the hike. At the top of the hill I dump the water, and run down and around.

Below was Tuesday’s Session – which just at 40 minutes to complete

Tuesday

Training:

(1) 20 Minute Grind …

  • 10x Sandbag Getups @ 40/60# (Alternate Shoulders Each Round)
  • 5x Sandbag Cross Clean @ 40/60#
  • 10x Good Morning @ 65#
  • 8x Front Squat @ 65# (to get legs/joints warmed up for the coming heavy reps …)

(2) 5 Rounds

  • 5x Front Squat – Increase Load Each Round until 5x is Hard, but doable
  • 5x Arnold Press – Increase Load Each Round until 5x is Hard, but doable
  • 3/6x Pull Ups

In July, I’ll continue with a schedule, but increase the load for the Tuesday/Thursday hike to 36# (4 gallons of water + the backpack), and shorten the trail runs to 60-90 minutes, but increase the intensity to a moderate pace (comfortable but not easy – Zone 3ish). As well, I will likely begin scouting and so will have 1-2 long days in the mountains. If I’m planning a weekend scouting trip, I’ll skip Friday’s training.

Here is the schedule I anticipate for July:

  • Monday: 60 Minute Trail Run, Moderate Pace
  • Tuesday: AM: Strength, Chassis Integrity; PM: Uphill Endurance (Load hike and unloaded run) at a Moderate Pace – 60 Minutes
  • Wednesday: 90-Minute Trail Run, Moderate Pace
  • Thursday: AM: Strength, Chassis Integrity; PM: Uphill Endurance (Loaded hike and unloaded run) at a Moderate Pace – 60 Minutes
  • Friday: Scouting Trip
  • Saturday: Scouting Trip
  • Sunday: Total Rest

Questions, Comments, Feedback? Email rob@mtntactical.com

 

 

 


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