Forget the deer-spotting stereotypes. Backcountry hunting requires trekking for miles over rugged terrain only to retrace your steps while carrying hundreds of pounds of fresh meat on your back.
“Packing out an animal is hard,” says Dustin Diefenderfer, hunter, ultrarunner and founder of MTNTOUGH Fitness in Bozeman, MT. “You need a strong chassis, like an F-150.” Hunter or not, try his signature 45-70 heavy pack workout. It’s designed to build the muscle endurance and strength required for such a daunting task.
The Best Heavy Pack Workout to Build the Strength and Endurance for Backcountry Hunting
Load a multiday backpack that has a harness system with sandbags (or wrap free weights with towels) to approximate weight. Perform a descending/ascending ladder with the rep scheme: 30, 20, 10, 20, 30. Rest 2 to 5 minutes between sets. Repeat workout three times a week.