Getting in mountain shape with no mountains around?

Discussion in 'Physical Training For Mountain Hunting And Backpac' started by KyleC, May 14, 2019.

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  1. KyleC

    KyleC Previously Kyle Cordano

    Sep 24, 2018
    What do you do?
  2. Rick Richard

    Rick Richard Well-Known Member

    Jan 7, 2014
    Cardio, strength training and hike with pack. Keep in mind, no matter how well you get in shape the altitude WILL get you.
  3. feelinducky

    feelinducky Well-Known Member

    Oct 6, 2010
    Stair climber, box jumps, weighted step ups, squats, lunges, treadmill on incline. However, there is no substitute for the mountain.
    Mike 338 likes this.
  4. Antonio m

    Antonio m Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2016
    I have the Rockies all around and still work at it, everyday.
    Cardio strength is the key to it, if I didn't live here I would run stairs or walk them with a pack on.
    Rick Richard likes this.
  5. Jeffery1122

    Jeffery1122 Member

    Apr 11, 2019
    I was just thinking about this the other day. I do a ton of weighted lunges, Bulgarian split squats, front and back squats (lighter weight more reps). Revolving stair climber, 2.0mph on the treadmill set at 30% incline. All this things are great, however I’m missing one thing, ALTITUDE! There is zero substitute. I guess if you wanted to cardio with a gas mask on that might replicate it, heavy in the might.
    Hand Skills likes this.
  6. Hand Skills

    Hand Skills Well-Known Member

    Nov 1, 2017
    Training the body to deal with hypoxia is very difficult. The real key for flatlanders and shoremen is to never compare yourself with someone who lives at altitude.

    Train to be in the best cardio health possible, drop as many pounds as possible.

    Take time to acclimate at altitude, and drink lots of cocoa.
    Mike 338 and Hoppsing55 like this.
  7. Beardeddeer91

    Beardeddeer91 Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2018
    I’m in the same boat as you currently (live in AL). I do the free exo mountain gear program made my atomic athlete. Here’s the link:

    Last year I did the three levels back-to-back (takes 3 months) before a WY hunt and it helped a lot. This year I have kept on it a lot more and have been working through general conditioning earlier in the year and now I’m working through the program again. It’ll kick your --- and really get you in shape for the mountains, and has specific exercises that train for backpacking in the mountains.
    haftime likes this.
  8. Beardeddeer91

    Beardeddeer91 Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2018
    This is good advise, a lot of people don’t think of the weight that carry on them. Every pound someone drops from their body is like taking a pound out of your pack.
    Like several people have said the altitude will get you, but being in better shape will definitely help with the effects IME. Everyone responds to higher altitudes differently so take your time until you know how you respond.
  9. TBell

    TBell Member

    May 12, 2012
    I am 65, Last year mule deer hunt I did the stair climber 70 levels 3 times a week.

    Alternating, 7 levels at (10) (what ever that is in speed, but pretty quick) then 7 levels at (4), then (10), then (4) till you reach 70 levels.

    Two weeks before and during hunt I added NO3 to my vitamin regiment. Seem to do the trick stayed up with the younger hunters meaning no one had to make any stops for the old guy.
    Lycanit, haftime and Bobhunts like this.
  10. jefftrout

    jefftrout New Member

    Dec 27, 2012
    Not much to add to the above as its all good advice. Putting on a weighted pack and doing step ups on a box is the most boring thing in the world but probably did the most for me. 1000 steps ups with 45# on a 20" box will kick your butt. I slapped one together with an old 4x4 and some plywood. Good podcasts or music to listen to is a necessity.

    Running hills is good. Maybe get a training mask. I use one when I run up, take it off on the walk back down for 5-10 reps of 2-3 minutes per repeat. It will NOT simulate altitude, but it will train your diaphragm and other breathing muscles to be more efficient. I have heard good things about the Exo program. Chris Spealer has a good program. Mountain Tactical has some good programs too, but I haven't tried them.
  11. kdguns

    kdguns Member

    May 22, 2012
    Altitude is rough. I live at 7,000 ft and thought I was in decent shape. Last bull I killed was at 10,500 ft and it kicked my butt. One key factor is water. The higher you go, the more you will need. Keeping hydrated will help significantly so make sure you account for extra water in your pack.
  12. J Doss

    J Doss Member

    Feb 23, 2019
    You could try wearing a dust mask while going through your cardio, will help simulate reduced O2 levels.

    Even before you get there, start a hydration regiment. It seems odd but the more you can stay ahead on hydration at attitude, the better off you are going to be.

    Another tip is to cut out, or at least way down on alcohol before and during the hunt. I know, it's a bummer but the alcohol offsets hydration and affects O2 levels in your body.

    If it's an option, on your way to your hunting area, spend a night at an attitude 1000 to 2000ft below the altitude of the base camp. Try to do this especially if you are making a drastic 3000ft+ altitude change. This will help you cope with any potential altitude sickness. Give your body a little more adjustment time before the hunt starts.
    I guided hunts for 17 years and saw a good many hunters having to deal with various degrees of altitude sickness (headaches, nausea, cramps, low energy). I've seen it happen to first timers and also to those who have maintain hunted before with no previous problems. It sucks!!!


    Good luck on you hunt!
    Hoppsing55 likes this.
  13. Hoppsing55

    Hoppsing55 Member

    Jul 11, 2015
    63 years living at sea level. Quick step hiking 4-5 times a week, 5-6 miles with weighted pack, of 25 lbs. Did a Wyoming Elk hunt last year at up to 10,000ft+. Just about the time our 6 day hunt was finished, we were almost fully acclimated. Don't think there is a substitute for time spent at higher altitudes? We try to get in a few days before our hunt begins and keep up the same training routine as done at home.
    Rick Richard and J Doss like this.
  14. javman

    javman Active Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    There is a mask you can were while working out and I believe you can adjust how much comes in. It makes your lungs work harder. This coupled with your routine should help. Good Luck on your adventure.
    J Doss likes this.