Hook & Barrel
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5 Core Exercises for Hunters

Let’s talk about the difference between abs and core. Core exercises aren’t just for getting a six pack. Having a strong core lets you have a stronger base of power. All of your exercises are going to become a little easier to do competently and carefully with a strong core. The following are 5 core exercises for hunters. We talked to Sarah Maschino, a trainer with MTNTOUGH Fitness. They create backcountry training programs to push hunters and anglers beyond their limits, using the knowledge of ex-special forces members and fitness experts to train everyone from your average joe to wildland firefighters. 

She explained that “Our core is the group of muscles that collectively supports the spine and pelvis and gives structure to our entire trunk, including our lower back. Maintaining core strength is imperative for hunters, as it provides balance and stability to perform better, as well as proper posture and mechanics to prevent injuries in the mountains.”

We’ve compiled a few core exercises for hunters to keep your core strong and work on more than just pretty-boy muscles. If you’re looking to develop that farmer strength to pack out your kills and stay moving a long time, here are some exercises that go beyond sit-ups.

Bicycle Crunch

5 Core Exercises for Hunters

The bicycle crunch is one of the grandaddys of them all, but for good reason. It is an exercise that can be done anywhere, with or without weights, and works all three of the main sections of your abs. Your upper abs, lower abs, and your obliques. 

Start lying on your back and raise your shoulders and legs off the ground. Begin to bring your elbows to your opposite leg while extending the other leg forward slowly. This is an exercise where you want to focus on control over numbers, since it’s easy to go fast and lose good form that will build your abs.

Prone Knee Tucks

5 Core Exercises for Hunters

Prone Knee Tucks help to maintain a healthy trunk. They can also be done quickly to create an endurance challenge, more commonly called mountain climbers.

Get into a high plank position. Spread hands shoulder width apart and place your hips even to the floor. Put your feet fully back and maintain a flat back. Bring one leg all the way to your chest, bringing it as close as possible. Switch legs, pulling the other up while sending your bent leg back down. Continue alternating legs 15 times for each side, or until it begins to burn. The slower you go, the harder this exercise will be.

Renegade Row

5 Core Exercises for Hunters

The Renegade Row is a great way to increase shoulder stability, and to work on your core asymmetrically. This will address any more specific weaknesses in your back and core, and help protect your spine for years to come.

Begin in a high plank, the same as the prone knee tucks. Keep your hands directly beneath your shoulder, with a slight bend in the elbow. Throughout the exercise, don’t let your hips sink, just like you would in a regular plank. Bring one arm directly up, bending to 90 degrees at the elbow. Slowly lower it and switch arms. Repeat for 10 reps each arm. This can also be done with weights to work more of the upper back and shoulders.


5 Core Exercises for Hunters

As Sarah Maschino says: “The Superman is an extremely important movement to address rounded posture in the upper body and any weakness in your mid and lower back – two things that often cause discomfort when carrying a heavy pack.” If you’re planning a backcountry trip this year, Superman is going to be one of your best movements.

Lay down on your stomach and extend your arms straight in front of you. Keep your vision to the floor and your palms facing down. Raise your arms and legs straight off the floor, and hold at the top. This exercise is incredibly helpful for lower back strength, and creating a strong overall core.

Hip Bridges

5 Core Exercises for Hunters

Alright, last on our list of core exercises for hunters is the hip bridge. Let’s get this out of the way: there’s no dignified way to do hip bridges. They’re an incredibly useful exercise for working your glutes, your lower back, and knee health. That being said, you can’t look cool while doing these. But their benefit to keeping you healthy and moving while on the hunt is undeniable.

Start on the ground with your feet placed flat on the floor, knees bent. Your heels will be 6-8 inches away from your glutes. Raise your hips and tighten your glutes and abs. Bring them as high as you can without arching your back. Slowly lower back down, and keep a straight back throughout. Your knees and your back will thank you.

Functional Fitness
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