Home Gym for the Mountain Hunter

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Home Gym for the Mountain Hunter

Train like a hunter to win the fall!

A home gym doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. A $3 piece of PVC pipe is an awesome tool for shoulder warm-up and balance exercises. Here are a few items I’ve used extensively over the last few years that you might find helpful and that are tailored to the hunter’s lifestyle.

Altra Shoes

For years I struggled with plantar fasciitis that required painful cortisone injections on the bottom and heel of my feet. I spent hundreds of dollars on orthotics and devices that never seemed to work. Then, one of my fellow rim-rim-rim hikers showed up with a pair of Altra trail shoes with their unique extra-wide toe box and zero-drop design (heel to toe on the same plane). After five years and probably 5,000 miles in Altra shoes, I’ve had zero foot or knee pain.

Altra makes shoes designed for trails to pavement with multiple cushioning levels. If you have a passion for running on dirt, take a look at the Timp; for more predictable terrain, the Torin is a dream come true.

I love the fact that as a company, Altra is just as interested in educating their customers as they are in selling them more shoes. To learn more about their unique designs and company philosophy, check out their website, and see what I mean.

Cost: $100-$150


Outdoorsmans Atlas Trainer

Outdoorsmans Atlas TrainerIf you’re serious about getting ready to haul a heavy pack around the mountains, then you need an Atlas Trainer pack. Of course, you can throw all kinds of stuff in your own pack and haul it around the hills, but the reality is you probably won’t.

The Atlas Trainer is a simple attachment to the Outdoorsmans pack (I’d recommend you buy a dedicated pack for it) that allows you to mount Olympic-style weights with ease. It also keeps the weight tight to your back, thus reducing potential back strain when compared to other options.

This setup provides easy versatility - if you want to do box step-ups with 30 lbs. and quickly transition into a 50-lb. one-mile ruck, then back to the 30-lb. step-up, you can do it.

Cost: $99.99 (attachment only); $299.99 (complete system)


Nordic Track Treadmill

Nordic Track TreadmillLiving in the Phoenix area has its advantages. For one, I don’t ever have to wonder if it’s safe to run outside. However, I have enough friends who live in “weather challenged” areas to know that running outside is a privilege. Nautilus has three different units with a myriad of programming options, heart rate monitors, and sound systems (how cool is that). The best part for hunters is that you can simulate hill climbing with a 15% grade. If you incorporate the Outdoorsmans Atlas Trainer, it’s like having a wilderness trail system in your living room.

Cost: $949-$1299


Use code WESTERNHUNTERS18 for special pricing:
X9 $95.00 off | X11 $115 off | X22 $165 off

SealLine Baja Dry Bag

SealLine Baja Dry BagThe most important piece of backyard gym equipment happens to be the simplest and least expensive – a dry bag filled with sand. There are dozens of exercises that can be enhanced with the addition of a sandbag.  Kenton Clairmont has been using the same SealLine dry bags for many years at every Train to Hunt Challenge event. These bags get dropped, thrown, packed, and stacked hundreds of times a year and keep ongoing.

Cost: $20-40


Crossover Symmetry Bands

Crossover Symmetry BandsThe human shoulder is tremendously complex. The simple act of lifting a gallon of milk from the top shelf of the refrigerator requires muscles from the neck all the way to the lower back to fire in the correct order. Symmetrical strength from all of these muscle groups is critical to execute and exercise something as simple as a pushup. For hunters, many of our movements are asymmetrical - especially shooting a bow. Crossover Symmetry developed a series of resistance bands and related equipment that can be used in any home and on the road. Their website is stuffed with information and videos on how to strengthen your shoulders.

Cost: Full starter package - $195



Chris Denham

On top of being one of the stars of one of the most popular hunting shows on television, Chris is the "War Chief" of a tribe of incredible people that work for Wilderness Athlete, Outdoorsmans, and Western Hunter. Chris has been hunting, guiding, writing, and more importantly, thinking about hunting the West harder than anyone else for decades. He's seen it all, done most of it, and has a great story about it. Chris lives in Fountain Hills, Arizona but spends months criss-crossing the highways and trails of the mountain West each year.

When he's not giving glassing seminars or filming for the TV show, he's tinkering with gear, advocating for both hunters and wildlife, or towing around an Airstream camper. Aside from that, he's a gardener and a sipper of fine bourbon.

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