Functional Training for Sheep

You drew a sheep tag!  Congratulations!  For most, it is a once in a lifetime tag.  All big game sheep species around the world are majestic animals that most only dream about and never get the chance to pursue.  You've put the time and money into applying for tags for years and now is when to put in the time to get yourself in the best physical condition of your life.  Hopefully those of you who drew a tag this year know your way around the weight room and have already been hitting the cardio workouts hard.  

Any wild animal is already more conditioned than you are.  They are conditioned for survival and any trophy ram is most likely going to be at his physical peak, so you want to go harder than you've ever gone before if you want to compete in this chess game of brawn.  The odds are definitely against you, but let that be a motivator to kill your workouts from here until the time you take your first step on your hunt.  


I am a huge fan of changing up workout routines and surroundings often.  I get bored in the gym and you will too after awhile, so I like to train for a hunt by simulating as much as I can by training outdoors and with somewhat cumbersome exercises.  Wearing a weight vest and a weighted backpack on the stairmaster is good, but there won't be stairs to climb on that hike in ram country.  The terrain will be rough and rocky, so there will be stabilizer and smaller muscles that will get worked by the variances in natural terrain that normally wouldn't get worked on the stairs.   

The same goes for any upper body movements.  In every day life you can try to use "proper" form when moving something heavy, but we contort our bodies at times when the object is awkward and cumbersome.  I would plan on more awkward and cumbersome situations on the mountains, so this is going to focus on more functional movement, while still emphasizing the importance of using good form.  The modification for anything of this nature would be to do less weight so it's more manageable and you don't injure yourself. 


Training Mask is the best tool for high elevation training


Getting the lungs conditioned for the mountains is tough when you live most of your life near sea level.  I highly, highly recommend to go out and purchase an altitude simulator like the Training Mask  (No, I am not endorsed in anyway).  This will be as close to actually training at those elevations as you can get.  I use mine all the time and I recommend you do all of these mentioned workouts using the mask.  


***  Be smart and start out with the lower altitude valves and build your way up.  Your first handful or more times of using the mask you will experience a fast rise in heart rate because of the limited amount of oxygen you take in with each breath.  Be smart and use it within your own abilities.  The last thing you want is to do damage or harm to your body.   Building up to the higher elevations takes time.***



Functional Legs 

Lunges done on different inclines, slopes, and terrain is the best way to target not only the large muscles in the legs, but the small stabilizer muscles as well.  


DB Lunges 15-25 reps x 3 sets (vary it with uphill, downhill, sidehill, and diagonal up & down)


Weighted (either DB or weighted pack) step ups  25 reps x 3 sets

weighted pack / DB front Squat  15 reps x 4 sets

Resistance band sprints - 2 minutes x 4 sets

Resistance band bear crawl with weighted pack - 1 minute x 4 sets


Functional Back

Perform each set of pullups til failure.  Go until you can't get that chin over the bar and then push for one more after that. The final reps in each set is what makes the muscles grow.  


Pullups  max reps x 3 sets

DB Row  12-15 reps x 3 sets (heavy enough to struggle last 2 reps of each set)

Rope climbs max climbs x 3 sets


Functional Chest

It's amazing how well you can work the chest just by doing simple pushups til failure.  Wear your hunting pack loaded with some extra weight on the last set and squeeze the pecs at the top of each rep to really grow those muscles. 


weighted pushups  max reps x 3 sets




Functional Arms


Sledgehammer Tire slams  max reps in 2 minutes x 4 sets

Stationary Tire Drags   -  sprint til slack in rope is gone 25 ft   75 ft x 3 sets

Battle Rope slams -  1 minute x 3 sets

weighted pack Diamond pushups  max reps x 3 sets


The goal here is to increase lung capacity while strengthening the lungs and the body overall.  Making these efficient will increase not only stamina, but overall power when you're at the elevations where the trophy rams are at.

Kill this workout and you will be closing the gap on punching your sheep tag this fall. 


The true "Touch of a Master's Hand" - Bruce Weber - Mandolin Builder

My first encounter with Bruce Weber was back in 2010, in a small town outside of Bozeman, MT.  His luthier shop where he has built thousands of some of the worlds greatest sounding mandolins, have all come from the modest "makeshift" (an old elementary school gymnasium) shop.  From the outside looking in, the fantasy image you have in your minds is a high tech, almost science lab clean work area with showroom at the front with a few offices with high wingback chairs, leather bound books, and an aroma of sophistication.   


Bruce carving a top at his Logan,MT shop

Bruce carving a top at his Logan,MT shop

No.. It's like I said, an elementary gymnasium (not even a full court) with gorgeous woods stacked here and there; a few benches, machines and a solid amount of sawdust and glue droppings.  On the stage area of the gymnasium is where the man himself makes claim to his main work area.  It's almost like how I envision Santa Claus in his workshop.  This is the space of a "real life" man in a "real life" situation creating some of the greatest instruments this world has ever been able to lay their hands on.  Bruce is a true Stradivarious of our time and the fact that he has built such a company and a name from being a "real life" guy makes him someone I admire so much.  

Bruce is also an avid hunter and outdoorsman

Bruce is also an avid hunter and outdoorsman

When we met at his shop, I had already known that he was a hunter.. He lives in some of the greatest Elk, Mule deer, and Bighorn country; of course he hunts!!  One of the first things we talked about was about an elk hunt he was recently on.  That conversation lasted for the better part of two hours.   Real life stuff.  That's what I like.


The conversation transitioned into mandolins and how Bruce runs the shop and goes about creating these amazing instruments.  He of course has the gymnasium, but also showed me the room where they paint the instruments which used to be one of the classrooms.  Nothing fancy or high tech, but I know Stradivarius did't have high tech, fancy tools and machines to work with either.  

I just couldn't believe that this is where and how these instruments were created!


If you have ever picked up a Weber instrument, you know the brilliance that it must have taken to create such a beautiful looking and sounding piece of art.  Bruce overlooks whatever his workers produce; sometimes making them redo pieces and steps until it meets his standards.  He is picky and precise.  He knows when that instrument leaves his shop, it has his name and reputation on it and if it's not perfect; it doesn't see the light of day.  


"Muley" Headstock

Flamed Maple with Grey finish resembles the coat of a mule deer

We developed the "Muley" mandolin right there that day.  He drew up the mule deer skull which is perfectly inlayed in the headstock.  The deer hooves that are inlayed as fret markers on the neck were an idea of his to compliment the skull.  We went with the grey back and sides to give it that mule deer look and "iced" the top with the gloss black finish.  It's a true, one of a kind, work of art and it sounds so ridiculously sweet.  I have used it on every tour, tv show, and album since it arrived at my doorstep.  


Jimmy playing his Weber "Muley"

Bruce Weber JR and Bruce SR here with Jimmy and his Weber Octar

Bruce Weber JR and Bruce SR here with Jimmy and his Weber Octar

I'm really excited for you all to see the newest additions to my Weber family!  They're not yet completed I have heard, but they are getting close.  There will definitely be some videos posted once it/they arrive.  That's all I can say at this moment.  


Bruce is one of the most respected men in the music industry and one of the greatest luthiers of our time and you wouldn't know it when you meet him.  And I say that as a compliment.  He is one of the warmest and most approachable people I have ever come in contact with and he has so much respect for others.  He is the epitome of a hard working, "real life" guy that does surreal things when it comes to instruments.  There is absolutely nothing corporate about him or his company and I admire him as a man almost more than being a genius mandolin builder.

He is definitely a man that you need to meet if you ever get the honor to.  




Taxidermy?? Yes.. You heard right..

One of the earliest pics of Jimmy at Wildlife Creations Studio

Just when you think you have a person pegged and you think you know them, they tell you something that hits you from left field.  Well, you learn something new every day, don't you? This may be one of those moments. 

Most of you probably don't know this, but before moving to Nashville and touring the world; I used to be successful, award winning (yes, I'll brag because I'm proud of it)                                                                                                    Taxidermist!                                                                            Yes, you heard me right, TAXIDERMIST!                                                                      

One of the many full size mounts Jimmy completed

I had a small shop(Wildlife Creations Studio) setup in the huge metropolis of Pleasantville,WI (unincorporated).  I had converted the showroom of the local car dealership into a full blown studio where I created mounts of everything from fish to elk; deer to birds; buffalo to moose and everything in between.  I spent hours upon hours in the shop working on mostly the local trophies and had a blast doing it.  

You're probably asking, "Why in the world would you want to be a taxidermist??"  

Jimmy worked on all animals from deer, elk, bear - to fish, moose, buffalo, etc

 I was fresh out of the only semester of college I attended.  I knew college wasn't for me, but I needed to find something to make a living at to supplement what I wasn't making when playing music.  I was adamant about not just getting the typical 9 to 5, but rather find something that I truly enjoyed doing besides playing music.  I loved to hunt and I loved art, but I didn't think anyone would want to pay me to go hunting or paint a picture at the time.  I thought about how I could combine the two and the taxidermy idea was born.           

I attended American Institute of Taxidermy in Northeastern Wisconsin under the instruction of master taxidermist, Dennis Reinhart.  A lot of great times were had during class and I never knew taking classes could be so enjoyable.  When you're doing something you love it brings a lot of joy.  

Some deer mounts in the drying stages at Wildlife Creations Studio

Many people that look at a deer head, bird, or fish on the wall may only see a dead deer, bird, or fish.  Even some hunters and fisherman.  When I see a mount on the wall, I see art.  To me it's no different than going to an art museum and seeing a Van Gough or a Da Vinci piece.  To me, it's art.. Bringing an animal back to life is art and I did just that.. A LOT.  It was one of the most rewarding and gratifying things I've done.  Every animal has different features and characteristics and being an obvious hunter myself - I felt that I owed not only the customer a great mount, but I also owed the animal itself  respect for taking it's life and recreating it the best that I could.  

Taxidermy is something near and dear to my heart and it's one thing that I am very proud to say I excelled at.  You never know, I may have some projects in the works soon.  

From Farm Fields to Headlining CMA Fest

I write this as I just returned home after soundcheck at LP Field..  To say playing  a stadium show is surreal is an understatement.  The magnitude of the stage, the production, the field, and the audience makes a person feel on top of the world yet at the same time the size of a drop of water.  It's overwhelming to think that 80,000 people will be watching us perform these songs and singing every single word.  Thousands upon thousands of fans have endured an entire week of heat and humidity to come to this stadium for this show as the "cherry on top" and I'm beyond ecstatic to get out on stage and give them a great performance!  


As I look out over the empty seats, my mind immediately goes back to my high school days in Pleasantville,WI;  driving the old Allis- Chalmers in the blistering sun, cutting hay and thinking "How the heck am I going to get from P-ville to performing on tour and living in Nashville?"   Every single time, my mind goes back to that and I'm dumfounded still to this day that it happened and has been happening for the last 8 years.  I am eternally grateful to God for the blessings that he has given me and my family throughout these short years of our lives.  I still have struggles and work hard every day to keep pursuing more goals and dreams that I have yet to accomplish, but let my testimony be a truth to you all that your dreams and passions can be lived out to just by your willingness to work hard, determination, and perseverance.. And don't ever let a day go by that you forget to tell the Lord "Thank You".  Even on a day you struggle, the Lord gave you that day and put the fire in you to pursue that dream.

I cannot wait to get on that stage tonight!  See you there!

Stonehenge!!??? Where's my mandolin?

As we approached into the rural fields of  Salisbury, on the left side of the road I see a large pig farm with gigantic pigs milling around in the mud from hut to hut.  The odor grew very familiar to me and brought back many memories of the good ole days on the farm in WI when the wind would blow just right on the days that the neighbor would be spreading pig manure with the big tanker trucks.  

With pigs on one side of the road, I pan over to the right to find a large open field, fenced off probably about 80 acres with sheep grazing all through the grass.  And wait.. What is that in the distance!?  From where we were driving it looked like some tiny bird eggs sticking out of the ground in a huge open field.   Is it?  It can't be!  There?   Yep!  STONEHENGE!  

Stonehenge sits right in the middle of a relatively flat, wide open field area; far from any coastal area and far from any hill country.  So how and why in the world would anyone bring these massive, massive rocks and build this here!?   I guess that's just one of the million mysteries of the 5,000 year old structure.  

We took a shuttle from the very commercialized building and parking area that was developed on the opposite side of our approach in to Stonehenge and we walked about half way around the stones.   I'm not sure what I had expected to see before I got there.  Maybe some little people dancing around an 18" structure like something out of "Spinal Tap" or maybe Merlin the magician casting some spells in the center of the landmark.  There was no Excalibur, no white horses and knights in armor guarding the stones, and there weren't any barbarians resembling Schwarzenegger conquering any goulish wizards.   But..  It sure was pretty freaking awesome to see!  And something that old, that heavy, with so many unknowns about it right in front of my eyes!

I couldn't help but yell in my worst English accent, "STONEHENGE!!!!"

I wish I had brought my mandolin!!

Musician Clinic Hosted by Jimmy Herman and Garrett Goodwin - Jan 25th

Fellow bandmate Garrett Goodwin and I are partnering up to host a Musicians Clinic Sunday, January 25th here in Nashville. We are both current touring musicians for Carrie Underwood, and are excited to be sharing our passion for music one-on-one with those who are interested in pursing careers in music. The clinic is open for those who play drums, guitar, fiddle and mandolin.

Please email for more details and to book your spot today. 

12 Days of Christmas - Traveling Mercies

It's Christmas Eve and most of us are either traveling or already at home with our loved ones.  If you exit off the highway to grab food or a cup of coffee, make sure to give the waiter/waitress a generous tip.  Some folks aren't fortunate like many to have the holidays off, so bless someone for their service if you can.

Share your stories in the comments below!

Read here to find out what the 12 Days of Christmas is all about.

12 Days of Christmas - Extend an Invitation

Whether you know them well or just recently met, if you know someone who is going to be alone for Christmas, invite them to join your festivities and welcome them in as family.  One of the greatest Christmas memories I have is when my wife and I couldn't go back to Wisconsin to spend Christmas with family, and had to spend the holiday at our house (just the 3 of us at the time).  We invited a few friends who were planning on just spending Christmas alone and ended up with a full house, a great meal, and laughs to last a lifetime.  If you are fortunate enough to spend Christmas with the ones you love, welcome someone new in to your traditions and love on them.  Make it a Christmas to remember for all of you!

Share your stories in the comments below!

Read here to find out what the 12 Days of Christmas is all about.

12 Days of Christmas - A Moment of Your Time

It's easy to be "too busy" for every single person in our lives. Especially this week, when last minute shopping, baking cookies, preparing the house for guests or getting ready to travel are all big tasks that take over your day.  So today make it a special point to answer every call or text that comes your way.  Make sure that those who are reaching out to you feel as important as they truly are.  Those moments of your time may really make a difference to someone else.

Share your stories in the comments below!

Read here to find out what the 12 Days of Christmas is all about.

12 Days of Christmas - Comfort Food

Can you believe it's Christmas week already? You still have a few opportunities to shine a light into someone's life before Christmas Day.  Today's challenge is to give someone a gift card to dinner... Someone who you pass by everyday but never really go out of your way to make conversation with.   It could be someone you see when you're out running errands, or a nurse who has been taking care of a sick family member, or possibly a neighbor you don't know very well.

Share your stories in the comments below!

Read here to find out what the 12 Days of Christmas is all about.

12 Days of Christmas - A Light Heart

It's the last shopping weekend before Christmas and now is your chance to pick up your last minute gifts before the big man in the red suit slides down the chimney.  Everything inside of you wants to rush to the store, avoid others at all costs, and get home and celebrate in victory of surviving the masses.  I get it, but I challenge you as you dive in with the flood of shoppers to remember what this holiday is all about and go through the weekend with a light heart, patience, and wish those around you (friends and strangers alike) a Merry Christmas.   

Share your stories in the comments below!

Read here to find out what the 12 Days of Christmas is all about.


Today's Twelve Days of Christmas challenge is to go through your closest, choosing coats and blankets to donate to local donation centers in your community.  Donating any clothing is great but coats and blankets will keep a lot of unfortunate folks warm this winter, and can really make a difference in someone's life.  

Share your stories in the comments below!

Read here to find out what the 12 Days of Christmas is all about.

Twelve Days of Christmas - Forgiveness

Today's Twelve Days of Christmas challenge can be a difficult one, but can benefit your own life as well as your relationships. Find it in your heart to honestly forgive someone that may have hurt you in the past that has resulted in a grudge or resentment.  Leave it in the past and take the first step forward in letting it go.  Clean the slate and cleanse your soul.

Share your stories in the comments below!

Read here to find out what the 12 Days of Christmas is all about.

Twelve Days of Christmas - Give Money

Today's goal is to give money to someone who needs it (friend, family, charity, or stranger).  Give money to them directly or anonymously by putting it on their front porch, or sliding it under their door.  So many people need even the smallest bit of help this season, and such a selfless gift goes further than just what it's used for. 

John does guitar repair work and is having surgery that won't allow him to work until March.  He's a great guy and it's probably very hard to for him to ask for money to pay bills, but he did it and I feel like he needs it more than I do. God wants us to give to those that need it, not to ask how they're going to use it or give only under certain circumstances.  We're not to judge.  Only to give to those that need it if we as Christians have it to give.

Share your stories in the comments below!

Read here to find out what the 12 Days of Christmas is all about.

12 Days of Christmas - An Old Fashioned Phone Call

For today's way to celebrate others through the "12 Days of Christmas", make it a point to call someone who you've been meaning to call and have been putting it off.  Spend some time catching up, as foreign as it may seem talking rather than texting or emailing.  

Share your stories in the comments below!

Read here to find out what the 12 Days of Christmas is all about.

12 Days of Christmas - A Cup of Cheer

I hope you're joining me in 12 Days of Christmas that will make a difference in the lives of your neighbors and community.  Today, let's start simple.  You've heard a friend or a friend-of-a-friend say, "You won't believe it, a stranger bought my coffee for me today!"  Or maybe you've been the lucky recipient of this small but moving act of kindness.  Today, let's be the givers.  As you're out running errands as your weekend comes to a close, or even tomorrow morning in the mad Monday rush, pay for an extra coffee for the person behind you in line.  

Share your stories in the comments below!

Read here to find out what the 12 Days of Christmas is all about.

12 Days of Christmas

It's that time of year again!  The tree is up, the stockings are hung, and the kids have visited Santa in hopes that the elves know exactly what model of toys to build them this year.  The combination of scented candles burning and fresh Christmas cookies out of the oven brings back memories and fills our hearts.  This is a time of bringing one another together and filling the atmosphere with joy, peace, and love.  

This is also a time of year to spread love and bring joy to others like your friends, neighbors, and even strangers.  The smallest act of kindness towards someone could be one of their biggest blessings.  So, I have decided to celebrate this year's "12 Days of Christmas" by spreading warmth to those who are cold, bring cheer to those who may be struggling to find joy due to unfortunate circumstances, and pouring love on those who have hardened or callused hearts.  

I challenge YOU to take part in the next "12 Days of Christmas" by remembering that amidst wish lists, errands, and indulgences, this is a season to put ourselves aside.  Each day I'll be suggesting a specific way to touch the hearts of those around you, big and small, from a phone call to someone who could use a listening ear to a donation to a local charity, and I invite you to participate with me.  

Check back each day for the next 12 days, and please encourage others by sharing your stories of giving, sharing, and loving in the comments for each post.

Acoustic Nation Feature

A big thanks to Acoustic Nation for the interview! Here's a snippet, and you can read the full post over at  

Jimmy Herman is the multi-instrumentalist for Carrie Underwood. He is also an avid hunter and outdoorsman. Throughout his career he has found fun and unique ways to combine both passions. 

In this interview, Weber Mandolins shares some insight into this versatile artist's career and plans. 

Where to start…you’re a multi-instrumentalist on tour with Carrie Underwood and an avid hunter but what do people not know about Jimmy Herman? 

Well, here are a few randoms that a lot of people may not know. I grew up near a small town in Western Wisconsin called Pleasantville. I started playing fiddle at age 4. I cut my teeth on polkas and old-time fiddle tunes that I would play in my dad's band.

Read the full article.