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.