Backpacking and hiking season is here. The start of hunting season is only 9 weeks away. If you’ve participated in either of these activities, or anything else that requires long hikes and heavy packs, you know that being in gym shape and being in hiking shape are two very different things. You can stay active and be successful in the gym all year round, but if you don’t actually prepare for the specificity of hiking, your first handful of hikes are going to be a bit of a rude awakening. If you’re anything like me, you usually spend the first few weeks of season getting back in mountain shape, and by the end you feel pretty good. This year, that can all be a completely different scenario. When you pull up to the trail head on opening day this year, you can know that you are ready to tackle the next ridge that no one else wanted to go to. If you’re a hunter who actually gets off of his ATV, you know that the further you get from other people, and the harder your journey into where you are going, the higher your chances of success. Every mile and every steep section of topography that you cover on foot means less and less hunting pressure, and more and more odds of success.
With all of that in mind, I’d like to announce the first version of our Mountain Athlete program. This program will be designed around our current General Physical Preparedness programming that we utilize for our normal CrossFit classes, but will have some modifications to prepare you to carry you and a heavy pack over long distances. You’ll still be attending the normal sessions and following the same structure of our normal classes, but you’ll have some changes geared toward the specificity of your upcoming events. The work will be designed to fit in the same window as our normal work and intervals, but will have some modifications.
The added/modified work will focus on:
- endurance, both in strength and conditioning
- single leg frontal and lateral plane strength and endurance
- structural integrity and development
- carrying a heavy load on your back
A vast majority of these sessions will involve wearing a pack or weight vest. I’ll get into some specifics and recommendations on that based on the day and individual, but you’re going to want a few things to make this work ideally for you.
- a pack and something to weight the pack
-- you can make a heavy sandbag or two for about $20/each to put in your pack
here is the exterior shell for the one I use. I then fill a water barrier type sandbag with the amount of sand I want, then duct tape the crap out of that and viola, you’ve got a very functional sandbag
- a weight vest that can be adjusted to whatever size you want to go
-- I currently use this one I got off eBay for $65 with free shipping. It is adjustable to 40 pounds and has worked very well. There are definitely nicer and heavier options out there, but I’ve really liked this one so far.
-- some days are going to be better to use a weight vest. some days are going to be better with a pack. I’ll be using both, so that’s what I’d suggest. Sure you’ll have to spend $100 or so, but lets be honest, you’re probably in for 10x that with all of your other gear. You might as well make an investment into your ability to carry all of that stuff successfully.
Interested? Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know that you’re going to be participating. I'm going to call this a Beta version and offer the next 8 weeks at no charge to current members. Next year, that will likely change based on demand. If you’re not a member, but it sounds interesting to you, then I guess it’s time for you to become a member.