Full Body Backpack Workout
We all know that things get busy, work, family, hunting, weekend obligations, etc. and making the time to get to the gym can be a hurdle of its own. That’s why we like this no excuse workout- minimal (if any) equipment, and one you can tackle anywhere. Whether you are brand new to fitness, looking to get it back, or a regular outdoor warrior this workout will challenge your strength, stamina, power and mental toughness. Try the following outline with 15-20 reps of each for 3-4 (or more) rounds. You can even bring your bow and shoot after each round, or add in some hill intervals to kick things up a bit.
Start by getting your pack set up properly. You can add weight that is adequate for your fitness level, or do this workout without weight, just make sure that if you are tackling this with weight that you take the time to properly load and secure your pack. I recommend using a sandbag to keep the weight load more evenly distributed, and use extra gear around the sandbag if needed to fill space (although if you are really getting after it maybe there won’t be any room to fill!) regardless, train SMART. Once you have loaded your weight near the bottom end of your pack, make sure that you compress it enough that when you strap the pack on there is little to no side to side movement and that the load feels secure on your back. The weight should be over your hips with the waist belt secure, shoulder straps tight, and the load lifters adjusted to remove any extra movement. Then, it is time to GO.
Warm Up – Always begin a workout by warming up the entire body. This is a key component in preventing injury and preparing the body for the work ahead. This can be done with dynamic movements, foam rolling, walking, etc. Be smart, don’t skip this step.
You can add many different variations to this workout, but here are some of our favorites:
Walking Lunges– these will be performed like any other walking lunge, stepping forward coming down to center gently touching the back knee on the ground, and returning to center by pushing through the front leg and driving the heel into the ground. The next lunge will be on the opposite side, alternating down and back.
*you can challenge yourself by doing single side lunges (not alternating) down and then switch to your other leg to come back, this is a BURNER.
Weighted Plank– just like doing a regular full plank (or elbow plank) only with the added workload of the pack. As always, make sure that you keep your core engaged throughout this movement, keeping a straight line from head to toe. Another crucial part of preventing injury here is to be mindful of spine alignment, your eyes should be forward and not looking down toward your toes.
*if you need to modify you can plank from your knees.
Push Ups– a staple movement that can be done anywhere- the push up is a great way to work the core, chest, triceps, and back. Proper form here is important to take any unneeded pressure off of the wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Your hands should be out just farther than shoulder width, allowing for a 90-degree angle at the elbows on the bottom of the movement. Spinal alignment here is important as well, those eyes should be forward.
*modify if needed to your knees.
Plank Jacks aka Spiderman Plank– from plank position bring your left knee up toward your left elbow making sure to keep your plank form (straight line from your head to your toes, not letting your hips sag, and not allowing excessive movement in the upper body). Then repeat this movement on the opposite side, alternating back and forth.
Squats– this will be a standard squat with your feet just wider than your hips, and toes slightly turned out. Keep in mind that the weight should be projected more through the back of your foot than through the front. Use your glutes and hamstrings to push yourself up back to starting position.
Step Ups– this functional movement can be done on any stable surface, for this workout I used my target. I like to add these in following my squats with minimal to no rest for an extra challenge on stamina and power. Make sure that your entire foot is on the surface you are stepping up onto. Don’t let your heel hang off the side, again, you want to push through your heel and power yourself up using as much of your glutes as possible.
*you can alternate the step ups or isolate doing all reps on one side and then the other.