Get Fit to Fly

Get Fit to Fly
May 28, 2021

By: Jeremy Koerber, Fit to Hunt

Casting a fly into a cold, clear stream in search of a trophy rainbow does not exactly conjure up the image of physical exertion but rest assured, the motions you perform while fly fishing will cause the muscles to fatigue if not trained. Rotator cuff injuries can make the act of casting miserable and poor balance in swift water can spell disaster. It may sound absurd to consider working out as a tool for better fly fishing but if you will perform these four exercises two to three times a week, you will be stronger, feel better and have more fun on the stream!  Are you ready to get Fit To fly fish?

Internal External Rotation
According to Dr. Patrick Rich, DPT of Spirit Physical Therapy in St. Louis, MO anglers put a lot of stress on their shoulders. Rich, a powerlifter, and avid fly fisherman stated, “performing exercises to keep the rotator cuff strong can help prolong our time on the water and help keep our shoulders bulletproof!”  Most of them know the internal/external rotation for when they have injured a shoulder, but have you ever considered adding it to your exercise routine to prevent injury?  If not, you should!

Grip a light to moderate level resistance band 6-8 inches apart and while keeping your elbows at your side, pull both hands away at the same time. Hold for a one-count then slowly return to the start position. Perform 1-3 sets of 15-20 reps.

4-Way Shuffle
We spend a lot of time working on BIG leg movements but what about the subtle ones?  This exercise helps you move side-to-side and front and back.  It also helps improve balance which is a premium in swift water. 

Use a mini-band or ankle cuff and perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps per direction.  

Half-Kneeling Pallof Press
We know rotation exercises but one of the best ways to build a rock-solid-core is to perform anti-rotation exercises and this is one of our favorites.

Grab a resistance band and fashion to an anchor point. Position yourself perpendicular to your anchor point and with a small amount of tension, press out and hold that for 1-3 seconds.  Do not let the band pull you to either side.  Perform 1-3 sets of 10 reps on both the right and left side.

Split Squat
At #FitToHunt we love primary lifts like deadlifts and squats but highly recommend exercises that promote balanced strength and function like split squats. The move simultaneously provides both range of motion and strength. 

To perform, assume a split stance. While standing tall through the spine, lower your back leg until your front thigh makes a 90-degree angle then press up and return to the starting position. Perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 reps per side.

These exercises can be performed as a stand-alone workout or supplemented into an existing workout program.  If you have questions about how to stay fit for the stream or would like to talk with a #FitToHunt coach or Dr. Rick please email us at

Enjoy your time on the water and stay Fit To Fish….and Hunt!


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