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Turkey Moves | Fitness Plan For Turkey Hunting

Turkey Moves | Fitness Plan For Turkey Hunting
January 27, 2023

by Jeremy Koerber, Fit to Hunt

If you are still under the belief that all you have to do to consistently kill turkeys is find an oak tree in the timber and sit, you may be sitting for a long time. Even when turkey populations were strong in the early to mid 2000s, the physical ability to get up and go, belly crawl or move through the woods with stealth has helped our clients fill a lot of tags. Today with fewer gobblers out there, add good aerobic fitness to the list because to find birds, you are going to put a lot of miles on your boots. Any exercise program that will work on total body strength and aerobic conditioning will help you get Fit To Hunt, but here are a few of our favorite moves we use with clients to prepare for the turkey woods.

The Bear Crawl

Who hasn’t had to crawl across a pasture to get in range of a hung-up gobbler? Last year my youngest son and I were changing locations and crested a hill to spot two long beards coming our way. With nothing but 10-inch fescue to conceal us, we hit the ground and used the strength and conditioning from this move to tag a 22-pound Missouri Eastern. 

To perform, place your hands and tiptoes on the floor. Keep your hips low and your back flat. Reach forward with the right arm while stepping with the opposite leg then repeat the sequence with the other arm and leg. Start with three sets of 10 to 15 yards and for an additional challenge, perform the move backward!

Lunge Squat Lunge Combo

I like the ability to get up and go when needed while moving with stealth. If a gobbler begins to move away from my call and I know where he is going, having the tools to get in front of him without sounding like a bull elk crashing through the woods is a premium. This requires muscular strength and endurance which is produced by a move like the lunge squat lunge combo.

To perform, step back into a reverse lunge with your right leg. Return to the original position and perform an air squat. Finally, step back into a reverse lunge with your left leg. That sequence constitutes one rep. Perform three sets of eight to ten repetitions which will really be 24 to 30 total reps!

Split Stance Pallof Press 

Turkey vests will never be as heavy as packs you tote around on backcountry mule deer or elk hunts but after a long day in the field, your turkey vest and shotgun have a way of letting you know you should have spent more time strengthening your core. We like our hunters to focus on building strong core muscles because everything you do in the turkey woods is initiated from your core and the split stance pallof press is a great move to build core strength.

The split stance pallof press can be performed with a cable or resistance band and is one of our favorites. To perform, stand perpendicular to your anchor point and assume a split stance position. With a little tension on the band/cable, press forward and hold for one to three seconds. You should stand tall through your spine with your shoulders back. Start with the right side then turn and perform the same movement pattern on the left. We recommend two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Bonus Move: Ruck

Nothing can replace strapping a pack to your back and logging miles. It will help you lose a few pounds, build aerobic conditioning, and with a little weight in your pack, help strengthen your core. Should you ruck with the same weight and intensity as our elk-hunting brothers and sisters? Unless you are lugging 80 pounds of gear and turkeys into and out of the woods, our suggestion would be to weigh out your turkey vest fully loaded and train with that weight or a weight that is slightly above the total poundage of your gear. And walking is arguably the easiest training program out there. If you did nothing to prepare for the Spring except walk 30-60 minutes three to five days a week, you will see positive changes in your performance.

There are many types of exercises that can benefit you in the turkey woods this Spring. Our YouTube channel has over 300 different exercises that will help you boost your fitness and performance in the field. You can subscribe by clicking here!

We also have DIY programs and custom training options for those looking to get in shape before the gobblers begin sounding off on those cool, Spring mornings! For more information visit www.stayfittohunt.com or shoot us an email at  info@stayfittohunt.com

Good luck this Spring!

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