One of my favorite workouts is my vertical/interval workout. Not only is this workout great for bowhunting, but it will shape your legs and get your lungs burning.
The stair climber is one of my least favorite pieces of equipment, but it’s a pivotal piece of my vertical training. Most machines allow you to pick a level between 1 and 20, with each level representing a different speed. At the lowest speed setting (1), you climb about 24 or 25 steps a minute. At the highest speed (20), you climb about 162 steps per minute. Each level is roughly 7 or 8 steps per minute faster than the next, so the mid-point level (10) will require you to climb about 90 steps per minute.
Knowing your own fitness level is key before selecting your level. Your goal with this exercise is to keep your heart rate up, but you don’t want to reach a level of total exhaustion. You also shouldn’t need to stop or grab the hand rails. Feel free to adjust your level as you go the first time you try this workout.
Push on the stair climber for 15 minutes. Then head directly to the spin bike. You may grab a drink, but don’t allow your heart rate to fall too much. The first five minutes on the bike should be a recovery of sorts. Set the spin bike at a rate that allows easy peddling without causing strain or discomfort.
After five minutes, crank the tension up a bit to hit a moderate cardio level.
(My rule of thumb is this: During my second five-minute interval on the spin bike I want to stay at a level where I could talk to someone intermittently but not carry on a perfectly fluid conversation.)
The last five minutes of spin workout should hit the vigorous level. Let your mouth fall open, stand in the saddle if you need to and push yourself to the limit. Depending on your fitness level, you may not be able to push at an ultra-high tempo for five minutes. If you can only push at your lactic burn for 30 seconds, that’s what you can do.
The Dreaded Treadmill
After your 15 minutes on the spin bike, it’s time for phase three – the dreaded treadmill. I simply can’t run on a treadmill for very long. Between the sound of the belt and the fact that I don’t really go anywhere, I get annoyed quickly.
For your first five minutes on the treadmill, walk or run at a level 2 incline. Keep the pace fluid, and let your legs recover a bit from the beating you’ve already given them. Starting with minute six, pump the incline rate up one level and walk/run at that level for one minute.
When minute seven rolls around, bump the incline up another level. You get the idea. Keep bumping up the incline level every minute until you’ve done 15 minutes on the treadmill.
Banging out a stellar workout outside isn’t always possible, especially in the winter. That’s why joining a gym is so important. Even when it’s warm enough to work out outside, you’re still going to want access to weights and other equipment. Don’t get a one-month membership. It’s too easy to stop going if you’ve only invested $35. Investing in a six-month or one-year membership will keep you more motivated.