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22 Oct 2015
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By Jimmy Herman

I just want to take the time to congratulate each and every one of you that have participated in this 7 week “Zero to Hero” workout!  Many of you that have emailed me in regards to this program have been hunters that have never really had any sort of consistency in working out, but have found this to be really motivating.  It hasn’t been any easy 6 weeks by any means, but the hurdles you all have been overcoming have been worth it when I have read about the progress you all have made thus far!  If you have been following the workouts to the letter, you should be solid in maneuvering up and down the mountain on your next hunt.

I really hope that this workout showed you just how much progress you can make when you commit to stepping up your fitness level and how important it really is when it comes to successful mountain hunting.

Just think of where you can be a year from now if you apply yourself to every week in the gym like you did toward this 7 week workout!

Good luck on the mountain and keep me updated on your progress throughout your hunting and fitness journey to come!

Keep up with me and send me messages via:

Now let’s finish up strong!!



Week 7 – Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun 

We’re starting this final week with a mid-level cardio warm up just to put our bodies under load, getting the blood pumping, and the lungs working a bit.  This week’s workout will only be every other day; Monday, Wed, Friday, and Sunday.  This will give your our bodies a day of rest and recovery between each workout.

 Stair Machine                         or                               Treadmill

8 min between level 8 – 11                            10min @ 15% incline, 3.5 – 4 speed

*You’ll benefit most from this warmup by wearing your actual hunting pack or a backpack loaded with the weight of what you will be carrying on the mountain*

Pullups – 3 x max reps

Flat Bench Dumbbell Close Grip Press to Flys – 12,10,8

Split Squats using flat bench – 10,8,8

*use either a barbell behind neck or dumbbells held at your sides*

Dumbbell Bicep Curl to Overhead Press – 10,8,6

Dips – 3 x max reps

Tbar Row – 10,8,6

Incline Barbell Chest Press – 10,8,6

Deadlift – 10,8,6

*use manageable weight and make sure you use proper form*

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 10,8,6

Skull Crushers – 10,8,8

Preacher Curls – 10,8,6

Abs – 3 rounds

15 V-ups

20 Bicycles

45 second Plank

Run 2 miles for time

15 Oct 2015
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Flat Bench Press – 12,10,8

Squat w/ Bench – 10,10,10  ** use the bench to rest for a second at bottom of squat**

Barbell Curl – 10,8,8

Flat Bench Dumbbell Row – 10,10,10

Military Overhead Press – 12,10,8

Dumbbell Front Squat – 15,12,10

Close Grip Pushups  – 3 x max reps

Dumbbell Lateral Shoulder Raise – 12,12,12

Single Leg Hamstring Curls – 10,10,8

Dumbbell Hammer Curls – 10,8,8

Pullups – 3 x max reps

Dips – 3 x max reps

Abs – 3 rounds

25 Medicine Ball Side to Side Twists 

15 Decline Bench Sit ups

45 second Plank

14 Sep 2015
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Round 1 & 3    

(Rest 2 minutes between each round)  

(Rest 30 sec – 1 min between each exercise)

Flat Bench Barbell Press (8-10 reps)

Dumbbell Walking Lunges  (12-15 lunges each direction)

Military Press (10-12 reps)

Close Grip Cable Row (10-12 reps)

Dumbbell Tricep Overhead Extension (12-15 reps)

Box Jumps (12-15 reps)


Round 2 & 4

Alternating Step Up to Bear Crawl ** 1 exercise = 3 rounds**

(10 alternating leg step ups , 5 bear crawls back & 5 bear crawls forward)

**  10/ leg Step Ups driving knee high in the air, step down and 5 Bear crawls back and 5 Bear Crawls forward to box.. Repeat ***

Dips (max reps)

Pullups (max reps)

Dumbbell Shoulder flys (12-15 reps)

Dumbbell Front Squats (12-15 reps)

Alternating Medicine Ball Pushups (8-10 reps per side)

***  one hand on ground, the other hand on a medicine ball.  Perform 8-10 reps, switch hands on medicine ball, perform an additional 8-10 reps.  ***


Abs 3 Rounds

Seated medicine ball side to side twists (25 reps)  ***With feet slightly elevated off the floor keeping back straight and  slightly angled toward floor****

Knee to elbow crunches  (25 reps) **  laying down, put hands behind head and extend legs on the floor.  Bring left leg to right elbow as you crunch.  Alternate bringing right knee to left elbow


 2 mile Run  

***keep a steady pace and try to make better time each day**

You will benefit more if your 2 mile loop has some climbs rather than flat road for most of it.

02 Sep 2015
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By Jimmy Herman

MRC stretched Fall Gray

3 Rounds of each

Flat Bench Press – 10 to 15 reps ** Use weight that is 60% of your 1 rep max***

(drive the lower back into the bench as you press the weight to avoid injury)

Step Ups – 10 reps / leg

Pullups – Regular grip – Max reps

Squats w/ Resistance Bands or Dumbbells – 25 reps  (keep feet shoulder width with heels on resistance band while holding both handles at shoulder height or if using dumbbells, hold dumbbells at sides)

Dumbbell Curl to Overhead Press – 12-15 reps (choose a weight that you can control)

Flat Bench Dumbbell Row – 8 reps/ arm (choose weight that you can control while keeping shoulders parallel to the floor throughout the exercise)

Wall Sits – 3 reps (Hold 30 sec, rest 15, hold 30 sec, rest 15, hold 30 sec)

Dips – max reps

Burpees – 8 reps

Abs – 3 rounds

Planks – 30 seconds

Sit ups – max reps

2 Mile Run   **  Run your 2 mile loop.  Walk when you need to, but strive to run/jog the entire loop**  Challenge yourself by trying to beat each day’s time.  **

31 Aug 2015
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Backcountry Hunting – Gear Talk

Backcountry Layering 101

Jeff Sposito – Sitka

Chances are you have experienced the internal debate about what apparel to bring on a backcountry hunt. We all do it…..Check the weather forecast hundreds of times, layout all of your gear adding and subtracting certain pieces depending on the thought of the day. You can never be too prepared but sometimes it helps to ground yourself on the basics. At the end of the day it can make or break your hunt of a lifetime whether you have a bunch of stuff versus the “right” stuff. Sometimes less is more when it comes to layering properly for your hunt. Just like your rifle, having the correct setup that you intimately understand and know how to use, can turn your hunt from good to great.

When it comes to layering and building your system for any given hunt there are many different ways to skin the cat. Personal preference does play into the equation at a certain level but at the basics you should always consider four different layers; Base, Insulation, Outerwear and Rainwear. Also, be sure not to forget about a good pack and proper protection for your hands and head. Below is just one example of a backcountry system that happens to be the gear I will be using for our Bob Marshall hunt this October.

Base LayersThe single most important thing base layers need to do for you is wick perspiration away from your body and dry out quickly. This is often overlooked and misunderstood but is paramount to making all your other layers perform to the level they are designed. This is also why cotton can be the kiss of death in extreme situations….it absorbs moisture and takes a long time to dry which equals cold sensations that can lead to lowering body temperatures. The most common performance base layers are either made from poly blends or merino wool. For this trip I will be bringing two Merino Zip-T’s, two pairs of Merino Boxers and one pair of Merino Bottoms. I prefer merino for multi day backcountry trips for its natural odor fighting capabilities.

Merino topMerino BottomMerino boxers

Insulation LayersYour insulation pieces are what you will rely on for keeping you warm when it gets cold or during periods of low activity when your body needs help keeping your temperature up. Perfect examples of this are riding horses for a long distances, extended periods sitting on the mountain behind the spotting scope, or even to sleep in on extra cold nights. These pieces are typically the ones you may rarely use but when you do you’ll be thanking the man upstairs you brought them so you don’t freeze your buns off. There are a few different things to consider, I.e. synthetic vs. down, heavy vs. light, but most importantly just don’t forget them. For this hunt I will be bringing a Kelvin Down Hoody, Kelvin Lite Pants and a Traverse Zip-T.

Kelvin down hoodykelvin lite pantstraverse zip t

OuterwearOuterwear pieces serve a dual purpose for regulating your body temperature as well as providing a durable layer that can resist weather and hold up to brush busting or crawling around backcountry terrain. Selecting these pieces is where many people get confused with all the different options. At the end of the day, you want to make sure you find pieces that fit you well, are functional for your needs and are comfortable to wear. For this hunt I will be bringing one pair of Timberline Pants and a 90% Jacket.

timberline pant

RainwearLast but not definitely not least is proper protection from the rain. All of our rainwear products utilize GORE-TEX laminates that are superior from others in breathability and durability. As well, GORE-TEX products are guaranteed to keep you dry so you can have confidence in your purchase. Take my word….good raingear is an investment into your hunt! For this hunt I will be carrying along Dewpoint Pants and a Dewpoint Jacket. The Dewpoint series is our lightest weight most packable raingear. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles like our Stormfront but that is a sacrifice I am willing to take for its extreme pack-ability. A full set of Dewpoint only weighs 25.6oz! Don’t ever leave home without your raingear…

dewpoint jktdewpoint pant

Packs and AccessoriesFact is your hands and your head are also very important for regulating your bodies core temperature. Likewise, protecting your hands and carrying a pack that fits the needs of your hunt can be thought of as minor details easily overlooked. I typically carry two pairs of gloves and two beanies in addition to a regular ball cap. On this hunt I will have a pair of Shooter Gloves, a pair of Stormfront Gloves, a Merino Beanie, a Jetstream Beanie, a Sitka Cap, a pair of Stromfront Gaiters and will be carrying a Bivy 45 Pack.

As I mentioned, this is just one example of a system of gear that will work great for an October back country elk hunt. If you have any specific questions or just need more information you can call our customer service gear experts anytime at 877-748-5247 or email us at As well, check out our online System Builder and Big Game System Examples at Good luck out there this fall!

31 Aug 2015
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Backcountry Hunting – Shooting Skills

August 27, 2015

Preseason Shooting Drills: How to Really Zero Your Rifle

By John Snow


This target on the left shows a nice group, but the rifle isn’t zeroed. After adjusting the point of impact (right), the author got the gun shooting exactly where he wanted it. This is the second post in a series on preparing for big game season. To see last week’s post on dry firing drills for trigger control and proper form.  Stay tuned for another installment next week.
What, exactly does it mean to zero a rifle? When most shooters zero their gun they put some shots downrange, getting a group, then adjust their scope and shoot again to confirm the point of impact. If the shot is one inch high at 100 yards (or whatever they’re trying for), they call it good. But this, however, does not mean the rifle is zeroed.
To properly zero the rifle you need to know where your bullets are going to impact, within the capabilities of the rifle you and ammo you’re using, every single time you pull the trigger. This, of course, assumes minimal error based on input from the shooter, which is why we try to zero from a bench and off sandbags and rests.
First, let’s back up. Say you’ve shot five-shot group that you’re happy with, meaning that you didn’t yank, flinch, or otherwise cause one of the shots to go astray. Figure out where the center of that cluster is and use it as your reference point. That point—whether a bullet hit there or not—represents your rifle’s zero.
Make the appropriate adjustments to get that virtual point of impact where you want it to be.
Now, whether you zero dead on at 100 yards or zero higher is up to you. Both have their merits. A dead-on zero at 100 allows for precise use with scopes with hold-over reticles—I’m talking mil/mil and moa/moa reticles, not the more generic type of ballistic holdover reticles that many companies make. Those reticles often have their own instructions for a given caliber and are an approximate representation of how the bullet will fly. Frankly, I’m not a huge fan of these types of reticles because for longer shots, which is what they’re purported designed for, because their reference points are an approximation of a ballistic curve and for long shots you want to know exactly where that bullet is going to hit.
Zeroing high at 100 yards—usually between one and three inches—can be very useful, as it gives you the ability to hold dead on an animal out to very respectable distances without worrying about holdover. Depending on the cartridge, this technique will give you a point-blank zero out as far as 200 to 300 yards. You’ll need to use a ballistic calculator to figure out the exact distance, but once your point blank zero is established it takes a lot of thinking out of the equation during your hunt.
In fact, I’m using this technique myself for a hunt I’m headed on next week. I’m going for a grizzly in Alaska and I’ve zeroed my .375 Ruger 2 inches high at 100. The 250-grain bullet exiting the muzzle at 2,900 fps will drop about 6 inches at 300 yards. So any bear out to 275 yards, I can just hold on the middle of the chest and know my zero is good—though to be honest I plan on getting a lot closer to the bear than that before pulling the trigger.
But all of this calculation is for naught if you don’t know where that bullet is going to hit when your rifle puts its first cold shot down range and if you don’t respect the size of its groups on paper.
Not every rifle is a 1-inch MOA rifle out there. Far from it. I test guns for a living and can tell you that a true MOA rifle—one that will print 5-shot groups every time with a given type of ammunition—is a rare beast. Most good rifles are 1.5 MOA rifles and plenty are 2 MOA or slightly worse. And this level of accuracy is just fine for most hunting. But you need to take into honest account the amount of dispersion your rifle exhibits at the range before taking it hunting. Just because a rifle might have once clustered three shots in a tidy 1-inch group doesn’t make it a 1-inch rifle.
Gather your data at the range and respect what it says.
If there’s a type of ammo you’re interested in hunting with, invest in two boxes of the stuff. With those 40 rounds you should be able to collect five good 5-shot groups and have some ammo to spare. This data will tell you what you need to know—where your bullets are hitting and what your rifle’s honest performance is. It will also give you a chance to dial in your rifle so that the center of your groups is exactly where you want.
Congratulations. Now, your rifle is zeroed. And from here on out, we’re going to move away from the bench and start drilling from the field positions you’re going to actually hunt with. See you next week.

26 Aug 2015
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With each week ahead, we will be adding higher intensity exercises, gradually waking up the muscles in the first two weeks and then getting into the muscle building that will also kick start the metabolism.


Week 2 Circuit

>Pushups (regular / wide / narrow for max reps)

>Step ups (10 reps / leg) **make sure the step is tall enough that your knee is at 90 degrees at the start**

Training Mask step ups edited

>Overhand Wide Grip Pull-ups (max reps)

>Dips (max reps)

Jimmy MRC dips

>Dumbbell Curl to Overhead Shoulder Press (12-15 reps w/ manageable weight)

>Wall Sits ** Wall sit with back against wall. Sit against the wall with your butt and knees at 90 degrees. Like sitting in a chair.**

20 sec
Rest 10 sec
20 sec
Rest 10 sec
20 sec

Jimmy MRC wall sit

>Bear Crawl ( 5 forward / 5 back @ 30 sec)

Jimmy MRC Bear Crawl

>ABS – 3 rounds for max rep



>2 Mile Walk / Run

** This week, incorporate running into your 2 mile loop while carrying a sledgehammer. Time yourself and strive to complete the 2 miles in less time each day.****


17 Aug 2015
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Growing up in the heartland of America – specifically the dairy state, I was raised hunting whitetail from a tree stand with peak times ranging from Halloween all the way thru the first two weeks of November. As a whitetail hunter, there are many long hours sitting on stand just hoping that with every doe that comes down the trail, a monster buck of a lifetime is following close behind. Spending so many hours in the same area, the woods starts to become like the local bar & grill with the same squirrels, turkeys, and raccoons becoming the regulars to frequent the limbs and trails. At most times tromping thru like a dream 180″ buck.

As a kid, I really never imagined that I would be “swooped off my feet” in my 20’s and 30’s by the love of hunting elk. The more and more hunters I talk to, the more and more seem to have been bitten by the same love bug.

My courtship with elk hunting began the moment I stepped foot in the Bridger Wilderness of Wyoming in 2003. A friend and I loaded up our frame packs, rifles in hand and ventured off into what was my very first experience of what backcountry hunting is. We overpacked of course which we quickly realized a couple of miles in the mountains, but our determination was unwavering. I was in awe of the contrast of what I was used to calling “the wild” and what it really was when I was in the thick of it. We trekked on for another six miles and finally came to rest shortly after dark on our first night in. Deciding to make a campfire lunch and sleep in our sleeping bags under the stars, I fell asleep almost immediately from the exhaustion from carrying everything, including the kitchen sink, in our packs that evening.

The next morning I rolled onto my side and slowly opened my eyes to discover I had slept literally a foot away from a cliff that dropped down several hundred feet. After picking my heart back up from the bottom of my stomach, I peered out across the valley and overlooked the wide open mountain range with large (large to me) lake at the bottom of a draw. It was and is forever etched in my mind. If we never even saw an elk after that, my trip would be complete and I would forever love the mountains and the pursuit of elk. That’s exactly what happened. Temps rose to 80 degrees + and never saw an elk. With only the faint screams of a couple bulls miles away, we hiked back out after several days empty handed, but what an experience!

Fast forward 12 years a much wiser, more experienced elk hunter and now I am finding myself in October, going on a backcountry elk hunt in Montana with, Jeff Sipe of world renowned Montana Rifle Company. Being one of the most precise and accurate semi-custom rifle builders in the world, I was honored to join the MRC team as an ambassador in 2014. When Jeff invited me on a backcountry elk hunt in Montana coming up this October, I immediately jumped at the opportunity.

This particular hunt has caught the attention of some of the most respected organizations, manufacturers, publications, and individuals of the hunting industry today.I am honored and humbled by the support of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (The conservation of elk and population growth), the Mule Deer Foundation (the conservation of Mule Deer and population growth), Leupold (finest hunting optics), Sitka Gear (clothing made for extreme hunting), Outdoor Life Magazine, Predator Camo (legendary extreme camo clothing for the whitetail & mountain hunter), Russell Moccasin Boots (custom hunting boots), and ARC Outdoor Gear (gear for the extreme hunter and everyday outdoorsman) on this hunt. When they caught wind that we were all uniting on this hunt together, everyone jumped on board immediately to show their support.


Not only am I going to be hunting with one of the greatest rifle companies of the hunting world, we will be joined by: Jeff Sipe (VP of Sales & Marketing @ Montana Rifle Company), Dave Wisher (VP of Operations @ Montana Rifle Company), Suny Cheff (longtime MRC supporter and master horseman), Jeff Sposito (Marketing & Communication @ Sitka Gear), and John Snow (Rifles Editor @ Outdoor Life magazine). This will be in some of the toughest wilderness this country has to offer. This hunt will be an example of bringing conservation to the forefront of why we are hunters and make those who may not be educated on why we as hunters choose to hunt the meat that fills our freezers, feeds our family and loved ones, and what roll we as hunters play in the well being and ever rising growth of the elk, mule deer, and black bear numbers across North America.

Everyone involved are hunters and live the lifestyle. This entire team of hunters and sponsors is not only united by industry giants, but it’s a team formed of friends that all share the same passion and values. We all love to hunt and regardless of what you may hear otherwise on tv, in magazines, or on social media; hunting is conservation.


We only have 7 short weeks before setting foot in the mountains of Montana and being from Nashville, I am not acclimated to the elevations that a lot of these big bulls are found; so I spend all year training and preparing for those conditions. There are few fine men going along on this trip that may have procrastinated a bit too long with their mountain training, so I have created a full body workout for them to follow and I encourage you to give it a try for the next several weeks too! This is a workout that starts you off as a beginner to training and will end with you being able to hang with the “fit” guys on any mountain hunt. It’s a crash course bootcamp, “Zero to Hero” style workout. It starts off gradual to wake up those major muscles as well as the small stabilizers that you don’t tend to use every day. If you don’t train before hauling that heavy pack up the mountain and setting foot on ever changing terrain, those muscles (stabilizers especially) are going to get sore and stay sore thru most of your hunt. If you haven’t been training, then you need to follow along with the crew and complete this 7 week program. Let’s get started!


WEEK 1 ” Functional Muscle Wake Ups”

(3 rounds with 30 sec to 1 minute rest in between each excercise)
IE:  1 set pushups, rest 30 sec, 1 set Squats, rest 30 sec, Dips, rest, MT Climbers, rest, repeat x 3
(3 rounds x maximum reps for each exercise)

Standard Pushups
Bodyweight Squats
Dips – chair, bench, or dip machine
Mountain Climbers


Sit ups ( 3 sets x maximum reps)
Planks – (3 sets x hold for 1 minute)

**It is critical that you stretch out for at least 15 minutes after your workout** – Not stretching out can and will cause pain from tight muscles and could cause you to injure yourself..  STRETCHING IS A MUST

>2 MILE WALK carrying sledgehammer. Don’t stroll.  Try and keep a steady pace.

** You will be carrying a rifle all the time with you on the mountain.   The sledgehammer is an over exaggerated “stand in” for your rifle.  Carry it with you on your walks.  Change hands, rest on your shoulders as you would on your hunt.  It is as important to get used to carrying and shifting the sledgehammer on the walks.  Becoming familiar with how that extra weight feels in your hands will help come time to hunt in Oct**

This will be enough to get your blood pumping, lungs puffing, and the sweat dripping this week.   You will most likely be sore a couple days after the first workout.. You have to keep going.  If you are ridiculously sore, do what you can.  The most important thing is that you DO WHAT YOU CAN in that situation.  The consistency of putting in the effort everyday will be a thousand times better than just missing a day.  You’re going to eventually get over the soreness and with each week, it’s going to get easier to be motivated. After 2 weeks of this, YOU GOT THIS and I will bet you’re going to want to keep on working out on a more consistent basis after you finish this program.