Well its that time of year again. Winter is upon us and the holiday season is behind us. This means one thing to a tournament angler, its getting time to rep some lips. So what does fitness have to do with fishing? Well to be honest, nothing, or so it seems. Lets take a look beyond and maybe we can rethink it. Tournament fishing is more physical them most non anglers think. First off boat rides, depending on your rig and driver, can be a jarring and rough experience. Many have complained of taking a hit to their back and feeling the pain through the day due to a hit on a wake. Fishing on the bow of the boat as it rises up and down with roller, wind and boat wakes can wear you down. A 1000 casts, flips in a day and hopefully a lot of hook sets can wear you down. So the combination of all of the above makes this a physically punishing sport. Sure its not football or hockey, but it is also a 8+ hour experience. Combine this with the fact that most of us are not doing a lot as far as training our bodies and its a recipe for injury or pain. This is also a huge factor as we get older and our bodies begin to head south. My partner and I are both beyond 50 and I can tell you things change a lot over the years. I for one used to get lower back pain and often sciatica issues from boating and fishing. This was also a issue at work as my job requires walking, bending, lifting and such.
As so many of us have careers and family combined with a passion for fishing we often have very little free time. So even if we wanted to work out we dont have time to do it. Yeah I know, Ive used that excuse myself. Yes it is an excuse. Humans are not fond of change in general and working out is a real chore at first. This makes it real easy to avoid or justify in our heads. My experience is that the first 2 weeks is the hard part, then it sets in as routine and our bodies begin to crave the exercise. Ive been lifting weights for the past 4 years on a pretty consistent basis. My free time and routines have changed drastically over the years. Ive also learned from my experience and have altered my routines to accommodate. Its really no different then adjusting on the water as the fish change. These days I work out 3 times a week, sometimes 2. Ive adjusted my workout to target the major muscle groups that I use while tournament fishing. Ive also simplified due to time constraints. Most of the time I am around 30 minutes. This can be done while Im tinkering with tackle or tying rods. I have a small weigh set and bench in the garage a long with my tackle. I do a set and tie a rod up. Then another set. So as you can see we can all find time to do a little bit to help ourselves out.
So what do I do? Keep it simple. I do squats for my legs. I dont do these heavy by any means, after all Im standing long periods at work and while fishing. Ill alter what I do as far as barbell squats, dumbell squats or wall squats. Ill mix in some lunges now and then for variety. In keeping it simple I do 10 sets and thats it. Working the legs keeps me from getting tired of standing and sore during the fishing day. An added benefit of training legs is I see improved balance when the boat is bouncing around. Trust me, as you get older this becomes an issue. My next workout is q chest and shoulder routine. This really targets the arms, shoulders and chest. Keeping these muscles active just makes the body feel better. Obviously the shoulder and arms are used in all fishing techniques. Again this is not about heavy lifting. Its about reps. Push ups can be an alternative if you dont have weights. Also the rubber bands can be purchased at just about any Walmart or Target. Google them and you will see you can do complete body workouts with the rubber bands. My shoulders will follow the chest work with light side lateral raises and dumbell presses. Since chest work also targets shoulders I only dew a few sets. Rounding out my third work out is back. Maybe the most important for me due to back problems. Again its not about heavy weight more about form and just doing it. Keeping the muscles active goes a long ways. Again this is a 10 set routine of deadlifts and rows. So I usually do 6 sets of dead lifts and 4 sets of rows. If you have the bands or a way to do pull up they are awesome for strength but also stretching the lower back.
If you dont want to lift weights or dont have them there is still plenty you can do. Core work may be the biggest and most important thing we can do. A strong core supports the rest of the body. You can do leg lifts, bridges, sit ups and more. No equipment needed for core work, its all about consistency. The nice thing about core work is you can do it while watching TV. You can also do leg workouts while watching TV. Get a milk crate or box that you can step uo onto say 18 to 24 inches tall. Step up and step down, easy. Then do some wall squats. With you back to the wall, squat down as if sitting in a chair and hold it as long as you can. Seems to easy but trust me its not, and it works great. So get going and get yourself in better shape for this season. Feel better and fish better.
PS- If you are interested in a routine and dont know what you should do feel free to email me and Id be happy to help you out.
Have a great season.