Try This Free Workout

Our friends over at MTNTOUGH and trainer Jimmy Alsobrook built this incredibly effective workout specifically designed to help you endure deadfall. Every hunter who has spent time in the backcountry with a heavy pack knows how devastating traversing deadfall can be.


Full directions for workout are found below.


Our very own Kendall Card has been doing MTNTOUGH workouts for the past few seasons as he prepares for his hunting adventures. Check out what Kendall has to say about MTNTOUGH and his personal fitness journey...

"Nine years ago upon turning 40, I came to the realization that I needed to do something different with my nutrition and fitness. Especially if I expected to continue to go on the type of demanding hunts in harsh terrain that I had become accustomed to and enjoyed. I educated myself, connected with a trainer for a time, and set about doing things differently than I had in the past.
After some good years of working with a few different fitness methods, training programs, as well as becoming smarter about my relationship with food, I heard about MTNTOUGH Fitness. I was skeptical at first of just another fitness program trying to market to hunters. But after seeing a couple of sample workouts and recognizing the focus was specific to hunting, I purchased their Backcountry Hunter Preseason Prep course and dove right in.
With 16 weeks of 5 workouts per week, I must admit that I have yet to finish all 16 weeks. Life, work, family, hunts, injury, vacation, name it, things have a way of throwing off your trajectory.
Even though I didn't finish the entire course the past two seasons, I know it made a difference to my cardio, physical and mental strength as well as feeling better prepared for what the mountains would throw at me.
Last season, I backpack hunted with my bow for a Mountain Goat in Utah, a high-country Mule Deer in Colorado, and a Mountain Goat/Bear combo in Alaska.
Now in my third year, I am determined to be a FINISHER of the full program. Now, I am doing 2-4 workouts a week as I combine my training for my first 100-mile ultra-marathon. I'm loving each of the workouts and feeling stronger and better prepared for my first hunt of 2021 - a week-long spot-and-stalk black bear hunt in the wilderness of Idaho." 

Directions for the Deadfall Workout:

This workout consists of two warm-ups to open up your hips, increase your mobility and range of motion, and get your heart-rate pumping a little bit. This part is VERY important, so be sure you complete all the reps and rounds.

Next is the meat of the workout. We will be working mainly on the Versa-Climber. If you don't have access to one of these, you can use a Stair-master, Jacob's Ladder, Treadmill at an incline, or even a spin bike. We just need something to get your legs pumping and your heart-rate jacked! Whatever you use, make sure you track your numbers on each interval, whether that number is feet, miles, calories... It just needs to be something you can add up, and see improvement on when you do the workout next time.


The Workout:

Warmup #1: 3 Rounds

Hip Thrusters - 10

Bandwalks - 20 (10 each side)

MTN Climbers (with pause) - 20 (10 each side)


Warmup #2: 2 Rounds

Forward Hurdles - 10 (5 each side)

Backward Hurdles - 10 (5 each side)

Lateral Lunges - 10 (5 each side)

Touchdowns - 10 (5 each side)


The Workout: 7 Rounds

Versa-Climber Sprint - 1 min (increase by 30 sec each round)

Front Rack Step-ups - 10 (5 each side)

Pullups - 5



For the warmups, make sure you progress through them slowly, each rep should be done with intention and good form. Band walks are to be done laterally, as in the video. MTN Climbers are to be done with a 2-second pause as your knee touches your elbow. A touchdown is to an RDL as a deadlift is to a squat, there should be a bend in the knee and hinge forward in your hips without bending your back.

For the workout, the goal is to maintain a pace for the entire interval without slowing or stopping. This pace should naturally decrease as you get into the longer intervals. You still want to be going for max numbers! With the step-ups, use a comparable weight to what you would have in your pack. If you tend to have a 50lb pack, use two 25lb dumbbells. We like to prepare for a situation where we are packing out an elk and our pack in close to 100lbs, so some of our guys pushed their weight to two 55lb dumbbells. If you are not comfortable with this weight, we recommend not attempting it.



MTNTOUGH Fitness Lab located in Bozeman, MT, has established itself as the elite source for improving mental toughness, physical preparation, and performance research for the backcountry hunter. 

Certainly, they have assembled an impressive team for this task, including Alex Fichtler (Former US Navy SEAL), Ara Megerdichian (US Army Ranger, Lieutenant Colonel, and former Westpoint Instructor), and Jimmy Alsobrook (Mountain Training Legend & National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer).  

Lifelong backcountry hunter and MTNTOUGH’s founder, Dustin Diefenderfer, explains, “ We strive to find out what makes the excellent tick, what gives them the indomitable, never quit, next ridgeline mentality and strength. We study it, measure it, test it, unpack it and then teach it to others.”

If you have any questions about the form of these exercises or specifics about the workout, please don't hesitate to reach out to MTNTOUGH at

Give it a try and BE MTNTOUGH!