Stretch and Grin

If you warm up with these easy excerscises before hunting for any type of game, your body will thank you and you'll feel better all day.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

To hunt hard, you have to be in shape. But before you begin working your muscles, you need to stretch them. Here are three stretches (and some accompanying exercises) you can do at home or in camp to ready your muscles for training or to warm you up for a day in the field.

Back Builders
Lie on your back with your knees bent so your feet are flat on the floor. Pull your right knee up to your chest with the fingers of both hands interlocked just below your kneecap. Let the right leg down and repeat with the left. Now pull both knees up. Hold for one second each time. Do 50 repetitions. This exercise stretches the lower back without chancing a sprain or slipped disk.

A strong lower back reduces aches in that area. To build back muscles, try this isometric: Start by lying face up with your arms at your side and legs straight. Lift up with your chest and legs at the same time and hold for 10 seconds. Do 10 reps.

** Easy Ab Crunches**
On your back again, bend your knees and lift your shins parallel to the floor. With your ankles crossed and your hands locked behind your head, bring your right elbow up to your left knee; then relax back down to the starting position. Repeat the "crunch" by bringing your left elbow to right knee. Next bring both elbows to both knees. Do 50 reps, reversing your crossed ankles at the halfway mark. This modified sit-up works trunk muscles (abdominals). Keeping your feet up, instead of hooking them under a barbell or chair, prevents injury to your lower back.

** Hamstring Stretches**
Now kneel on both knees and sit back on your ankles. Stretch your arms in front of you on the ground, and feel the tension in your lower back. Relax on your elbows, but maintain back tension for two minutes. Next, pretend that you like push-ups. Do as many as you can, breathing normally with your back straight.

When you finish, kneel on your left leg and move your right foot as far forward as you can without lifting your toes. Bend your torso forward. You'll feel your right hamstring stretching. Hold for one minute. Now rock forward so your right leg bends under you sharply. Balance on your knuckles. You'll feel the right ankle and calf pulling. Hold for another minute and then twist to reach both hands as far out as you can to the floor on your right side. Hold. Repeat, switching feet.