USING HIKES/HUMPS TO GET FIT
The following workout routine should only be attempted by those Future Jarheads who wish to separate themselves from their peers and not by those who enjoy nature walks or long quiet walks on the beach.
It is important you understand that doing humps before boot camp is not necessary. For those of you who are more hard-core and very self-motivated and who wish to better yourselves both mentally and physically, then humps are the best way to go about it.
Humps are a huge mental challenge and if you can conquer this challenge now before you ship out, then think about how much above your peers you will be once in boot camp and in the FMF and in life in general. When it comes time to do humps in boot camp, your mind and body will be somewhat use to them while those who never practiced one prior to boot camp will be filled with fear, anxiety, doubt, and all sorts of other odd feelings.
There is a huge misconception that you must carry a lot of weight in order to get a good workout when doing hikes/humps and that you must hump many miles in order to benefit the most from humps. This is not true the same way that running great distances isn’t really necessary to prepare you for boot camp or the USMC.
Humps are the best way to build character and to toughen up anyone from the inside out, and it prepares you mentally big time only if you stick to your routine. If you follow the following advice, then you will be better prepared for not only boot camp, but for whatever comes after and it will also toughen your ass up both mentally and physically, this I guarantee you.
Keep in mind you can do some variations of what I describe here, but the core of the workout is what you do not want to change in order for it to have the greatest impact on you. And even if your job will not be infantry, you still can benefit from this routine. Just because your job is not infantry, you still will be doing several humps while in boot camp, and while at MCT and many of you will end up in an infantry unit and will have to do more humps during your enlistment.
- To practice humps, you want to begin with about 30-35 pounds in a pack. Do not toss sand or dirt into a pack to use as your weight. Use actual weights or old clothing, or something solid. You must ensure the weight does not drag your shoulders back and or downward. You have to place the weight as high in the pack as possible and your load must be balanced. Any type of pack will do, but an actual military pack is preferred when possible. Make sure the pack straps do not cut off the blood circulation on your arms. The pack should fit comfortably and you should have free movement of your arms while wearing it. You do not want the pack to be slipping and sliding all over your back, especially once you begin to sweat.
- The best place to practice humps is along the side of any road. Just ensure that you are as safe as you can be while out on the roads and that you hump in the direction of the traffic flow. Avoid humps in the dark when possible. Part of the mental challenge of humps is being able to see your path out in front of you for long distances, so this is why roads are a great place to do these humps on. You want to always try to come back on the same path you took to get out there. So if you were on a 2 hour hump, then you would walk for one hour and then make a u-turn and come back on that same path. This is all part of the mental challenge.
- You should disregard tracking your distance at this phase of your workout routine. Your first goal should be to hump 1 hour non stop regardless of distance. You want to be walking at a quick brisk pace and it is very important you maintain the same pace during the entire hump. It is best if you do this same 1 hour hump at least three times before moving on to longer times.
- If you happen to have a set distance course mapped out and easily accessible, then you may use this course as opposed to doing them for time, but you still want to keep track of your time. Mapping out a 3 mile course is an excellent way to begin your hump routines. At mile # 1.5 you simply return to your starting point. Remember, if you do not have a set course, then just get out there and hump for a set amount of time. If you are doing a one hour hump, then at 30 minutes you make your u-tun and head back home.
- The purpose of doing them over and over is to build your mental state as far as how you view humps and it also builds up your body from the inside out. Regardless if this 1 hour hump is easy for you or not, you still need to do it about 3-4 times. This is called mental preparation. If you are struggling with 1 hour, then try whatever time you can master. The whole point of this timed hump is to give you confidence and to prepare your mind by getting you use to them. Assuming you stick to this plan, you then can move on to bigger and greater things once you have mastered the basics.
- You now want to try a 2 hour hump, and do this two hour hump several times also with a 10 minute break at the end of hour number one. Once you feel good about this, then you try to hump for 3 hours with a 10 minute break at the end of the first and second hour. This means you hump for 50 minutes non stop, then rest 10 minutes, then hump 50 more minutes non stop, then rest 10 minutes and then you do your final hour. If you are not comfortable increasing in one hour increments, then increase by 30 minutes and go from there. When doing a 1 hour hump there is no break. When doing longer humps of 2, 3, 4 hours, you take a 10 minute break every 50 minutes. This means all breaks come at the end of each hour.
- If you only do one 1 hour hump then increase to 2 hours and then to 3, then this doesn’t really do you as much good. You must repeat your humps several times to the point that they begin to bother you because of them becoming inconvenient and or a pain in the ass. Conquering this fear and or inconvenience is called mental preparation. So if you do this workout correctly, it will be something like this. 3 humps of 1 hour. Then 3 humps of 2 hours. Then 3 humps of 3 hours. And then you can move on to bigger and better things since you have proven yourself and have earned that right.
This workout routine is made to be done over several months and it is not a routine you bang out in a month or two. You need at least 4-5 months to get the most benefit from this routine. If you have less time, then you simply adjust by either doing less humps, or doing them weekly or every ten days or so.
Some of you will do a one hour hump and it will not seem that bad and you will want to move on to a two-hour hump. No, no, no. You must do several of these one hour humps in order to better prepare your mind and body for what is to come.<<<<MENTAL PREPARATION.
You should try to hump once every two weeks and you must drink plenty of water the days before you go hump. While on your hump you need to carry water with you and you drink while on the move. You need to have your water bottle easily accessible so you don’t stop to drink.
Let’s assume you now can do a 3 hour hump with ease. Now you can add more weight, but you now will do a 1 hour hump so you get the feel for carrying more weight, and you repeat the same routine eventually ending by doing several 3 hour humps with the added weight. Trust me when I tell you that by adding as little as 5 pounds, you will feel it over time. You should add no more than 10 pounds each time you increase in weight. This is why you must get use to doing humps with basic weighted loads first. Trying to hump 15 miles with 75 pounds is silly and can be counter-productive and dangerous. If you are doing the initial humps with somewhat ease, then you can increase the weight and continue the initial routine.
You never want to carry more then 50 pounds. That is not necessary for what we are trying to accomplish here. By following a schedule like I mentioned, you then will be better prepared both mentally and physically to take on any hump of any length, this too I guarantee you.
Remember, no matter the length, it is very important you maintain the same pace for the entire hump. If you can add hills or inclines to your routes, then this is a plus and you still must maintain the same pace no matter the elevation, the surface, how you feel or the weather. THOU SHALL NOT MAKE ANY EXCUSES!!
A three-hour hump should average out to about 9-11 miles if you are moving at a good brisk pace non stop. A 1 hour hump should be a little more than 3 miles or somewhere around there. It all depends on your pace.
It is important you push yourself and that you not cheat yourself when practicing humps in order to get the most benefit from them.
If you have any tips or advice about this topic, feel free to leave them below in a comment.