Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Firearms Advice For Beginners

Fitness for Shooting

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I will second the previous three posts about general cardio and strength is a good base, and agility and balance are good additions.  One more thing I would recommend for the shooting sports is grip strength, as it seems so much of our office environment these days leave folks with weak hands and forearms. 

Preferably in the "functional exercise" mode rather than the muscle specific like the spring squeezers, although those would be better than nothing.  I like kettlebells for all around conditioning and strength, and it really builds whole arm grip strength.  But rope climbs, free weights and pull-ups will also work.  The very best is hard labor like day after day of shoveling, splitting maul, BLACKSMITHING, or framing (with a hammer not nail gun!).  That kind of work holding a heavy tool and swinging it with precision will give your forearms muscles like cords of steel.

Have to agree with the last post, hand working really is the best workout I know. Not only strenghtens your body, but (unlike gym) produces something useful. I do blacksmithing and axework as often as I have time and it really made my arms, hands and wrists strong without any other effort. Back when I was more into fencing, my friends were often amazed that I was able to perform sword-like techniques with axe or mace. If hand work isn't an option, dumbbell (or any heavy item) and push-ups are always available.
But hands aren't everything. Legs are important as well, to get a solid stance. Not just for shooting - for any combat and pretty much anything you do without sitting on a chair. Try to keep your legs busy as much as you can. Walk the stairs, don't use lift. Walk to the shop and to work if not too far, don't go by car. Spend some time a day squat-sitting (you can watch tv or computer on a low table or chair while squatting), it stretches your legs nicely. Stand on one leg, then close your eyes and hold - not as easy as it sounds! And so on...I also like to practice kicking, it's a great way to develop ballance. I learned that while doing karate and consider it the most fecund skill they taught me. It's been many years since I quit, but I can still kick at the height of my own head anytime, without losing my ballance. Kick exercises are easy and really give you a lot. Just stand, hold your arms in general "guard" position and start kicking in the air (check around the web for "Mae-Geri" kick, it's quite a common forward kick, though karate strongly focuses on the position and impact type of your foot, heel, toes and such). Imagine your enemy and try to aim at his ankles, tibia, then knees, groin, stomach, chest, then head. First, return your foot to ground after every kick. Then try to do two kicks (lower+higher) before returning. Then just keep adding... For the high kicks, you may want to help yourself by doing mawashi-geri and ura mawashi-geri type pf kick (more side-based). Once you can easily do these kicks at all heights with army boots on, you'll see how your ballance sense has increased. Oh and don't start this exercises with anything valuable around. When starting, you can easily lose your control and end up swinging your leg through computer screen and such :) Also, start slowly, don't do the highest kicks untill you know the general technique. You should also do some general stretching every time before starting, unless you wish to make your leg sinews cry.

CR Williams:

I'd start with the idea of "What do I need if I don't have the gun or can't get to it at first?"

Specifically for shooting, though?

Started to suggest some things, but now...I don't know, except to start with the core and work out from there. And don't forget to include range-of-motion exercises.

Do not overthink all this.

Get up every morning and do 30 minutes of exercises, then run for 3 miles @ 30 minutes pace.

Do that for 6 weeks, or until you pass the Military combat fitness standard and see how you feel. 

If they gave a tax break to civilians that could pass that standard we would be a healthier nation and hot have to dwell on our ability to tote an 8 pound rifle for a day.

We train thousands of young men and women to carry a variety of weapons, body armor and assorted gear for hours/days/weeks at a time in all climate conditions.

And always remember, the enemy does not hit you at the start of a patrol, they hit you on the way home.

Carrying a rifle professionally- What I have found to work first and foremost is consistency.  Once you recognize that fitness is something to maintain rather than achieve, it becomes part of your lifestyle.  To that end, what works with your lifestyle? 

Yoga, weight lifting, power-walking, pilates, P90-X...  Do what works for you.  With consistency they will all show benefits.  For me personally I gravitate towards crossfit.  It doesn't eat too much time (you can get smoked in less than 10 minutes), can require little to no equipment (focusing on body-weight exercises), can be done most anywhere and I find it to be functional.

As part of our Vetting, we have a timed 3/4 mile run, 50 meter dummy drag (180lbs.), and another 3/4 mile run.  In my workouts I rarely run more than 400 meters at a time, yet I can still accomplish the above in 10:07, without training FOR that.  Additionally I never find myself gassed on the range, trying to hold my weapon system up.

Any investment in yourself (exercise) is time well spent.


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