Author Topic: Fitness for Shooting  (Read 6105 times)

Offline PrepperJim

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Fitness for Shooting
« on: April 23, 2013, 11:50:24 AM »
All -

I know this is probably a dumb question to ask, but I am going to ask it anyway.

I want to get in better general shape, but want to target my fitness to armed self defense. That is, I don't want to be tired holding a shotgun or AR to my shoulder for a couple of hours or going to the range and shooting three guns (handgun, shotgun and Glock) from a variety of of positions - sitting with rest, sitting no rest, standing no rest.

Is there a fitness routine for this beyond general cardio and weights? Perhaps I could do something while traveling....

Offline scoob

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Re: Fitness for Shooting
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2013, 01:32:53 PM »
It's actually a great question.

Pick up a copy of Joe Nobody's "Home-schooled Shootist"
There are some interesting exercises in there specifically geared toward shooting.  I believe one example was holding your NPoA (Natural Point of Aim) with a dive or workout ankle/wrist weight on the end of your rifle.

I actually found a copy in my local library, but I got it on my Kindle after i read it.  If you have a Kindle, I think I can loan it to you.

Offline PrepperJim

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Re: Fitness for Shooting
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2013, 02:28:22 PM »
It's actually a great question.

Pick up a copy of Joe Nobody's "Home-schooled Shootist"
There are some interesting exercises in there specifically geared toward shooting.  I believe one example was holding your NPoA (Natural Point of Aim) with a dive or workout ankle/wrist weight on the end of your rifle.

I actually found a copy in my local library, but I got it on my Kindle after i read it.  If you have a Kindle, I think I can loan it to you.

I am familiar with his work including some of his training material.  That book looks beyond my capabilities and I have no facilities other than the local shooting range. When I move from beginner to intermediate, I'll pick it up.

I cannot really practice holding the natural point of aim with my rifle in the house as I have a delicate relationship to maintain. What I was thinking of is either buying a replica or creating a replica out of wood. The wooden replica would not look like a rifle, but more of a 2X4 cut to length and a pistol grip. I could then hang a weights off the end. I think this would also be good to start at "low ready" and raise up to ready, hold and let down. That would work the relevant muscles.

I ran across this material years ago:

http://www.amazon.com/Combat-Conditioning-Functional-Exercises-Furey/dp/B001G0JMIY/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1366748700&sr=8-4&keywords=combat+conditioning

The basics are modified pushups and squats that really get your heart going.

But, the bottom line is I need to get into some regular conditioning and stick with it. If the SHTF right now and I had to walk 35 miles home or engage in some sort of extended home/neighborhood defense, I'd be the 40+ year old keeling over in the heat. ;-)

Offline flyfisher66048

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Re: Fitness for Shooting
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2013, 10:16:00 AM »

Offline ID_Joker

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Re: Fitness for Shooting
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2013, 02:24:20 PM »
Search on youtube for some of Rob Pincus' videos on FitShot.  They should give you some ideas.

Offline David in MN

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Re: Fitness for Shooting
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2013, 03:08:25 PM »
Search on youtube for some of Rob Pincus' videos on FitShot.  They should give you some ideas.

Fitshot is crazy awesome. I had already been into crossfit but this went to another level. Some of the workouts really push me and there's something crazy good about sucking wind and shaking while trying to get sights on target. Not only will it improve your shooting fitness but it will improve your ability to shoot.

I also strongly recommend boxing. I box and getting a heavy bag and training will rapidly develop the shoulders and upper back. Plus the footwork skills strengthen your standing shooting position. Other martial arts probably would do the same.

Offline kzogsylvania

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Re: Fitness for Shooting
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2013, 08:15:08 PM »
All -

I know this is probably a dumb question to ask, but I am going to ask it anyway.

I want to get in better general shape, but want to target my fitness to armed self defense. That is, I don't want to be tired holding a shotgun or AR to my shoulder for a couple of hours or going to the range and shooting three guns (handgun, shotgun and Glock) from a variety of of positions - sitting with rest, sitting no rest, standing no rest.

Is there a fitness routine for this beyond general cardio and weights? Perhaps I could do something while traveling....

My advice would be to work on balance and stance first and increase strength later.

My girlfriend is tiny. She was spanking new to shooting when we met. Her accuracy was OK at best. Taught her stance work then made her practice balance techniques and this improved dramatically. Her strength came last and now she is dialing in.

Balance- try doing everyday things on one foot. Pick things up with your toes.

Strength- work upper arms, shoulders, back, chest and stomach. Overall strength training will help either way but focus should be on those areas.

Offline Fyrediver

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Re: Fitness for Shooting
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2013, 01:13:22 PM »
I'm going to take this idea in a different direction:  Yoga or other serious stretching routine.  This can be accomplished through a martial arts course as well if they do lots of stretching.  I personally prefer hot yoga.

From helping to teach at Appleseed courses I've seen many, many people who couldn't sit well or at all and who were extremely tight getting into a prone position.  Being limber allows one to get into awkward positions and allows one to get into their natural point of aim easier since they aren't fighting their own body.  On the second day many of those who were tight on Day 1 are extremely sore and had even more trouble.

Being limber will also aid in preventing other injuries like pulled muscles and joint injuries.  Having tight muscles and then firing them up in maximal exertion mode is a recipe for a torn muscle.  Having been there more than once I can attest to how limiting it is when one's calf or hamstring get's ripped!

nelson96

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Re: Fitness for Shooting
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2013, 02:58:14 PM »
I've never had to go in to combat or defend myself from a stalking serial killer, but I do hunt a lot (on foot) and find that simple cardio excercises along with promoting average strength, while keeping very limber, suits me just fine.  I've guided many friends over the years and have found that most of them, even when in good cardio shape, struggled with balance, agility, and coordination issues more than anything else.  For that reason I suggest athletic excersises that exploit balance, agility, and coordination. 
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 03:06:00 PM by nelson96 »

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: Fitness for Shooting
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2013, 04:35:00 PM »
you want to work on balance/agility/coordination a la nelson's suggestions, get into plyometrics. that will leave you sucking wind and wishing you were dead.

heavy g posted a long time ago about how he did some targeted strength training to help him shoot better. mind you he doesn't have a left pec muscle but he may have some good suggestions for this. if you PM he'll probably get back to you about it.

i would suggest general strength training, but focus on doing more reps with less weight. if you bulk up you'll actually reduce your range of motion because your muscles will get in the way.

work on cardio (the plyo will do that) and agility training.

Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Fitness for Shooting
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2013, 01:32:16 AM »
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.

Offline Knecht

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Re: Fitness for Shooting
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2013, 12:47:09 AM »
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.

Offline CR Williams

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Re: Fitness for Shooting
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2013, 06:52:16 AM »
http://www.onesourcetactical.com/combatfiti-dvd.aspx#.Unj22BDbaZE

http://www.onesourcetactical.com/combatfitii-dvd.aspx#.Unj3EBDbaZE

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.

Offline Mortblanc

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Re: Fitness for Shooting
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2013, 09:48:24 AM »
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.

Offline iccustoms

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Re: Fitness for Shooting
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2014, 05:46:01 PM »
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.