Get into shape physically to be a better shooter!


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Golden Hound
November 6, 2008, 01:26 AM
It's easy to forget that a gun is only as effective as the person behind the trigger. Sure, it can level the playing field against an attacker who is much more powerful than you, but it's also important that your physical condition (which affects your mental condition as well) be sharp if you are going to use your weapon effectively.

If you lift weights, especially upper arm and shoulder exercises, you'll be able to have better control over your weapon, even if it's a heavy rifle. If your cholesterol levels and your heart function is healthy, you'll have steadier aim, better concentration and sharper reflexes.

People talk about "SHTF" a lot but if the S really hits the F, you'll have to do more than just shoot! You'll have to run, climb, and possibly hike long distances. You'll have to have the presence of mind to be aware at all times, and you'll have to be able to endure physical punishment and not tire quickly. To do these things it is essential that you be healthy and fit!

I spend between an hour and a half and two hours every day at the gym, doing both weights and cardio. If you can't go to a gym, it's not difficult to exercise at home at all. All you need is a basic set of free weights, and you can always run or jog pretty much anywhere. And one of the best exercises for the whole body - pushups - doesn't require any equipment whatsoever. There's a reason why the military puts you through PT - because a soldier without physical conditioning is useless!

I only mention this because 75% of the people at the range are always overweight and look to be in poor shape.

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SgtGrim
November 6, 2008, 01:37 AM
This is very true. People in better physical shape also respond better is high stress situations. Thier bodies handle all the instinctive physical reactions to fear. When you go into a fight your heart bpm and blood pressure go through the roof and (TRUST ME, I been there more times than I care to remember) this can make controling a weapon very difficult. Your body is designed for fast powerful defensive moves, not the fine motor skills needed to use a firearm.

jakemccoy
November 6, 2008, 04:13 AM
I can respect someone who works out everyday. I'm at about every other day right now, which is tougher for motivation actually. When I get into the routine of working out everyday, it's like brushing my teeth. It's just something I do. It's easier to get 'er done because I just do it without thinking much about it. I really need to get back to that routine.

Odd Job
November 6, 2008, 03:14 PM
It is difficult to do, when working long hours. But there is no doubt, exercise is a must!!
I'm not in good shape at the moment, and part of that is due to being stuck at a high stress desk/admin job. Sometimes I go without lunch and it is always tempting to get snacks...bad stuff like crisps and fizzy drinks, just because it is quick. It can also be a kind of comfort food.
So I'm cutting back on that stuff. I'm also trying to play squash three times a week.
I've got a stepper also, just need to use it more.
I guess generally I am out of shape, but not too bad arm-wise.
Fitness is very important, I have to agree. Now I just have to be sufficiently motivated to sort it out :o

benEzra
November 6, 2008, 03:44 PM
"The gun had been well cared for. Its aim was true. Remembering the podgy, underexercised looks of the gunslingers he had taken these weapons from, it seemed that they cared better for the weapons they wore than for the weapons they were. It seemed a strange way to behave, but of course this was a strange world and Roland could not judge; had no time to judge, come to that."

--Stephen King, The Drawing of the Three

The Wiry Irishman
November 6, 2008, 03:45 PM
Shooting regularly can get you in shape, too, albeit an odd shape.

After five years of offhand bullseye shooting, the shoulder and upper back muscles on my right side are noticably larger than those on the left.

Owen Sparks
November 6, 2008, 06:11 PM
The firmer your chest and shoulders, the more recoil you can tolerate.

quatin
November 6, 2008, 06:32 PM
Join a martial arts gym. I'm surprised there aren't more practitioners on THR since we're so "self-defense" oriented.

MikePGS
November 6, 2008, 07:15 PM
While we spend a lot of time worrying about being attacked or assaulted, assault accounts for .7 percent of deaths in the United States. Heart disease? 28.5 percent. I know you can't entirely prevent such things through exercise, but walking every day is probably more likely to save your life than carrying a concealed weapon (though of course why not do both at the same time?).

ConstitutionCowboy
November 6, 2008, 07:23 PM
Get into shape physically to be a better shooter? NO! When I get so feeble that I can't carry my gun, I'll put wheels on it.:neener:

Muscle tone does make a difference, though. I find the more active I am, the less I need to strain, and shooting sessions last longer.

Woody

halfbreed808
November 6, 2008, 07:41 PM
QUOTE "Join a martial arts gym. I'm surprised there aren't more practitioners on THR since we're so "self-defense" oriented."


+1:evil::D

Dienekes
November 6, 2008, 11:36 PM
Yup--use it or lose it. I hit the track for 3 miles every weekday, and that's been in rain, snow, sleet, rain, you name it. I should do more besides that. But it's well worth it.

Damned if I'm going to weigh 350 pounds and choke on a Big Mac wearing an oxygen bottle.

wyosasquatch
November 7, 2008, 12:13 AM
Getting in shape is helpful for shooting even beyond bugging out or self defense. When I shot competitively, I worked out to be able to have a more stable platform for shooting from.

The core muscles of the body are important to focus on. We did lots of situps, pushups and squats for this.

It is also important, as some pointed out, to have a good cardiovascular regimen for steady breathing and a low heart beat.

This helped in three position smallbore and 10m air rifle.

Prepster
November 7, 2008, 12:23 AM
Great posts everyone. +1 on the martial arts, just as much fun as going to the range.

It's important not to be discouraged by gym memberships and total gyms. The only things you need for an effective workout are a sidewalk to run on and a floor to lay/sit/jump/push on. Or, if you really want to have fun, get a kettlebell. :evil:

bannockburn
November 7, 2008, 06:45 AM
It should also be noted that it's never really too late to start getting your body into shape (something besides pear shape and pumpkin abs that is). I am well over 50 years old, and for years now I've been taking vitamins, minerals, and other supplements; taking fairly decent care of my health and well being. But I was still overweight and found myself struggling with everyday physical tasks. Even brief trips to the range or a round of trap were relatively fatiguing. Then with a recent change in my lifestyle, I was able to lose 35 pounds in a relatively short period of time (actually I finally made the commitment to eat less and eat healthy). At the same time, I began a simple, yet effective exercise regimen at home, utilizing a combination of walking, basic P.T., and free weights. I've been able to keep the weight off, toned up muscle mass, and improved my cardiovascular system. And it didn't take a membership in some expensive gym, or buying any of those "exercise devices" off of The Home Shopping Network either. It just takes effort and commitment on your part to make it all happen.

Odd Job
November 7, 2008, 06:55 AM
Bannockburn that's the way I want to try it.
What exercises did you do to get back in shape?

NoirFan
November 7, 2008, 08:55 AM
You guys who exercise very day are an inspiration! I am not really overweight but I am obscenely out of shape. When you break a sweat jogging out to change the 100 yd target you know something needs to be done.

BenEzra, great quote from a great book.

MFortie
November 8, 2008, 11:23 AM
Guilty as charged.

If any of you guys want to share your routines to inspire us slackers, I'm sure it would be appreciated!

Regards,

Mark

PS -- Especially the over-50 crowd, which is my demographic...

Deer Hunter
November 8, 2008, 11:28 AM
My school has a wonderful weightroom and rec. center. But before I had that I would do sit-ups, push-ups, and any-kind of exercise I could come up with with a set of adjustable free-weights and a pull-up bar. I also had a dirt road I could run on, and did so every day.

I agree that it's never too late to get started doing at least SOMETHING. Doesn't have to be a four mile trot every day.

meef
November 8, 2008, 11:32 AM
My wife is 23 years younger than I am.

I really look forward to my workouts.





:evil:

willbrink
November 8, 2008, 04:38 PM
"I only mention this because 75% of the people at the range are always overweight and look to be in poor shape."

That is true. I have noted that many times. It's impossible to know what is in a person's mind, but I get the impression at least some have a "if I have this gun, there's no need for me to be in shape to run, fight off an attack, etc" attitude lurking in there some place. More dismaying to me, are the number of obese LEOs I see at the range and or on the job. I do seminars and physical training for LE (generally tactical LE/SWAT) as well as write for various health/fitness/longevity/bodybuilding publications, and one of the first things I tell them is statistically speaking they are more likely to die to a heart attack then in the line of duty from a gun shot, yet they wear a vest to reduce their risk from being shot while doing nothing to reduce their risk of CVD.

On a more practical note, civi or LEO, being in your best shape for your particular situation* means having far more options and abilities during a life and death confrontation, be it to run like hell or shove someone away from you, etc. Considering both the health and practical "real world" reasons for being in decent condition, it behooves us all to stay in shape.

* = age, physical limitations, etc, must be adjusted and accounted for.

willbrink
November 8, 2008, 04:50 PM
"If any of you guys want to share your routines to inspire us slackers,"

Sharing what we do has no bearing on what YOU should do in your situation. Depends on where you are starting from, age, any pre existing medical issues, goals, amount of time you have per week to dedicate, and other variables.

advice that does not take the above into account can range from counter productive to dangerous.

jeff-10
November 8, 2008, 06:15 PM
I agree, exercise and shooting, go hand in hand. Unfortunately these exercise threads can become as controversial as political threads.

Exercise is one of the most important aspects of life for the average American. Most of us job that do not involve physical activity and inactivity and obesity are dangerous.

m38shooter
November 8, 2008, 07:33 PM
* = age, physical limitations, etc, must be adjusted and accounted for.

Thank you for this addition. I'm fairly young, but joint issues run in my family and I've unfortunately come into them already. My hips and knees don't facilitate proper exercise most days, so my conditioning has fallen pretty far from what it once was (though I do what I can when I can). I counter this with a bit more caution about what I eat, and my cholesterol and heart function have stayed pretty well unchanged despite the chage is physical shape (much rounder these days).

Beagle-zebub
November 8, 2008, 08:31 PM
I have to figure that since doing tons of cardio would reduce both your resting and stress-accelerated heart rates, it would make you a more stable offhand shooter, since your heartbeat isn't throwing you off as much--it makes sense on the same grounds as people's contentions that refraining from caffeine consumption makes their groupings smaller.

willbrink
November 9, 2008, 10:54 AM
M38, as i said in the other post "age, any pre existing medical issues, goals, amount of time you have per week to dedicate, and other variables." have to be taken into account. And:

"advice that does not take the above into account can range from counter productive to dangerous."

I have had my fair share of physical setbacks. You have to learn to work with them, work around them, or through them, but work you must. ;)

Blacksmoke
November 9, 2008, 10:59 AM
So True! So True!

Pass the potato chips. Where is that damn remote control? Oh, I'm sitting on it.

Is one definition of Inertia: "Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest. Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion?"

Overcoming inertia, is that an appropriate use of force?

I slept through high school physics, to my undying shame. Well, to be fair, my teacher did not speak English and I did not speak Chezch.

JImbothefiveth
November 9, 2008, 12:27 PM
My hips and knees don't facilitate proper exercise most days
Try pushups, weights, or boxing.

TomcatPC
November 9, 2008, 02:09 PM
This is one of the things I need to get into soon. In December, God-Willing, I will have not smoked for a year, that is a start. Thank God for that...LOL.

One of the first things I noticed after moving back to the Lower-48 after living in Alaska for four years, was the amount of heavier people. That was back in 2002, so things might have changed by now. I have noticed I am a bit heavier, not that bad, but more than I want to be. I suspect quitting smoking ciggies has something to do with that. Also living in an apartment with Girlfriend and getting to eat everyday is a not helping either.

If I want water, I just go to the tap and turn it on, instead of driving into Homer, filling 5 gal. Water Jerry Cans, driving back out East End Road. Parking quarter mile from cabin, putting water cans on rucksack frame and walking back to cabin, then back for the other can...LOL. No walking out to the outhouse,...no putting on tire chains here Toledo, Ohio...list goes on...LOL.

Less active here, I have a friend who lives out of town and I go over to his place to help clear land just to keep me in practice in the use of axe, saw, and machete. Need to get back into backpacking, took Girlfriend once, she did not like it...LOL.

Hopefully this Winter we actually get some snow, see if my cross country skis still work. Winters here are fairly warmer though, snow does not stay long, so will try to think of another solution. Anyway, good topic.
Thanks
Mark

Odd Job
November 9, 2008, 05:10 PM
This is one of the things I need to get into soon. In December, God-Willing, I will have not smoked for a year, that is a start. Thank God for that...LOL.

That's very true, smoking is very bad.
I see these hot little nurses standing outside the hospital, smoking in the cold. I always advise them to stop that smoking, because by the age of 50 they will get those little creases around the mouth like a cat's a*us ;)

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