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Physical fitness and competitive shooting

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting' started by Trent, Feb 22, 2013.

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  1. sanman513

    sanman513 Member

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    LOL!!! :):beer:

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
     
  2. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    You don't have to be ripped to win in "action" pistol sports. I have been known to ride a 4wheeler to the mail box and I have finished 1st in master class at IDPA nationals.

    If you have the upper body strength of a mom with a 1 year old, your ok.
     
  3. GhostlyGumby

    GhostlyGumby Member

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    Focus on your shoulders. Weighted front arm raises, military press, and judo push-ups will all help.
     
  4. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    I just took 1st Master at IDPA Nats for the 3rd time in a year, and I'm no gym rat or triathlete, either. That said, if you look at the USPSA & IDPA top guns - those who actually win nationals - you'll likely notice they often look like athletes. Their shooting skills are superb, of course, but their every movement is controlled, yet explosive.

    Moving from point A to point B fast, for example, requires efficiency of motion and lots of explosive power. Their "fitness" lies in their ability to do this type of movement repeatedly, without getting fatigued. To make the jump from 1st MA, my "fitness" regime will include lots of stretching, core work, and movement drills.

    One other point: "Fitness" isn't just an issue of improving your existing skill - a lack of fitness can prevent you from performing to your existing ability. Body weight is the best example I can think of. One can do very well in IDPA/USPSA while overweight, but it can be a real handicap when the CoF calls for getting in & out of tight places. Seems particularly so in IDPA, where the CoF may call for the shooter to get in & out of a car, or up from a chair, or even from laying down.
     
  5. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    Ah, the memories and images ;)

    Not just getting out of a car, but there is no graceful way to get from one side of a passenger compartment (SUV cab) to the other, while maintaining muzzle discipline.

    I've yet to find a top tier shooter who enjoys demonstrating going prone (the fast way). I have heard, more than once, "Watch closely, I don't want to have to repeat this" :D
     
  6. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

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    Something I do that helps is to take a weight plate (10 lbs would do to start), hold it in both hands (like eating a burger) and move it from close to your chest to full extension, hold and back to your chest.

    You can also twist it like a steering wheel, press it over head, grip it with your finger tips, row with it. It's pretty specific to the muscles I shoot with.

    :)
     
  7. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    "going prone the fast way" ... is that similar to what happens when you're foot swept by your opponent in martial arts? I have that down to a science, unfortunately. One of my instructors is from Japan, trained with the JKA for 30 years. On the dan ranked students he don't take it easy, whatsoever. If you so much as THINK about straightening up your front knee at all, you find yourself looking at the lights in the ceiling. (Sometimes he'll even get your rear leg on the sweep and you go down even harder.. those really hurt.)

    Sigh. I miss Karate. 24 years of my life in a dojo .. and all over in one frigging motorcycle crash. :(

    I've got plates, Al, I'll give that a shot. Mainly what I need to do is build up endurance and cardio. I've been pretty lazy since 2010 and get fatigued fast. My muscles forgot how to process O2. Still strong, but only or brief periods of time.
     
  8. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice thing about weights is that you can start low and go up.

    One of my issues is that my body doesn't retain potassium very well. I can't do high rep workouts like push-ups, but I can do low reps with weights.

    Getting old ain't for sissys. :D
     
  9. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Thinking folks like Taran Butler and Jerry Miculek, very hard to beat and don't look like they would want to run the Boston marathon.
     
  10. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Wow, you know I didn't realize there were people on this board that compete at that level. I've watched videos of a lot of shooters at the national events, and it's mind bending how quick and smooth they are.

    I'm fine at target shooting but put a buzzer in my ear with a clock and I seem to fall apart. Part of the reason I stopped shooting IPSC my first season of shooting IPSC was my ego. I didn't like where I saw my name on the standings each time I got them.

    I've gotten older and my ego isn't as easily bruised as it was in my 20's. In fact, I don't care if I'm dead last. I'm bored of shooting stationary paper targets and want a change of pace. No matter where my standings are at, I'll get to shoot interesting things. :)

    But I still "want to be the best I can be" at it, because the person I compete with nowadays is myself.

    Thanks for all the tips guys!
     
  11. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I blew out my left knee a few years ago and cycling has been a really great way to get exercise. I bike all over including to the range and back. I'd say the most important things for knee pain on a bike are a good saddle like a B-17 Brooks and the proper saddle to pedal height adjustment. If you get front knee pain after riding that's probably too low of a saddle.

    There are a huge variety of bike styles to choose from compared with 20 years ago. Too many, really. But a good all-around mountain bike should suit you. Given your issues I would suggest old fashioned platform pedals because your "new architecture" post accident may not be compatible with the way they expect you to position yourself. And it will probably help to be able to sit up, lean forward or otherwise shift your position to deal with cramps and spasms.

    I'm also finding hatha yoga a great help in balance and precise control. And for pain acupuncture is really working believe it or not. It's eliminated a plantar pain I'd been having for years.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  12. btg3

    btg3 Member

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    Roads seem to get crazier and crazier. I quit riding and sold my bike a few months ago. Miss riding it to IDPA but am enjoying the proceeds to indulge in shooting.
     
  13. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    I get front knee pain from walking more than a quarter mile, or sitting in one spot for too long. I have to constantly balance idleness with motion to avoid pain; and often I'm unsuccessful.
     
  14. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Is biking with stretched ACL/PCL an issue? They're not damaged other than they've each been strained / sprained or slightly torn multiple times, and my knees are very "loose".

    (Kind of starting to wonder if cycling might help tighten them back up)
     
  15. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    There's bound to be some pain for sure. But I would say bike riding is about ten times less of a knee/hip impact for me than hiking. So I can bike 100 K with about the same level of knee pain I get after a 10 k walk. Maybe less these days.

    An old orthopod once told me that the exercise helps muscles re-tighten and substitute for bad ligaments so it might be just the thing. Worth a shot anyway. Maybe get a cheap stiff framed mountain bike and ride around with it awhile.

    The hatha yoga I'm doing is also really good at retraining joints to both be more flexible and to not hyperextend. You need a good instructor though who can do more than just run you through the paces of the usual forms. The one I'm going to now has stretches that target very specific joints. I've gone from needing a cane some mornings to being able to flip a leg up and stand in line on one leg, mowing people over with the other size 13.

    Of course the risk of re-injury. I put a tool mirror on my helmet so I can see cars coming up behind me. Sometimes the slowest falls are the worst. I ran into a hidden iron curb after snow last month and of course when I fell the curb smacked right into my old injured left knee. That's life.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  16. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    Fixed it. ;) Besides, Jerry may not present himself as "athletic", but in person, it's easy to see he's really quite trim and can really move. And he's got a vice-like grip that could easily turn most hands to pulp.


    I agree with Cosmo - biking's generally good for the knees, though if you have a specific injury, it'd be best to confirm that with a doctor, IMO.

    A few caveats, though:

    Be sure your saddle is adjusted properly - both height and fore/aft. As Cosmo suggested, improper saddle adjustment can strain knees. If you're unsure what's proper, your local bike shop ought to be able to help.

    Secondly, don't push big gears!! It's a very common mistake made by thinking it offers a better leg workout. It doesn't. Keep a nice "spin" of 80-90 rpm. If you find your cadence much below this while maintaining speed, you're pounding too big a gear. Not only is it inefficient, it puts strain on the knees.
     
  17. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    This is my general thought.

    Action pistol shooting is like golf. It is golf with different equipment. It is a skill (or a set of many skills) that you don't have to be in great shape to be very good at, but all else equal, being in shape helps. John Daly can win major championships, but Tiger wins more.

    As far as I'm concerned, if you are going to exersize with the goal of better action pistol shooting, the two things to focus on are lower body strength (leg strength... squats, etc) and grip strength. Hand and forearm strength is invaluable for rapid and consistent pistol manipulation and recoil control. I do a session each week with with heavy weight grippers (not the cheapos at Walmart) and within a month or two of starting that I could handle a pistol more consistently than I ever could before. Your wrists and forearms are where recoil is controlled as well, and the stronger yours are, the faster you can potentially shoot.
     
  18. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Great point ny; my GRIP strength is very poor, overall. I do a lot of typing, guitar playing, etc, so I have great fine motor skills, but not a lot of working with my hands. Due to guitar playing my left (weak) hand is about 2x stronger, grip wise, than my right (which really NEEDS it for shooting, at least, the middle and ring finger!).

    My wrists, especially, are very weak.

    Shoulders/upper body I'm strong. Not bodybuilder ripped, but I can do a ton of pullups & pushups, four times as much as my healthy 15 year old high school track star boy who weighs half of me. :)

    I'll get the barbells out and work on my wrists, and find something to squeeze to strengthen my grip (I *had* a rubber ball for this a long time ago... but my dogs tore it up). Ironing out those weaker spots will get me more "whole" overall.

    Thanks for the tips!
     
  19. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Wrist strength is one of the reasons I'm planning to shoot Minor, by the way. I *used* to be fast with my 45 but I found out practicing this winter that my split times were way the hell up.

    My minor auto split times are consistently .17 when I practice (maintaining 10 yard A ring accuracy), major fluctuates between .26-.32.

    Given the big differences, I'll take the penalty.

    If I could get my wrists stronger and get the major times back down, that'd be great. :)
     
  20. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Everyone's different. Bike riding is hard on my knees. Same with my girl, oddly enough- neither of our knees tolerate cycling well.
     
  21. cor_man257

    cor_man257 Member

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    My advice on exercise? Talk to your doctor about exercises that could help. He will know best, and might be able to refer you to someone who does this kind of stuff for a living. It could be beneficial outside of shooting as well.

    My other advice? Bring your pistol back in. The meanest, nastiest, saltiest, most hard charging, son of a b...., Master Sergeant once told me that nobody wants to hold a pistol out there all day when qualifying. He shoots expert with the M9, and so do I. Take a couple shots, then bring the pistol back in to your chest for a moment (I specifically return to the same spot on the right of my right peck). Bend your knees slightly and shake it off, then punch back out and engage when your target comes up.

    Maybe you can't bob on your knees to relax... But you can definitely bring that pistol back in for a second. Sure, it might seem like a sissy move at first to bring it back in... but the damn thing will get heavy. Period. Being in shape will help... but it will still get heavy eventually. You should also know that no matter what, your arms natural wobble will move in a figure eight. The more tired your muscles, the looser the figure eight.

    Punch out, shoot, recover, repeat.
     
  22. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    He does that. Also the most humble and polite pro shooter that exists.
     
  23. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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  24. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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  25. dsink

    dsink Member

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    Im in the gym 5 days a week lifting and I shoot USPSA.

    One thing I accidently found was kettle bells. They come in all different weights but the side of the handle on them is just like a handgun.
    I hold onto the side of the handle like I do a handgun and bring it up slowly, hold and sight across the handle then let it back down slowly.
    4 sets of 8 with each hand. I use the 20lb kettle bell but you could start off with a 5lb and work your way up. This will improve your core muscles, sholders and grip strength.

    The next time your in Wally World, go back to the excersice stuff and check them out.
     
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