By: Becky Dolgener, Facilitator: Temple TX A Girl & A Gun Chapter
Source: Beth Moses, Trainer
Whether you’re active in competitive shooting or just getting started, the sport makes physical demands on our bodies that can lead to injury. Most injuries can be prevented by strengthening supporting muscles and being prepared physically for the demands of your particular sport.
Start by selecting the right firearms for your current fitness level, and then gradually strengthen your body to prevent concussive and repetitive-motion injuries using the following shooter’s workout regimen. Adjust it to your own needs and fitness level by adding or subtracting reps and weight, and be mindful of existing injuries or limitations. Add cardio, core, and lower body work for a complete fitness regimen. Get help from a certified trainer if you’re unsure how to proceed, and always consult with your doctor before you start a new workout routine. That’s especially important if you’re nursing an injury.
Warm-Up: 25 Arm Circles, 25 Arm Crosses, 25 Wrist Circles (Repeat 2X)
Dynamic stretching is the way to warm up cold muscles without risking injury. Make big movements that involve your chest, back, and core, feet directly under your hips. Complete arm circles to warm up the shoulders, then swing the arms to the side and “give yourself a hug” to complete arm crosses. Wrist circles warm the forearms and get them ready to work. Speed up the movements as you get warmer, and you’ll get a little cardio warm-up, as well. Do this every time you’re going out to shoot.
Chest, Back: (with dumbbells or canned goods) 25 Chest Flys (on the floor, elbows slightly bent, straight arms going up), 25 Bent-Over Upright Rows (Repeat 2X or until failure)
Watch a brief video on chest fly variations here, and mix it up with each set as you get stronger.
Stretch It Out: (goal is to ultimately hold each stretch—no bouncing—for 30 seconds) extend arms straight back, thumbs up to stretch the pectoral muscles; bend at the waist and round the back to stretch back muscles, slowly rolling up one vertebrae at a time until standing. Roll the shoulders back to complete the stretch.
Shoulders, Biceps: (with dumbbells, arms as straight as possible) 15 Front Raises, 15 Side Raises, 15 Overhead Presses (Repeat 2X or until failure)
Stretch It Out: One arm straight out in front, grab with other hand above the elbow, cross in front of chest and hold stretch. Repeat other side. Turn head to look over shoulder to increase stretch.
Forearms: (with dumbbells) Seated, place forearms on top of thighs with weights in-hand. Bend wrist only as you roll weight up and down for one movement. For greater grip strength, relax your fingers slowly and allow the dumbbell to roll just to the fingertips, keeping them curled to keep from dropping it. Bring the weight back up into your palm by curling your fingers. Complete 10 reps, then stretch by pushing hand as far back as possible toward the elbow and as far down as possible, without pain. This exercise will help prevent repetitive-motion injuries such as tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. (Repeat 2X)
Triceps: (with dumbbells) 15 triceps kickbacks (one or both arms), 15 overhead triceps extensions (Repeat 2X)
Stretch It Out: Bend arm at elbow and reach it straight up, trying to touch upper back while keeping gentle traction with opposite hand. Stretch both arms.
Kick It Up a Notch: Complete this workout, adding weight and reps as you get stronger, every other day. Keep your core engaged and tight. On off days, gentle cardio such as walking is your best bet for improving endurance.
Alternative: Walk while carrying weights, pumping arms the whole time.
Always: Drink an ounce of water each day, per pound of body weight.