Physical Strength Excercises related to firearms

This is a discussion on Physical Strength Excercises related to firearms within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I am a Senior Firearms Instructor with my agency and I recently had a shooter pose a question I've never heard before (which, after 17 ...

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Thread: Physical Strength Excercises related to firearms

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array TheGreatGonzo's Avatar
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    Physical Strength Excercises related to firearms

    I am a Senior Firearms Instructor with my agency and I recently had a shooter pose a question I've never heard before (which, after 17 years, is a bit unusual). She wanted to know what physical strength exercises she could do to specifically address improving her shooting. I always recommend grip work for my shooters, but she wanted to know about ways to improve forearm strength and upper body strength and it relates to keeping the weapon up and extended during range training sessions. I run and lift weights a bit, but I'm certainly not a personal trainer or exercise physiologist. Does anybody have any suggestions I can pass along to her?
    Thanks,
    Gonzo
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    Distinguished Member Array Bob The Great's Avatar
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    I'm no trainer, but I would think general upper-body workouts would help. Push-ups, a pull-up bar, two chairs to do dips off of, and some grip springs would probably suffice. If she can't do a pull-up or a dip with her own body weight, I'd suggest either joining a gym that has an assisted dip/pull-up machine or doing shoulder presses with an empty bar, and work her way up.

    I know petite women and very skinny guys sometimes have trouble supporting a heavy gun, especially a rifle. Grip strength is important, but so is the shoulder strength to actually support the weapon. Kudos to your student for having the presence of mind to ask.
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    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    i dont know what it is called, but when you have dumbells (or one large one) and hold them together in front of you and lift up (very very similar to bringing a pistol into your line of sight).
    Then is one of my arm workouts i do and it helps a lot. i am much more stable now and can hold it in position longer without getting tired

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    Senior Member Array rabywk's Avatar
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    One great exercise to help build up the forearms is to have a weight on the end of a rope. Take the rope and tie it to a dumbell rod and twist the rod to lift the weight off the floor and then the other way to lower it.

    1. Grip (the spring trainers work well)
    2. Forearms (described above)
    3. Arms, shoulders, back (pushups and pullups)
    4. Core (situps)

    These four exercises that can be done in just a few minutes a day will help your shooters develop the muscle tone that will help their shooting. They don't have to do a lot of it, just enough to start toning up the muscles that many people have let go over the years.
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    Abs, Back, shoulders and grip/forearms. In that order.
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    Just as an interesting, to me anyway, way to keep in shape for shooting. I had read once about an old Texas Ranger who was a competitive shooter also. He had filled a soda bottle with sand to the same weight as his pistol, and at home or while driving would hold the bottle at shoulder height working the same set of muscles he used to shoot. Not an all around workout, I agree, but something that evidently worked for someone.
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    Member Array imatt's Avatar
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    All upper body exercises I did (with respect to actual weights) seemed to make a big difference for me. From control to steadiness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by friesepferd View Post
    i dont know what it is called, but when you have dumbells (or one large one) and hold them together in front of you and lift up (very very similar to bringing a pistol into your line of sight).
    Then is one of my arm workouts i do and it helps a lot. i am much more stable now and can hold it in position longer without getting tired
    What you are referring to is a Forward Raise, very good for front Deltoid development. The same motion, but to the side of your body instead is a Lateral Raise, for Lateral Delt development.

    I believe shoulder exercises like these can help with shooting, but they are also very helpful for avoiding the common Rotator Cuff injuries most of us suffer from eventually.

    If you are going to lift weights, then your grip strength will be built from holding onto them. If not, then of course grip strength training will help (with various tools like the squeeze doodads). Grip strength can also help with self defense, in what I refer to as the 'ball factor'- should a woman have to defend herself from a man... eh, I'm sure you get the picture.
    Dave

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    Really great question

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatGonzo View Post
    I am a Senior Firearms Instructor with my agency and I recently had a shooter pose a question I've never heard before (which, after 17 years, is a bit unusual). She wanted to know what physical strength exercises she could do to specifically address improving her shooting. I always recommend grip work for my shooters, but she wanted to know about ways to improve forearm strength and upper body strength and it relates to keeping the weapon up and extended during range training sessions. I run and lift weights a bit, but I'm certainly not a personal trainer or exercise physiologist. Does anybody have any suggestions I can pass along to her?
    Thanks,
    Gonzo

    This is a really great question. I am almost 65, with very very poor upper body strength and little strength in my wrists. My wife, who is quite diminutive, is stronger.

    A couple years back I joined a gym and concentrated on upper body and arm strengthening. It was agony. AGONY I SAY :) But with time my shooting improved as my strength increased.

    Unfortunately, that gym stuff isn't my life style. Hence for me, most of the time, I carry 380 and am considering 9 mm or wheel gun in 38 sp.

    Higher calibers just aren't for me because I'm too physically weak.

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    My sister told me the other day about of friend of hers who is a really excellent shot. His tip for improving your shooting abilities is to simply hold your gun up for a continuous 5 minutes every day. Sound simply enough, certainly worth a try.
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    Have her Take a look at russian kettle bells.
    I've been using them for about six months, and I've never been in better shape. Visit dragondoor.com if you want more info. I recommend Pavel's book on the subject as well.

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    Senior Member Array Roadrunner's Avatar
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    Check out John Brookfields books on ironmind.com. They have a lot of good info on strengthening your hands and wrists. Ironmind's grip trainers are in a class of their own as well.
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    Any and all upper body weight training exercises. Abs exercises.

    Especially, forearm curls. Sit in a chair or on a weight bench with your feet flat on the floor, pick up a dumb bell, place your forearm on your upper leg with your wrist/hand hanging off the end of your knee with the weight in your hand, palm facing up. They, do curls by just bending your wrist up with the weight in your hand. Do 100 of those and you will know it brother. It will burn and be sore like hell the next day.
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    After my last heart attack and surgery,I couldn't hold a wet noodle...I started with a squeeze ball,worked up to dumbbells,then on to a weight routine.....seems the most good came from the squeeze ball and dumbells...I could firmly hold on to my Glock after I worked with them for a while....still use them too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 820usafsf View Post
    Have her Take a look at russian kettle bells.
    I've been using them for about six months, and I've never been in better shape. Visit dragondoor.com if you want more info. I recommend Pavel's book on the subject as well.
    I’ll second that. I've been using kettlebells for a couple of years, and have had tremendous results. I’m 38 and I’m in the best shape of my life, by far. Even better than 10 years ago when I was in the Marines.

    You can't beat kettlebells for developing complete muscle groups (as opposed to isolation exercises). For real world strength, muscle development needs to be done in the groups that work together, rather than isolating particular muscles.

    Kettlebells are also a great way of combining conditioning with strength training.
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