ROLE OF FITNESS IN SHOOTING SPORTS
Before we talk about the Role of Fitness in Shooting Sports, Just think about it, in a match how long do you have to hold up your rifle/pistol? How long are you standing in your shooting stance? Without a very good overall Health & Fitness it could make those aspects harder in a competition.”
It’s very important to make sure your overall health and fitness is a priority, because it will be reflected in your shooting scores,”
“Having strong arms allows you to hold the rifle, having a strong core gives you a strong base in stabilizing your stance, and strong legs will enhance your stance and balance.”
Shooters who are active and in good condition can improve their shooting scores faster and often are able to perform better in competition. There are several benefits from fitness program for shooters.
- Being in good shape increases your ability to handles stress in competition.
- Greater flexibility and improved circulation help you to develop coordination and control in shooting positions.
- Overall fitness contributes to general health and well-being.
A good physical fitness program for shooters should include sport or physical training activities from each of the following areas: aerobics, flexibility improvement, strength training, and participation in other fun oriented games.
Aerobics Under this exercises such as cycling, running or swimming, which helps in keep the condition of the heart, lungs and circulatory system, by allowing your body to take more oxygen and utilize it better. Aerobic exercise should be done five to six days per week and should last at least 20 minutes a day. The best aerobic sports for shooters are running and swimming. A daily 15 to 20 minute jog or swim is an excellent addition to any shooter’s training program. Long Distance Running/Cross-country once in a while is also great exercise.
Flexibility exercises such as stretching should be part of a shooter’s training program. Here are some exercises that are good for shooters.
- Neck roll—Tip the head down and slowly rotate it first to the right and then to the left.
- Trunk stretch—Extend hands overhead and bend to side. Stay in stretching position 15 to 20 seconds. Do two stretches in both left and right directions.
- Trunk twister—Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms extended to sides. With right hand, bend and reach to touch left toe. Return to starting position, then bend and reach for right toe.
- Quadriceps stretch—Stand on 1 leg and Hold the ankle of opposite leg with same side hand, bend the knee and try to pull the leg in backward direction, hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds complete the same for both legs.
- Glute stretch—Raise knee as high as possible and hold it against body for 15 to 20 seconds.
- Achilles stretch—Stand about two feet from a wall or pole and support body with hands. Lean forward, keeping body and legs straight to stretch Achilles tendons at back of ankles. Do two stretches of 15 to 20 seconds each.
- Lunge—Step forward with left leg, bending knee as far as it will go. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat with right leg. Do two stretches with each leg.
- Groin stretch/Butter fly—Sit with bottoms of feet touching and knees bent. Grab feet with hands and pull head down to feet. Hold stretch for 10 to 15 seconds. Do four times.
Strength exercises are also very important. Enhanced muscle strength aids in taking the weight of the firearm, holds the body still and controls movement of the gun. Rifle shooting positions require that some muscles be relaxed while others are tense. The ability to control muscle tension and to relax certain muscles is improved by overall strength.
Strength exercises are very specific. It’s important that you strengthen the muscles you will be using. Activities that increase leg and upper body strength are especially good. Sit-ups build stomach muscles used in standing. Additionally, holding the rifle in position is a good isometric exercise.
Performing Own body Workouts like Push-ups, Squats, Planks, Crunches helps in increasing the strength.
Other important parts of fitness include eating a well-balanced Diet making sure you are getting enough rest, and staying hydrated.
Reference for thr above Article ISSF PHYSICAL TRAINING In Shooting Sports manual by Kevin Kilty, Zeljko Todorovic and Kimmo Yli-Jaskari