June 9th, 2008

Fitness Training for Shooters

Successful marksmanship is the product of a complex system, part biological (the shooter), and part mechanical (the rifle). Too often, in our fascination with things mechanical, we forget the human, physical side of the sport. The March edition of the CMP’s “The Mark” newsletter features an excellent article by Amber Darland on physical training for shooters. Darland, a certified Personal Trainer, is also a top-level competitive shooter. A U.S. Olympic Team alternate, she was on the American World Championship Team in 2002, and was a member of the Univ. of Alaska NCAA Rifle Team, which won four National Championships while she was there.

Garland says shooters should be involved in three kinds of exercise to improve their physical conditioning: 1) Aerobic Exercise to strengthen the cardiovascular system; 2) Anaerobic Exercise (such as weight lifting) to build muscle strength and stamina; and 3) Flexibility exercises.

Strength Training
Garland notes that strength training helps in many ways: “Weight training also increases your kinesthetic connections and awareness (your ability to notice internal changes in muscle position and
tension). The more you utilize your brain-to-muscle connections, the more you will be able to tap into them to correct positional errors and normal, day-to-day changes in muscle tension.”

Improving Flexibility is Key
Garland stresses that flexibility training can be very helpful, even for older, F-Class or Benchrest shooters: “Of all aspects of fitness, [flexibility] is probably the most utilized by shooting athletes, though not consistently in most cases. Flexibility is important for several reasons including injury prevention and positional consistency. The more pliable and flexible your joint capsules, the more readily they will handle unanticipated stress. An athlete who performs flexibility work on a regular basis will have pliable, supple, relaxed muscles that are not bound by constant tensions and immobility.”

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article (.pdf Download, p. 17)

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