PT for the Rifleman

Last month I wrote about the effects of stress and increased heart rate on rifle shooting, and how those effects can be lessened by being in better physical shape.  I thought that I would share my own approach and thoughts on what type of physical conditioning is helpful for the rifleman.  Note that what works for me may not work for everybody.  This is my way of saying:

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That was a pretty dang good disclaimer for a simple rifle shooter, huh?

My personal emphasis is on being in decent “all around” shape with an emphasis on being ready to, for lack of a better word, fight.  I want to have a good, functional balance of speed, stamina, strength, and flexibility.  I don’t care about looks, anything too sport specific, or living until I’m 120.  I want to be able to go from sitting in a car listening to the radio relaxing to jumping out, sprinting for a minute, grappling for a minute, then hitting a distant target with my bolt gun.  The basic idea is to maintain a state of readiness for whatever I might have to deal with.

I don’t mean to imply that I’m in super athletic shape.  I do what I can, and I know that if I have to push it for real, I’m not going to keel over or drop out.  The point is to push oneself frequently in a manner that will improve over your current condition and capability.

My menu of exercise favors the cheap, free, inventive, and primitive.  It may include, but is not limited to:

            -Pushups (wide, narrow, normal, plyometric, etc…)
            -Leg lifts
            -Flutter kicks
            -Squat thrusts (burpees)
            -Skipping rope
            -Punching, kicking, striking, etc…
            -Holding exercises with the rifle or other weight
The core of what I usually do is running, pushups, pullups, and situps.  I might substitute a similar workout just to keep it interesting.  My runs are on the short side, usually 1.5 miles, and usually involve hills or stairs.  Sometimes I do half miles instead.  Sometimes I carry weight, either in my hands or on my back.  Often I’ll do wind sprints with 20 on/40off.  An alternate workout that is a little shorter is kettlebell alternating with skipping rope.  I also use some primitive Okinawan implements on occasion.

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                        This is about enough stuff to cover the basics for me.

I’m going to cover some of these exercises in more depth later.  This is just an introduction.

2 thoughts on “PT for the Rifleman

  1. Love the website! I’m new to firearms and into rifles. Your website has a ton of useful info to help get started off on the right track. I found it interesting that our workout routines are similiar in style. I have found that muscle flexibility, joint mobility, and core strength are key. I see a chiropractor regularly too. I am not familiar with Okinawan implements.

  2. @Anonymous

    Thanks for the kind words.

    There’s a lot of info in the Okinawan stuff online. Look up “chishi” and “nigiri game” (prounounced “gahmay”). The stick with the cement weight on the end of it in the picture above is a chishi. The nigiri game are jars that you fill with something, like rocks or sand, then hold them from the top and manipulate them for grip strength.

    If there are any topics you’d like to see covered, let me know.

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