Who talks about that? No one. Only having been in sporting clays competition for a year and a half I have not had that much exposure to the ins and outs of the physical training other shooters use, but overall I’ve noticed that there doesn’t seem to be much talk of it. Mostly it’s about hitting that target or chasing this crosser or gun type, load speed, type of powder or stock build.
Yes it’s important to have a great piece of equipment and the right kind of ammo to hit your target, but you need to be able to physically repeat the action again and again, competition after competition without having your body get tired from it, feel sore or stressed.
If you’re reading this and thinking, “This kid’s 15. What could he possibly know about physical soreness or strain from shooting,” you’d be right – I’m not old enough to feel the strain of repeated action with a weighted implement over time, but most all of my team mates are retirees, all men 60 or over – some of whom served in WWII (thank you by the way), and while I can’t relate to their physical ailments I do listen.
I’m competitive in martial arts, I’ve been doing strongman shows since I was six (yes I get that that sounds ridiculous to many adults, but there it is). I’ve been listening to my dad, one of the greatest strength coaches and strongmen around and his friends who are also world-class elite level coaches and competitors about how to rehab and prehab all sorts of injuries and problem areas for numerous different sports.
Let’s face it, if you can pop the gun up into your correct mounted position quickly and effortlessly hundreds of times in a row without eventually feeling the effects of it then you’re going to have increased scores and accuracy. I give you the kettlebell swing and kettlebell snatch.
This movement utilizing the kettlebell implement can work for men, women, youth, and senior shooters. It comes in varying weights so you can start small and work your way up. The movement itself replicates the similar motion of pulling the gun from the resting position to mount. Whether you’re a FITASC shooter or you start from mount the motion is the same. The repetitive movement of the kettlebell swing and the kettlebell snatch will strengthen your whole body. It also significantly helps with rotator cuff issues which numerous shooters seem to complain about whether they realize that’s the issue or not.
It’s easy to learn, easy to do and for competitive shooters who travel frequently the bell is easy to take with you. You can order bells from numerous different places today as well as buy some in-store, but a great place to pick them up is from the company that reintroduced the kettlebell to America – Dragon Door. If you’re flying to an event you can swap out to a thick resistance band like those carried by Primal Fitness Systems. The same exercise motion can be done using these bands and offers great training as well, plus you can just toss it in your travel case.
Don’t forget that training before a competition – not high level, but just an endurance warm up – is great way to get the mind sharp, the eyes alert and the body’s acuity ready to smash those targets. Another bonus to swings and snatches, it builds up the chest and shoulder muscles and adds a nice pad to withstand the constant kick of the gun. Isn’t it better to have your body primed and ready for your sport than to have to rely solely on the equipment you’re using? You’re the equipment first.