Shooting, whether it be hunting, Shooting at clay pigeons, or target shooting, at the Olympics is a sport. With all sports, training improves efficiency, endurance, and the end outcome. There are simple stretches and exercises that you can do to help improve your accuracy.
It is easy to focus your attention on having the latest gear, spending time at the shooting range, making sure that you have the best red dot sight for your gun, and then ignore stretching and exercise.
However, when you talk to professional marksman, you will see that they all have some form of workout and stretching routine because they know it works.
Improving Trigger Control
Trigger control is one of the biggest challenges any shooter will face. Accurate shooting depends on your ability to isolate the movement of your Trigger finger from the movement of the rest of your hand. If you are unable to do this when you pull the trigger to the rear, you will disrupt the sight picture.
Success is based on your ability to relax your hand muscles and isolate your Trigger Finger. This is what gives you control and a smooth movement. In addition to training your forearms and your fingers, you need to train your brain.
Here’s an easy way for you to do this.
Take your hand and lay it on top of the table. Then simply tap your finger on the desk. Focus your mind and your attention on your trigger finger until you are able to perform this task mindlessly. You can do it while you are sitting at your office at work performing other tasks. From time to time, look down at your hand and make sure that you are only moving your trigger finger and nothing else.
Once you are able to do this comfortably on a solid surface like a table, try doing the same exercise by tapping your finger on your leg as your hand is hanging loosely to the side. Do this for a couple of weeks. Next, move to a scratching motion with your trigger finger. This is going to train you to smoothly move the trigger to the rear and keep the rest of your hand steady.
Cardio and More Cardio
Cardio is key to improving your marksmanship. If you’re like most people, you hate doing cardio. However, the benefits that come from cardio cannot be ignored. A clear benefit of cardio is that it lowers your resting heart rate. The closer you can get your heartbeat to 60 bpm, the more accurate your shooting will be.
Cardio improves your respiratory system. As you already know, breathing is central to marksmanship. It is imperative that a shooter is able to break the shot during their natural respiratory pause. A healthy individual will have a resting respiratory rate of between 12 and 20 breaths per minute. The lower you can safely get it, the better. It lengthens the natural respiratory pause that you have, giving you more time to break your shot.
Stretching before you shoot reduces injury and can improve your performance. In order to get a good shot, your shoulders, upper body, and the gun must work harmoniously. Sedentary lifestyles, including working in front of a computer screen or sitting behind an automobile for hours, can negatively impact the muscle groups that you need for improved shooting accuracy.
Stretching allows you to warm up your body before activity, improve muscle flexibility, relieve tension, and reduce the risk of injury.
Some good examples of stretches include:
1. Neck Tilt:
In this exercise, tilt your head forward to the point where your chin touches your chest and hold it there for five seconds. Then tilt your head back so that you are looking straight up and hold that for five seconds. Repeat this stretch five times.
2. Side to Side Neck Tilt:
As the name implies, this stretch involves you tilting your neck from side to side. Starting with your head in a neutral position, tilt your head to the left, bringing your left ear to your left shoulder. Hold that position for five seconds and then return to a neutral position. Repeat the steps but this time with your right ear to your right shoulder. You should do this stretch five times for each side.
3. Turning Your Neck:
To do this stretch, start with your head in a neutral position, looking straight forward. Keeping your chin at the same level, turn your head to the left, return your head to center, and then turn it to the right. This stretch should be performed five times for each side.
4. Roll Downs
This stretch is a great way for you to loosen up your upper body. Start by slightly bending your knees. Do not lock them. Then bring your chin to your chest. Allow your shoulders to go limp and drop forward. Slowly bend your upper body down as you allow your arms to hang or dangle freely. Using your head as the lead, slowly fold your entire spine forward in the direction of the floor. You want the folding to happen one vertebra at a time. When you have folded as far down as you can comfortably, return to the starting position and repeat the stretch 5 times.
These stretches are going to help you have a relaxed and balanced shooting stance. Your swing, especially when hunting foul, will be natural and comfortable. It’s recommended that you include these stretches in your daily routine. As with any exercise or a stretch, if you feel discomfort or pain, stop doing them immediately and seek the advice of medical professionals.
Small Efforts, Long-Term Results
Stretching, cardio, and trigger control exercises do not need to occupy a lot of your time. You could spend between five to 10 minutes a day going through a simple routine while listening to the early morning news. You will be surprised at how much better you feel when you’re holding your gun, swinging your gun, and taking aim.
Have you discovered a stretching or exercise routine that has helped you improve your accuracy, fluidity, stamina, or range of motion when shooting? If so, tell us about it in the comments section.
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