Shooting Science: Core exercises

Yesterday, we discussed a key exercise for strengthening the lower body in your shooting stance. However, your lower body isn’t the only part of the body that gets a workout while you’re in your shooting stance – you also place strain on your “core muscles” and you back, chest, and shoulders.

For the upper body, the best, and most simple exercise to strengthen the muscles affected by shooting is the classic pushup. The routine in the video I linked is my training routing for pushups, which helps build both endurance and strength in the upper body of the shooter. Again, it’s important to remember to always maintain proper form – 2 reps with good form is always better than 5 reps with poor form. The push-up is my primary exercise for upper body condition, although I do mix in other stuff, at the initial level “all you need are pushups”.

Core strength training is a much more difficult animal to tackle, as proper core strength training covers multiple muscles, and multiple exercises. However, for a basic exercise to target core development, I recommend steam engines, an old boot camp classic. Steam engines, when done with proper form, can effectively target many of the “core” muscles, as balancing and performing the range of motion engages an even wider muscle group that you may think is being used.

So far, we’ve covered lunges, push-ups, and steam engines. For a beginner’s workout, I recommend doing all three exercises together, three times a week, allowing 1 day of rest between each work out day. With just those three exercises, you’ve created a short, 20 minute workout which will help you develop muscular strength and endurance that will make you a better shooter.

On Monday, we’re going to take a look at some intermediate level exercises to target skills like shooting on the move, grip strength, and even more strength and conditioning exercises.


  1. Don’t know if this might be coming up in a later installment or not, but another type of exercise to consider would be the burpee. Think of it like a really intense pushup.

  2. This is really good stuff. I’ve recently become much more aware of the strength and metabolic conditioning aspects of practical shooting.

    What’s your take on Crossfit as a training program for practical shooters? I’ve been doing Crossfit for two months now, and I’m pretty impressed with it so far.

    – Chris

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