Exercises for shooting

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of fitness.  I often get asked “what exercises should do if I want to shoot better/faster?”  The problem with that question is that the answer is different depending on your personal level of fitness, how much time you have to invest, and how hard you’re willing to work.  For example, if you have an hour a day, six days a week to work out, then try Crossfit or P90x or one of the “extreme” fitness programs.  Those are probably the best, because they’re total body workouts that build your athletic strength and functionality.  I’d eschew “just” weight lifting, especially the way most people lift weights, which is “go to gym, do a set, sit for like 4 minutes, do another set, sit for like 4 or 5 minutes, get some water, do a set”.

But hey, a lot of people have lives and they don’t have an hour a day, six days a week.  The most some people can do is come up with 20 minutes, 3 days a week.  If that’s the time you have, make the most of it.  Work out hard.  Simplefit is a great program for that, as it consists of bodyweight exercises, the “perfect trio” of pull ups, push ups, and squats.  If you can squeeze another 20 minutes out of one more day, add a little cardio.  My very FAVORITE cardio exercise for the shooting sports?  Shuttle runs.  The bane of high school gym class for certain, but also a GREAT exercise for the shooting sports and for real life.  Shuttle runs train the body to explode over short distances in “stop and go” sports like basketball, not unlike the short bursts of speed needed in USPSA…or running from an attacker.

Now, the great thing about firearms is that they provide equal footing in self defense.  Before guns, if you weren’t strong and/or well-trained, it was much more difficult to defend yourself.  Firearms allow Granny Goodness to equal the force presented by a mugger with a baseball bat, but they’re also not a panacea.  Don’t toss that shiny new 1911 in your holster and saunter out thinking that you don’t need to train, both with the gun and without.  A gun by itself is better than nothing, sure.  A gun that’s backed up a user who has trained with the gun and trained their body as well?  That’s a deadly combo.


  1. Excellent post.

    At last year’s Rocky Mountain 3Gun, it became fairly evident that I was ridiculously out of shape. The worst was nearly keeling over after a stage that had a large gully run component to it.

    CJR had, at that point, been attending a local Crossfit gym, and told me I should look into a Crossfit gym in my town. I started in September of last year, and since that time I’ve dropped about 30 lbs of excess weight, and built much more strength than I’ve had at any time in my life except for maybe college.

    I’m still nowhere near where I’d like to be physically, but most of my life has been spent doing sedentary activities. I never played sports in Jr. High or High School, and was always pretty much a tubbo.

    It was the realization that being overweight and slow was hampering my ability to shoot that really helped me to motivate that I need to be in at least halfway decent shape if I want to do well.

    You can even see it in the videos.

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