Let’s face it — your last hunt probably wasn’t as good as it could have been.
Few hunting athletes really think of themselves as that, athletes. The fact of the matter is that hunting, just like any sport, can and should be improved through training. You may not look at it as a sport you can train for, but you absolutely should if you’re going to maximize your endurance on your next hunt. In this issue, we’re going to discuss ways you can improve at shooting by spending some time in the gym wisely. Interested? Keep reading.
MUSCULAR DEMANDS FOR SHOOTING ON A HUNT
Having a strong and stable shooting platform is an obvious requirement for great shooting performance on a hunt. You’d be surprised, however, how much of that can be improved with a well-designed strength program. Many of the common issues with accuracy in pistol and rifle shooting can be traced back to stability of the shoulder and/ or wrist. For instance, research shows the stronger your grip, the better your pistol shooting performance. The
fur ther you go down toward the wrist, these movements can wreak havoc on your accuracy and groupings.
If we’re looking at the shooter’s arm, the main joints are the shoulder, elbow, and wrist. From a training standpoint, we’re looking to create stability and strength in all of these joints by training the muscles that impact them, such as the rotator cuff, biceps, triceps, deltoids, and the many forearm muscles. It’s common for people to address the shoulders in a shooting performance program, but also including the elbow and wrist is critical if you’re going to make substantial progress on your hunt.
One key consideration in training for rifle shooting versus pistol shooting is working on keeping the rifle close and tight to the body. Keeping a pistol at arm’s length requires more stability because there are less points of contact between your body and the gun. We’re going to include some shoulder work both with a specific exercise as well as a squat variation that’ll also include a similar arm position as a shooting stance.
Sure, the shoulders are still important when shooting a rifle, but the rifle is going to be snug against your body adding both stability and control.
So, if we factor that into a shooting program to improve hunting we also need to work on the biceps and key forearm muscles. These are what are going to assist in stabilizing the rifle and keeping it tight to your shoulder. For this, we’ll have an interesting spin on a traditional biceps curl.
Lastly, you need some general upper body strength and core training to tie everything together. Without a strong core, we’re not able to truly express our strength and mobility. That’s the area that ties everything together. We’ll have two exercises that double as both core and upper body strength movements. After all, we don’t want to just train muscles in isolation. The body functions as whole, and we should train it that way.
The end result is you becoming a more physically prepared hunter.
Hunting can be unpredictable, with hours of stationary movement, followed by hours on the move in various types of terrain. Conditioning is critical if you want to get the most out of your hunt and not succumb to exhaustion.