Fitness and Health In Field Target: Part 2

In Part One I spoke about the benefits to be had for improving your level of fitness and health as a competitor in Field Target shooting competitions. In part two I’ll be looking at some basic but effective ways to do it. Think of it as a simple kick-starter program.

Generalising here, but I think FT shooters are a robust, down to earth, no-nonsense speak as you find people. So for starters, I’ll give it to you straight.

You need to chuck less crap down your neck.

This includes sweets, chocolate, cakes, biscuits, beer, wine and spirits. See the common theme here? It’s sugar and it’s poison. Lets call it white death just to be certain you know how bad it is for you and how strongly I feel about it. Google diabetes and immune system disease, if you are in any doubt what excess sugar and a poor diet can do for you. You would also benefit from eating much less bread – especially the white stuff.

Takeaway, processed and packaged foods are laden with the white death and other garbage that’s no good for you (saturated fat, trans-fats, salt, veg oils) and are best avoided. Partial to real ale myself, but in moderation. 230 Kcals at least in a pint and that’s same as a Mars bar. Plenty of hidden sugar in some booze too – see above.

This is a good link for info on healthy eating.

Anyways, you get the drift. Sensible eating and drinking are key.

Exercise? Oh yeah, you’ll need some of that too…

Cardiovascular Fitness.
No need for a gym subscription, just get out and move more in the fresh air. A regular fast walk or (god forbid) breaking out into a jog will do wonders for your heart and lungs. Restricted on time? Get benefits from some skipping or squats or ride your bike. Hell, you could even come and help Andy Calpin set a course at Anston. (think Gunnery Sergeant from Full Metal Jacket but less understandable and more abuse)

Improve your physical strength with some basic exercises. You don’t even need a bar and a bunch of weights – use what you have i.e a fully scoped FT rifle. The military has practiced these techniques for decades whilst in theatre and without access to facilities.

With safety in mind (ie..not on the firing line at the club and don’t point it into the kid’s bedroom or the dog’s ear whilst doing the exercises at home)

Holding the rifle across and close to your chest. Feet shoulder width apart, squat until your thighs are horizontal to the floor and stand up. Repeat 20 times then sit down breathing heavily and curse the pain. Done regularly will increase your cardio fitness, strength in thighs, hamstrings, gluteus maximus (your ass) chest and arms (from holding the gun)

Standing. Hold the gun firmly in both hands arms lowered to thighs. Bend elbows and ‘curl’ the rifle up to the chin and lower as many times as you can.

Shoulder Press.
As above – press rifle up to the ceiling and lower to shoulders.

Press up (no stupid – you can put the rifle away now)
A favourite – improves strength in your chest, arms and core.

There’s a million ways to stretch and too little space here, so google it.Just don’t ‘bob’ and hold the stretch for 20 – 30 seconds. Suffice to say it’s a good idea to get your muscles, tendons and ligaments more flexible as you get older. Less chance of a strain or pull when doing everyday stuff or getting in and out of our FT shooting positions.

If you suffer from a glass back as I do, a good tip that has made significant improvements is to keep your hamstring muscles stretched and flexible. I found that my bad lower back was caused by them being overly tight and pulling the spine out of alignment.

Anyways, there’s just a few ideas to get you thinking and started. Remember that something is better than nothing and it’s never too late to make improvements to your health and fitness through diet and exercise. You can be certain they will improve your FT scores, general enjoyment of the sport…and life.


PS. Sorry, there were no pics of Martin in lycra. He went out but came back after only two minutes cos he had forgotten something. He had forgotten he was out of shape and couldn’t run for more than two minutes…:-)