Camping & Survival

Getting in “Shooting Shape”

Want to improve your shooting? Just like any sport, exercise and specific training can help your shooting—whether it be a better score, longer-range hunting or even the ability to do the work after your quarry is down.

In this series, we will talk about the methods and specific exercises that help you be a better shooter.

The Core

No, this is not gunny’s beloved Marine Corps. What we are talking about is your body’s core. Typically, we are talking about the core muscle groups and large muscles of the body that are the base for the majority of motion and movement. Your body is a marvelous machine that tries to perform each activity with the least amount of energy expenditure.

The following exercises will help you build a better base and allow you to develop a solid shooting and overall performance platform. Each of these routines can be performed at a gym or health club, but I have specifically chosen exercises that can easily be performed wherever you are and with ordinary household items.

The key to all of these exercises is to do them with good form and all can be performed with or without additional weight.

Deep knee bends / squats

Method 1

  1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed forward, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  2. Return to a standing position.
  3. Start with three sets of 10, and work up to three sets of repetitions to exhaustion.

Method 2

Cross-train this exercise with wall sits.

  1. Place your back up against a wall, slide down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  2. Hold to fatigue/exhaustion.
  3. Do three sets.


The great thing about push-ups is that they are versatile. With arms shoulder width or wider, you work a great deal of your chest and back. With a narrow hand position, you will work your triceps and deltoids and shoulders.

  1. If necessary, start on your knees and work your way up to a full push up or Do “Standing” push-ups to start.
  2. Start with three sets of 10.
  3. Work your way up to two or three sets to exhaustion.


Your abdominal muscles are responsible for the stabilization of your entire torso and upper body. Often neglected, a strong midsection can help to alleviate back pain, assist in other motions and help to better control your breathing.

  1. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground, knees bent.
  2. With your hands behind your head “curl” up until you feel your abdomen tighten.
  3. Hold for a count of three.
  4. Do three sets to exhaustion.


If you can’t do a full pull-up and don’t have access to a lat-pull machine, you can use any horizontal bar or, some of my favorites, a set of playground rings.

  1. Grasp the bar and put your feet under to a level that you can perform the pull-up.
  2. Pull your body toward the bar slowly, then slowly let yourself down to the start position.
  3. Go easy with your first few tries at this, as you can strain your back if you have poor form.
  4. Do three sets to fatigue.

Good mornings

There are two methods of performing this exercise.

Method 1

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your hands on your hips.
  2. Bend at the waist forward until your chest is parallel with the ground.
  3. Return.

Method 2

This is the one you to start with if you feel out-of-shape.

  1. Lie on the floor face down with your hands at your sides, palms up.
  2. Lift your upper body off the ground without using your hands
  3. Hold for a count of three.
  4. Return.

These five simple exercises will give even the novice workout aficionado an excellent platform to build on, immediately improve your stabilization and control, as well as allow you to shoot longer with less fatigue.

Do you have a favorite exercise or routine for shooting? Tell us about it in the comment section.


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