Fitness matters if you want to be a good marksman. Many people in the shooting and preparedness communities neglect fitness. But here at Marksman’s Nest we advocate a good level of fitness.
First up is general physical condition, followed by strength and work capacity and lastly, high-stress situational preparedness.
Basic physical conditioning and health
This shouldn’t be particularly strenuous. The goal is ensuring a spectrum of capability rather than specialisation. And we don’t distinguish between male, female, young, old or disabled.
Start off with: hand release push-ups; bodyweight squats; the plank; a 1,5-km run, a 6-km ruck. Each of these is a good indicator of health for each area measured: upper body strength, lower body strength, core strength, cardiovascular health and endurance.
Hand release push-up
Start in the prone position with your chest flat on the floor. Your feet should be flexed with toes pointing to the ground. Place your hands at the sides of your chest and roughly even with your nipples. For proper width, consider placing your index fingers so they are just below the fronts of your shoulders as you lay on the ground.
Your arms should angle back about 45 degrees from your shoulders. Press and raise your body off the floor while keeping your back straight. After reaching the maximum height, return to the floor and then lift your hands slightly and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
That’s one repetition. Do at least 10 reps in 3 sets within 2 minutes.
While the push-up is a good test of upper body strength, the classic squat is a good measure of lower body strength. Do at least 50 repetitions within 2 minutes. Start in the standing position with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and toes pointed slightly outward. Lower yourself until your hips are below your knees and your thighs just past parallel to the ground. Don’t go all the way down. Return to the standing position. Your back should remain as straight as possible the entire time.
The plank tests the deep core muscles responsible for stabilising your torso and lower back. Starting position is on the ground but resting. When you start your timer, you must assume the position and hold it for as long as possible while maintaining the correct form. If any other part of your body (i.e. hips or chest) touches the ground, then the exercise is over. Ideal time is to hold the plank for 1:30.
You could do this around the neighbourhood. Aim for 8 minutes.
This requires you to use some equipment. It could be a weighted vest or something else, but you need to carry 15 kg dry weight as you walk. Moving distance under load is a foundational human skill; therefore, it’s essential for a marksman’s fitness standards. Try walking as fast as possible. Aim for 15 minutes per 1,5 km. Total time should be 1 hour 4 minutes and 40 seconds.
Good luck! We remain yours in fitness.