As a martial artist and fitness instructor with little experience in firearms, one would wonder what I could possibly offer a sport shooter, self protection practitioner or hunter in terms of firearms and shooting advice. My expertise comes forward in my understanding of human body mechanics and how we behave under stressful conditions, and more importantly, how we can train to enhance our performance and efficiency whilst under extreme physical, mental and emotional pressure.
The mind-body connection is quite simple. A change in body structure, breathing or bio-chemistry will have an immediate effect on the brain, and vice versa. Under adrenal response (Also known as the fight, flight or freeze response), the body adopts primal defensive postures that affect our ability to think and act as we normally would. Under adrenal response, however, our energy resources are quickly depleted, our perceptions are skewed and motor skills suffer greatly. Just before that adrenal dump, however, lies a zone (approximately 70-75% of our heart rate max) that allows us to perform with optimal efficiency and proficiency.
If you can train in a way that your threshold to reaching adrenal response is increased, or in passing this threshold, you can bring yourself back to the optimal operational zone, then your training is enhancing your ability to deal with stress and in so doing, increasing performance potential. Movement, when focusing on correct bio-mechanical technique and the biofeedback of stress and pain, will create body awareness and body control which improves consistently over time. Besides strengthening connective tissues, muscle strength, endurance and flexibility is greater increased in a very short span of time. Explosive power through correct loading and unloading of the joints is multiplied and overall, the individual becomes more efficient and proficient in not only movement ability, but mental focus and clarity and balanced emotional states. The following information will provide a sample training programme which is designed to help you on this particular path.
Please keep in mind that it’s always best to check in with your doc before embarking on a new physical endeavour and since these movements may be new to you, start slowly and build up gradually.
Video Follow-Along Sequence: Youtube Link
Decide what you would like to achieve with this sequence and adjust timing (6-12 Minutes), intensity (Low, Moderate or High) and progression movements (in this case, Transitions. Pick one or blend all three by Gearing up and down as you go) accordingly. For Mobility, Warm-Up, Compensatory or Stretch, move slowly (or hold for a few seconds) and remain in Flat-Foot Squat transitions or add Standing in between. Heart rate should not go above 60% (If warming up, feel free to add the jump after a few sequences to get the blood flowing and heart rate a little higher). Set your timer for 6-12 minutes and begin.
BEAR SQUAT – From Flat Foot Squat, extend arms with Fingers pointing straight up. Lean forward to Quad position, transferring weight to hands and extending legs, locking out the knees and pressing chest to knees.
QUAD PRESS – Lean forward to Quad with fingers facing IN forty five degrees and knees out forty five degrees.
LEG THREAD – Lean forward to Quad with fingers facing OUT forty five degrees and knees out forty five degrees. Both Hands on the Floor, Thread Leg & Toe Pivot on posting Foot.
PLANK – Fingers Pointing forward, Shoot legs back to Plank, squeezing Quad muscles and maintaining Hollow Body. Sit back to heels, keeping knees off the ground, return to Plank and then shoot back to Flat-Foot-Squat.
SHIN BOX – Hand Supported. Twist to one side, allowing your knees to come gently to the floor, creating two sides of a box. Knee closest to hand will touch last when going down and raise first when going back. No need to go through Shin Squat on this movement. Use the hands to press into the floor to break inertia and prepare muscle activations for later movements.
SQUATTING – Keeping your Spine upright (focus on upper Chest & Crown), Bend knees to Squat. If you can’t get to Flat-foot, Ball-of-Foot is fine for now. Go as low as you can and when standing up, look straight ahead, lifting from upper chest and crown.
STANDING – First face forward with Spine Vertical. Lift from Upper Chest and Crown to Stand Tall.
JUMPING – Keep Hands in front of Chest, Palms facing forward. Height is not the goal here. Make it effortless and land in Flat-Foot-Squat.
Pointers: Remember, safety always first. Do what you can without going into sharp pains, dizziness or full-on adrenal dump. Maintain awareness, sequence count and ability to move with correct technique. Do this with a partner. Motivate each other and you’ll do even better!
Breathe Focus on exhaling through your mouth whenever you exert any efforts in any movements. The inhalation will take care of itself. Breathing integrates your ability to move from one correctly aligned position to the next. When the challenge increases, BREATHE. This is your key. Focus on precise movement, form and Breathing.
It is not about speed (Yet!). Take your time and perform each movement with deliberate intent to reach maximum extension or Range of Motion. Good form means you are limited only by what your body can do now. You will receive the gains and avoid possible strain or injury. Move only as fast or as much as your form can hold strong.
Key Points Move with precision and exhale through your efforts. Focus on breathing, form and maintaining a pace that you can hold for the duration of the workout.
Final Notes: The pointers above are not specific to this workout. The benefits of taking this approach to (all) your training are nothing short of amazing.
You will increase range of motion and overall body awareness and control. You will see rapid gains in strength, flexibility, balance, co-ordination and endurance by moving slowly and precisely. Connective tissue elasticity and strength is also improved by releasing restrictive tension and strengthening it where needed.
Age and ability is irrelevant. Start where you are able to and amaze yourself with how quickly you progress with consistent ‘baby steps’ that will soon lead to giant strides in your health, fitness and ability to think and act under pressure with focused precision.