When I’m working with new students there is so much to cover it can be overwhelming. A subject most folks don’t spend time exploring is muscle recruitment and its importance on shooting.
One With The Gun
Once the bullet leaves the barrel there is nothing you can do to help. If you didn’t have your technique installed before hand it won’t help that round as it hurls downrange. Most everything we do is going to be applied prior to the round being fired. There are the traditional subjects such as sight and trigger management along with grip integrity, but how do you put it all together. How do you become one with the gun. I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing athletes. Professional to Olympic, in all shapes and sizes. The advantage they have is a higher understanding of their body. How to make it do the work in the most efficient manner possible.
Use What You Have
This was so clearly illustrated when working with some female professional athletes. Their ability to will their body, to take advantage of what God bestowed to them was down right impressive. The key was in understanding what muscle groups to activate and how to maintain tension during the requirement activity. As I explained the subject, such as shoulder recruitment it was truly impressive to watch each of them work at flexing and engaging the various muscles of the shoulder region. They understood so plainly how we were stacking joints, ligaments, tendon and muscles so they performed at peak levels together.
Midline, You Are Not an Apple
Regardless of the sport, it is hard to perform at high levels without having a strong midline. I will see some folks who have super rigid upper torsos, but their midline is jelly and you literal watch the recoil wave rippling through them. Keep the midline engaged is not that difficult, but it is also something you want to make sure does not produce negative results. The best way to express this process is by trying to move your belly button towards your spine. Don’t just tighten your abdominal region, that is a half measure. When you follow this tip, you not only tense the midline, but you help stabilize your whole body. More importantly, you are preparing it to support the other muscles optimized for shooting.
Your shoulders are the next region and they play a huge role. Keeping your shoulders in a neutral position is the key. You do not want them rounded forward or overly retracted rearward. You want them in their strongest position; which is neutral. Those who suffer from bad posture will obviously benefit from paying more attention to their shoulder position. This also ties into the tight midline mentioned above. Keeping the shoulders in this position further connects the kinetic chain. Once you have your shoulders in the right position with the proper tension they will connect with your lats. While your shoulders can be developed, they will not have the same strength capacity as your larger muscle groups such as your upper back region. Once this is connected it produces an amazing platform.
The last step in this chain is your grip. I have discussed this in several previous blog articles so I will summarize. Applying force to the bottom of the grip is the ideal location to optimize leverage. Gripping high on the gun does not produce the results most think. To optimize leverage you will want to be further away from the fulcrum, not closer. The real challenge is engaging your pinky fingers, literally applying pressure inward on the frame. Then pressing your heels together to close it all off. The last step is to lock your wrists. Combine all of these steps together and you will have a bomb proof technique.
You don’t need overdeveloped muscular structure to manage recoil, it helps, but is not a requirement. You need to learn how to use what you got to obtain the results you want.