Physical preparation for shooting sticks

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by Mtgoat, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. Mtgoat

    Mtgoat AH Veteran

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    This afternoon, I am going to have knee surgery - think of it as a souvenir from my safari in August. ;) (Should that count in the total cost of the hunt? :heh: ) Once I am cleared to go back to the gym, I plan to work with a personal trainer who is also a physical therapist. So, the stage is set. As long as I'm working with her, I thought why not have her include some exercises to help me become more steady when shooting on sticks. Which muscle groups should I focus on to help improve my accuracy/stability?
  2. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    This is by no means a qualified opinion but here goes. Years ago I was heavy into 3D competitive archery. Form is everything in bow shooting and I had opportunity to shoot with some great archers as well as study numerous videos on the subject.
    First of all placing as much load vertically on your skeleton with no muscular involvement will eliminate much of your movement straight off the bat. The less muscular involvement the better. Second, your abs support your upper body far more than your back so I would say tightening them up would probably be your biggest benefit.
  3. Mtgoat

    Mtgoat AH Veteran

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    Thanks.
  4. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I agree upper body definitely helps, the stronger your arms and shoulders are the better you will be able to control any shaking.

    I would recommend starting with a low kicking gun first in the sticks and practice form before I moved to a big gun. A low recoil gun will build confidence.
  5. Mtgoat

    Mtgoat AH Veteran

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    I agree. Last year, I just practiced with a magnum rifle. The biggest problem that came with that was the cost of the ammo. When I got back, I immediately bought a bolt action .22 with a scope, plus a couple bricks of shells. I probably won't be able to get serious about practicing with it for about 6 weeks.
  6. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    That is the SUPER SMART way to practice. That is how I learned to shoot...bricks of .22 shells.
  7. gi jane

    gi jane BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    First off, good luck with your surgery.. May it go well and be successful!!! Hope you feel better very soon..

    Now for Aunty Janey's words of wisdom...
    Upper body such as delts, biceps etc. are crucial, but also make sure to focus on quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Once your'e able to have full-range of motion with your knee again, use light weights and high reps , focusing on each muscle group. When your pain is gone and you can increase the weight do so slowly. Work on balance exercises that will focus on the calf, quads and glutes. For sure do some lower-back work but keep the weight very light. Building up the accessory muscles around the injured knee will increase your stamina and reduce any fatigue (I am going to assume you will be walking a lot so there is that, and you may have to crawl so perhaps some light fabric knee pads should be considered, plus they would give additional stability to your knees).
    Above-all, consult with your trainer/therapist and bring the sticks with you after your initial PT is completed for the knee surgery. Let him/her know your goals and practice all possible shooting positions with the sticks. I had to kneel twice with the sticks for two animals and I never practiced that position. Just glad it worked-out for me, but I have never had knee surgery so be prepared if you have to adapt. You definitely don't want to mash-up your knee again!! Good luck and get well quick!!
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  8. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Good luck with the surgery and rehab. Had to get my arm put back together a few years back after I tore a tendon loose from its moorings. Not fun! I dont remember if you ever said what happened to need surgery? Good luck.
  9. Mtgoat

    Mtgoat AH Veteran

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    Jane,
    Thanks for the detailed answer.
  10. Mtgoat

    Mtgoat AH Veteran

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    I was standing in the back of a truck at the end of my safari. Without warning, the driver popped the clutch and took off suddenly. I was thrown hard to one side. That was all it took. It was apparently only a partial tear. Two weeks ago, something popped and I was done for. It turns out that while preparing for a sheep hunt in 2008, I had caused a partial tear in the other meniscus of the same knee. Both parts were taken care of in this surgery.

    Actually, I'm an old hand at knee surgery. This is my sixth one. The other five have been on my left knee. There isn't much left of it. It's bone on bone. Now it's just a question when to have it replaced. My doctor has advised that i should put it off as long as possible, but 3 or 4 years ago said that he'd be willing to do it anytime.

    Sorry if the post is incoherent. I still feel the effects of the anesthesia and the pain med is starting to kick in. While I appreciate better living through chemistry, for the next few days, ice is going to be my best friend.
  11. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    No worries, you sound more coherent than half the guys here wide awake! :rolleyes: Heal up quick.
  12. BigSteve57

    BigSteve57 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    Here's one for you. On our Safari this past August we used shooting sticks. We practiced hard before the trip and became fairly proficient, at least we became a heck of a lot better than when we started using them. Hunting on sticks was new to us and we found it quite awkward - at first. So again, we practiced by shooting from sticks standing, seated, kneeling etc... We even timed ourselves making sure we could consistently place 3 shots from sticks on a standard military SR target in the black at 200yds in 1 minute's time or faster.

    We assumed timing would be crucial but timing wasn't a problem. What we had not prepared for was standing at sticks upwards of 15 minutes waiting for the game to position themselves or appear. When we did that our muscles became fatigued and twitched uncontrollably, as if in severe cold. I had 2 confirmed misses due to that. I believe my wife had sense enough to break off the sticks before she shot when this happened to her.

    The same thing happens to me in service rifle matches when I get fatigued.

    Thoughts on this? Just do strength training? Avoid coffee?:confused:
  13. Mtgoat

    Mtgoat AH Veteran

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    A few years ago on a mule deer hunt in Colorado, we spotted a nice buck at about 200 yards. All that was visible were the head and very top of the next. I sat down and my guide set up the sticks. We couldn't tell if he was standing or laying down, but he was staring straight at us, not moving a muscle. I sat there holding the rifle on him for 25 minutes. What I did to avoid the shakes was to move slightly from time to time. I kept the rifle in place, but I'd lower my right arm for several seconds, then the left. I flexed muscles in my shoulders and back, etc. There was enough cover that the slight movement it didn't spook him and I was always ready for a quick shot.

    Hope that helps.
  14. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    You have to flex different muscles otherwise you muscles will fatigue. They can only contract so much. Conditioning helps but you have to rest muscles before you get the shakes.
  15. 35bore

    35bore AH Legend

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    I agree with the above post, upper body strength will be first and foremost, but do not forget about a solid base. Work those legs too, what I recommend would be to set up and just stand there for 5-10 minutes. The group of muscles you feel getting fatigued would be the ones I would start with. Good luck with the surgery and the recovery.
  16. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I lost points on a anatomy exam, brain fart at the time but you are correct 35 Bore, the big muscles are the back bone of good form. There are long muscles in the back and of course your "thighs" that do a lot of the dirty work.

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