Shooting fitness: Feeling sore after a day at the range? Try these stretch-and-release exercises!

If you're like me, you can't wait to get out to the range each week! But after a long day of shooting, my body sometimes starts to complain a little, and I imagine I'm not the only one! So I thought I'd share the post-range stretch-and-release routine that I use, to help speed the recovery of tired limbs.

First, a word about fascia
The tightness you feel in your muscles after a long day of activity is often due to fascial adhesions. Fascia is the silvery-white connective tissue that covers your muscles and organs, and spiderwebs throughout your entire body. Tension in the fascia is responsible for that tight, painful feeling across your muscles.

Thankfully there are some quick, easy ways to release your fascia, with the help of a few cheap, readily accessible fitness aids. All you will need for this routine is 2 pieces of equipment. Both are available from most fitness equipment retailers and physiotherapy clinics:

Sore neck!
This can be a particular problem with those of us who shoot in precision disciplines that involve lying on your back or front. And if you suffer from tension headaches, this exercise is a godsend! It works by massaging the strap-like muscles that attach at the base of your skull at the back, and extend over the top of your head to the top of each eye socket.
Stiff lower back!
Long periods of standing and sitting can leave your lower back feeling stiff and sore. Try doing a few roll-downs to give it a good stretch, and release the tension in your upper body at the same time!
Tense shoulders!
Particularly in the action shooting sports, adopting an aggressive stance when shooting can take it's toll on your shoulders and upper back.

Using your foam roller, try this easy exercise to relieve the tightness in your shoulders:
Tight arches!
We're sometimes on our feet all day at a match. It's not uncommon for the arches of the feet to tighten up, and the best way to release the fascia (described above) in that area is to massage it with a spiked rubber ball.

Do you have your own post-range stretches or relaxation techniques you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them!

The author is a qualified fitness instructor.

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