Warm-up And Cool-down Techniques Before Shooting

Warming up and cooling down are vital parts of any recreational shooting. Expert sport shooters will have a vigorously planned warm-up and cool-down plan. An advanced sharpshooter will understand the benefits of keeping these valuable techniques within their routine.

People usually associate warming-up and cooling-down with high-intensity sports. Many believe that it is not necessary to complete a routine before shooting. Although, it has been proven that any strenuous activity requires warm-ups and cool-downs throughout each session. An average firearms session should include a ten-minute warm-up and a ten-minute cool-down.

The Benefits Of Warming-up

A warm-up gradually increases your cardiovascular system by raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles. There is an extensive range of benefits associated with warming-up:

Injury Prevention

Within any physical activity, there is a high risk of becoming injured. Being able to avoid injuries is a crucial factor needed for long-term success within sport shooting. How is it possible to drastically decrease your chances of becoming injured? The answer is simple. Complete a short warm-up in advance of any firing session.

Completing a warm-up will reduce muscles stiffness and increase blood circulation around your body. Improved circulation will help you maintain a healthy blood and oxygen flow, allowing your lungs, heart and muscles to function efficiently.

Many firearms enthusiasts will warm-up to increase their blood flow for improved grip strength. Other options for improving your grip strength include practising a farmers carry or completing handgrip exercises.

A warm-up before your session will also have the added benefit of opening up knotted muscles. Knots are usually a type of spasm that causes a small portion of a muscle to tense up. Therefore, your muscles will no longer be stiff and less likely to tense throughout your session. Some individuals may use heat machines to help loosen muscle knots.

Mental Attitude

Confidence in your capabilities is essential before taking part in any firearm related sport. Having a strong mental attitude will help you deal with pre-shooting nerves or anxiety. Being able to complete a warm-up beforehand gives you an opportunity to relax. Your brain should become focused on your activity. Allowing you to clear your thoughts and focus on an end goal. A warm-up will allow you to have improved cognitive skills and coordination.

A warm-up allows you to find your zone and isolate your mind from reality. This state of mind will help you overcome any complex challenges you face when participating in a shooting session. A well-executed warm-up is usually the main difference between a good shooting experience and a bad one.


A good warm-up slightly increases your body temperature. Your nerve transmission and muscle metabolism should have improved. This is a great benefit when sport shooting as your muscles should perform exceptionally faster and much more efficiently.

How To Warm-up

For many other sport-related activities warming up involves stretches. This is highly advised against when shooting. Stretching cold muscles can harm your body. Making you perform at a lower standard than usual.

The most straightforward warm-up exercise is rotating a body part (e.g. neck) in a circular motion. This will help you to become warmed up without applying any pressure in a stretch. A slight increase in blood pressure is needed for the added benefits of warming up, but do not try to intensify the warm-up. If you increase your blood pressure too high, it will have an adverse effect on your performance.

It is recommended for beginners to attempt a physical warm-up thirty minutes in advance of a shooting session. This gives you time to recover from any accidental rise in pressure gradually. Performing some form of mental warm-up such as meditation ten minutes beforehand will allow your mind to relax and enter a zone of concentration.

The Benefits Of Cooling-down

Cooling down after your workout allows for a gradual recovery of your heart rate and blood pressure. There is an extensive range of benefits associated with cooling-down:

Injury Prevention

Cooling -down has many benefits similar to warming up. Cooling-down after a firearms session allows you to relax your mind and prevent injury. Cooling-down allows for a gradual decrease in your heart rate and pressure levels. If your pressure level and heart rate decrease too quickly, you could be more prone to injury.


Cooling-down allows your body and mind to relax slowly. Within a cool-down period, it is recommended to review your shooting experience. This will help you address your emotions and possibly understand how to improve.

How To Cool-down

After any adrenaline fulled sport, it is essential to become relaxed in both mind and body. The following methods will allow you to do this:

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea is made by steeping peppermint leaves in water. Peppermint is a mixture of spearmint and watermint. Peppermint tea has a fresh, excellent flavour with a tingling finish. It has no caffeine making it great for relaxing and cooling down.

Breathing Exercises

When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. Breathing exercises will help you regain control over your mindset. Allowing you better to regulate your body's reaction to stress and fatigue. This allows you to become in control of your thoughts and feelings. A highly recommended breathing exercise is called pursed-lip breathing.

Hot Showers

Hot showers are an effective way to take built-up tension out of your muscles. Many people also use hot showers to help calm nerves. Hot showers will also allow you to fall asleep faster, improve your blood pressure and lower your blood sugar levels.

Finishing Notes

Overall, it is apparent warming-up, and cooling-down will benefit your performance, health and mental state. Developing a primary step by step warm-up routine can be extremely useful before sport shooting.

Arriving at your destination earlier than needed is necessary. There is a large amount of extra effort required to complete these tasks. Therefore, giving yourself more time will help you relieve any stress associated with sport shooting.