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Female needing to build chest/arm strength (for shotgun shooting)


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Help! I've recently taken up the hobby of skeet shooting. I've been losing weight and working out but have had to stop walking and doing Dance Dance Revolution due to plantar fasciitis. Anyhow, yesterday was my 2nd time shooting and I have NO upper body strength. My left forearm is a bit sore and on my right side my upper arm, shoulder, and boobie muscles all hurt quite a bit. My husband and his friend suggested I start doing push ups. I don't want to be built. I just want to be able to shoot for an hour or two without feeling like my arms are going to fall off and also being able to use my arms the day after. Some of this will be made easier once I get my own shotgun (it's on layaway) since I'm using one with a stock that's a bit too big for me.

  • What other exercises can I do at home to build up these muscles?
  • What exercises can be done with hand weights to help these muscles?
  • What pound weights should I be using? I have 3 lbs. but am more than willing to buy some additional ones.
  • Is there a good chest/arm routine or video someone would recommend?
21 Replies (last)

Hi if you look up on the net under google for (exercises for arms and chest ) they have a lot there.   That is where I get alot of mine .

 

Good luck  

push ups are always good.  And you won't get "built" (I'm presuming you think you may end up looking like a guy?) -- but you will build tremendous upper body strength

hundredpushups.com

Original Post by coach_k:

(I'm presuming you think you may end up looking like a guy?)

Correct.  I want to develop functional arm/chest muscles while still looking feminine.

Lots of repetitions of light weights to build stamina and tone, rather than few reps at heavy weights, which I've always been taught will build bulk

Original Post by alicephilippa:

Lots of repetitions of light weights to build stamina and tone, rather than few reps at heavy weights, which I've always been taught will build bulk

Define light.  2 or 3 lbs?  5?  What is considered heavy?  10?

Sorry- I just don't know much about weights and I want to do right by my body from the get go.

Yes, that would be exactly the wrong thing to do.
 
 You may also find this an enlightening read. And this as well.

 Dieting women need strength training to retain muscle - even more than men do. Light weights/high reps is an insuficcient metabolic stimulus and will not help you.

K:

 

Don't let plantar fasciitis get in the way.  My wife suffers from it.  With proper orthotic shoe inserts and the right shoes, both prescribed by a podiatrist, she is able to do a full exercise routine, with the following precautions:

1.  Avoid running or significant walking on the treadmill.  Use a stationary bike or ellliptical trainer.

2.  Work up slowly to a full exercise routine. Discuss with the podiatrist how to approach this.

3.  Listen to your body (especially your heel).  It will tell you when you need to take a break.


Our health insurance even paid for the shoes and orthotic inserts.  Smile

Best of luck!

 

Original Post by kthompson92:

Original Post by alicephilippa:

Lots of repetitions of light weights to build stamina and tone, rather than few reps at heavy weights, which I've always been taught will build bulk

Define light.  2 or 3 lbs?  5?  What is considered heavy?  10?

Sorry- I just don't know much about weights and I want to do right by my body from the get go.

Hi, light is the weight you may lift to make 15 reps 4 sets, heavy is the weight you need to lift to make 8 reps 4 sets (more or less).


Anyway to look like a guy, you need to have guy's hormone (testosterone), so you have no risk to end like a guy, push ups is Ok, if you can do them, try using your knees instead of your feet as support to make them easier, also if you are not on a diet to gain weight (eating more calories that you expend) you will not get bulk muscles, but for sure strength.

 

Original Post by melkor:

Dieting women need strength training to retain muscle - even more than men do. Light weights/high reps is an insuficcient metabolic stimulus and will not help you.

I'm going to disagree with you. I've been doing nothing but light weight/high reps and have tremendously improved in strength and stamina.

alice- what do you consider light?  5 lbs?  10?

I don't want to start an online fight but melkor and alice- is there any research that will back up where you're coming from?  Since I'm training with a very specific goal in mind, I want to do what will be most effective.   My husband thinks using 8-10 lb. weights will help me since that will be close in weight to the shotgun.

Money is a little tight right now so I got on freecycle and put out a request for weights between 5-15 lbs.  I'll see what I can come by that way until I can afford to buy what's recommended.

Thanks to those who reassured me about not ending up too built.  I don't know much about this weight training stuff so I just want to make smart decisions.  I'm glad this site is full of more knowledgeable folks than myself.

I am starting the 100 push ups challenge.  Doing knee push ups right now and hoping in a few weeks to be able to switch to standard push ups.  We'll see...

Keep the advice coming, folks.  It's all welcome!

Neither do I want to start a fight, but what has worked for me is what has worked, and that is light (a weight I can easily do 12+ reps per set) and multiple sets (at least 4).

I do not feel at all comfortable moving weights around the 8 reps per set level. Indeed that causes (for me) muscle burn, and that way according to a physiology lecturer lies muscle damage.

Light weights/high reps in generally considered to be in the 20+ rep range or higher. Something like The firm or Body Pump where you pretend to lift weights to music.

 This is generally referred to as the "Pink Dumbell Theory" of weight lifting and is just about the worst, non-physiological training advice to come out of the women's fitness misinformation magazines, along with the building muscle vs. Toning muscle idiocy.

 Of course the set/rep range you use depends on your goal for your training, and in the initial few months of training it pays to stay at around 8-12 reps to allow your connective tissue a chance to catch up to what you're doing, but from there on out what you do depends on your goal - 6 to 8 reps or 8 to 12 reps or 10 to 15 reps does it matter.

 You'd do well to get some real Strength Training advice from Tgpish :)

The Pink Dumbell stuff hadn't even been put forwards when I first walked into a gym all those years ago when you were barely out of nappies. So, yeah, I'll stick with what was defined as light from all those years ago.

One of your links bases it's claims on a single journal article, I'd like you to think on this quote from a more recent article:

"the earlier research optimism regarding an important role for the EPOC in weight loss is generally unfounded. This is further reinforced by acknowledging that the exercise stimuli required to promote a prolonged EPOC are unlikely to be tolerated by non-athletic individuals. The role of exercise in the maintenance of body mass is therefore predominantly mediated via the cumulative effect of the energy expenditure during the actual exercise. "

Edit: correct a couple of typo

How young do you think I and Tgpish are anyway :)

 The basics for fat loss is in your diet:

 Diet+exercise=reasonable results

 Exercise without dietary intervention = poor to embarrassing results

Once the dietary intervention is taken care of - and I assume that's why you're here - the anaerobic intensity of your workout and proper strength training counts for more for your daily energy balance - and since your RMR accounts for about 70% of your daily energy expenditure, activities which maintain or increase RMR should be given preference over activities which don't.

 Activities which stimulate EPOC also stimulate a more general increase in RMR - untrained muscle burns about 5.7kcal/day, trained muscle burns about 7.2-7.8kcal/day, and EPOC is a direct increase in fat oxidation, so activities which promote a higher EPOC also promote a higher rate of fat oxidation in general.

 As for the rep ranges - the ACSM have some guidelines.

 And the point of proper, heavy strength training is to preserve muscle mass and resting metabolism during a diet. When you consider that women lose more muscle mass and experience a higher drop in RMR than men do while dieting*, you'll see why I think that strength training is especially crucial for women.

 (* Kramer, Volek et al. Influence of exercise training on physiological and performance changes with weight loss in men. Hunter et.al. : Resistance Training Conserves Fat-free Mass and Resting Energy Expenditure Following Weight Loss.)
Original Post by melkor:

How young do you think I and Tgpish are anyway :)

 The basics for fat loss is in your diet:

 Diet+exercise=reasonable results

 Exercise without dietary intervention = poor to embarrassing results

Once the dietary intervention is taken care of - and I assume that's why you're here - the anaerobic intensity of your workout and proper strength training counts for more for your daily energy balance - and since your RMR accounts for about 70% of your daily energy expenditure, activities which maintain or increase RMR should be given preference over activities which don't.

 Activities which stimulate EPOC also stimulate a more general increase in RMR - untrained muscle burns about 5.7kcal/day, trained muscle burns about 7.2-7.8kcal/day, and EPOC is a direct increase in fat oxidation, so activities which promote a higher EPOC also promote a higher rate of fat oxidation in general.

 As for the rep ranges - the ACSM have some guidelines.

 And the point of proper, heavy strength training is to preserve muscle mass and resting metabolism during a diet. When you consider that women lose more muscle mass and experience a higher drop in RMR than men do while dieting*, you'll see why I think that strength training is especially crucial for women.

 (* Kramer, Volek et al. Influence of exercise training on physiological and performance changes with weight loss in men. Hunter et.al. : Resistance Training Conserves Fat-free Mass and Resting Energy Expenditure Following Weight Loss.)

If your profile is correct you at least the better part of 12 years younger than I. As for tgpish, that is a red herring - the debate is with you. So, yes I was first in a gym before you were barely out of nappies.

In my case RMR usually accounts for about 55-60% of my daily energy expenditure. That is probably more extreme than most here.


I agree that resistance training is important. I do disagree with your assertion that it has to be heavy. If you have read the article I pointed you at, the level to with EPOC is boosted beyond the exercise period is very hotly disputed in research circles. So, that remains unproven.

Well, from Melkor Geeks Out: add your favourite study!:

  EPOC: Maybe not all that it's cracked up to be:
Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management, Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7.

Effect of acute resistance exercise on postexercise oxygen consumption and resting metabolic rate in young women, Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2000 Mar;10(1):71-81.

However, from  this point/counterpoint article and the studies referenced there, even a fairly basic strength training program increases your RMR by 6.8-7.7% after 3-4 months of consistent training.
and reread the order-of-magnitude analysis from Tgpish again, please, which already accounts for your supposed criticue of the order of magnitude of the effect.

 An EPOC of 60-80kcal total applied consistently twice a week for a year might account for an average of 70 x 2 x 52 = 7280 calories/year, or a little more than 2lbs of fat extra. Nothing to sneeze at, when you consider that on average people add between 0.5-1lbs of fat per year after the age of 25-30.

 It's also not a weight loss solution in itself, merely helpful - permanent solutions to weight management for the general population do not center around dramatic single interventions, but rather the cumulative effect of small changes consistently applied.

 Your daily expenditure clearly places you outside of the "average" group, yes ;)

 It does not need to be heavy as in the 1-5 rep range of maximal loading, no. this is correct- the medium-light 8-12 rep range is sufficient. Anything lighter than that though starts to involve sarcoplasmic energy systems training more than myofibrillar strength training, and it's the myofibrillar stimulation that allows you to retain muscle mass in the face of the rather extreme provocation of causing your body catabolise a significant fraction of itself.

 The cutoff point is not hard and fast - and women tend to get about 1-2 more reps at a given %1RM load than a man so the loading parameters are in any case subject to individual variation; but in this case it would be in the other direction - you should lift heavier than a man.

 Though also keep in mind that my recommendations are descriptive, not prescriptive. You choose the outcome you want - I'm merely telling you some factors you should keep in mind when designing a training program.

 You know the old saying - "build a man a fire and he's warm for a day, set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life", I presume :)
Original Post by kthompson92:

Help! I've recently taken up the hobby of skeet shooting. I've been losing weight and working out but have had to stop walking and doing Dance Dance Revolution due to plantar fasciitis. Anyhow, yesterday was my 2nd time shooting and I have NO upper body strength. My left forearm is a bit sore and on my right side my upper arm, shoulder, and boobie muscles all hurt quite a bit. My husband and his friend suggested I start doing push ups. I don't want to be built. I just want to be able to shoot for an hour or two without feeling like my arms are going to fall off and also being able to use my arms the day after. Some of this will be made easier once I get my own shotgun (it's on layaway) since I'm using one with a stock that's a bit too big for me.

  • What other exercises can I do at home to build up these muscles?
  • What exercises can be done with hand weights to help these muscles?
  • What pound weights should I be using? I have 3 lbs. but am more than willing to buy some additional ones.
  • Is there a good chest/arm routine or video someone would recommend?

Stott pilates has a dvd, intense sculpting challenge, and I belive that comes with a flex-band to incorporate slight resistance, and maybe even a poster for reference.  Thats all I can think of as far as home video stuff-

If I were to start conditioning for taking recoil in the shoulder/humerous, I would defintely start on working on your core to be able to stabilize the position you would be in when shooting and absorbing recoil.  You might try gettting your back extensor muscles good and strong, and when they are I seem to find generally the shoulder joint and muscles around it and the humerous are stable and strong. 

Basically, work your core and out from there to your limbs.

If you can take a private hour on the pilates reformer, you will feel all those deep muscles engaging, and you can take that home with you and apply those principles to your video, and after ahile you have some deep strength that you can apply to lifting, rowing, etc. 

I've rambled on, and I do apologize, but the shooting thing I can relate to!

Thanks!

 

Original Post by kthompson92:

Help! I've recently taken up the hobby of skeet shooting. I've been losing weight and working out but have had to stop walking and doing Dance Dance Revolution due to plantar fasciitis. Anyhow, yesterday was my 2nd time shooting and I have NO upper body strength. My left forearm is a bit sore and on my right side my upper arm, shoulder, and boobie muscles all hurt quite a bit. My husband and his friend suggested I start doing push ups. I don't want to be built. I just want to be able to shoot for an hour or two without feeling like my arms are going to fall off and also being able to use my arms the day after. Some of this will be made easier once I get my own shotgun (it's on layaway) since I'm using one with a stock that's a bit too big for me.

  • What other exercises can I do at home to build up these muscles?
  • What exercises can be done with hand weights to help these muscles?
  • What pound weights should I be using? I have 3 lbs. but am more than willing to buy some additional ones.
  • Is there a good chest/arm routine or video someone would recommend?

 

 

Kthompson...

Speaking from personal experience, a lot of the pain you are feeling is not necessarily from the lack of strength, but from the recoil of the gun.  My first few rounds of the season the darn thing beats the snot outta me!!  Hold the gun tightly into your shoulder so it bounces around less when you fire it. 

However, I would also recommend some strenth building.  You don't need weights really, you can use a milk jug with water in it.

Look up chest flye, curls and kickbacks.  A few of those simple exercises will exercise the regions you are looking for.  AND... fact is... a couple rounds of skeet will do a lot for you, just carrying the gun around.

I second Vstar.  I was a small arms weapons instructor in the military.  Strengthening will help.  However, a few other things are at war here.  First of all, this is new to you.  A bruise in that area is not only typical...but required for first timers...hehe...its a rookie bruise.  But, your body will get used to what you are doing and will adjust.  Secondly, your body will adjust appropriately if (as mentioned by Vstar), you work on your position.  Since this is skeet, its all about the war between you and the butt.  Its imporatant that you hold the gun firmly and proportion yourself evenly over the gun (as opposed to putting most of your strength to the lower part of the weapon).  Use your front arm/grip to pull the butt into its locked position.  The locked position would be that area that tightens up as you lift your other supporting arm...it kinda leaves a small ledge for you to rest the butt on.  Keep in mind while doing this, the more you lift your trigger arm up (where it is perpendicular to your body), the more solid your ledge will be.  And thats about it.  Well, if you want to work on fundementals for getting your shot to where you are aiming, shoot me a line (no pun intended...hehe) and I will give you some very basics.

Have fun!

21 Replies (last)
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