Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Gunslinger Move - Forearm and Shoulder Strength

My dad showed me this move when I was a little girl (yeah, guess what part of California he's from...).  He said that the old gunfighters used to do this every day to keep their forearms strong so that they could more easily hold their guns straight and, therefore, aim better.  Interesting side note:  I saw a documentary about Mirko Cro Cop, and he was doing exactly this in one scene.  So...that was pretty awesome.  Anyway, this is a good exercise for anyone in or entering law enforcement, the military, or just your everyday gun enthusiast.

So for this exercise, you will need a prop.  You can make one with a stick (something big enough make a good handle), a rope, and a weight.  Tie the rope around the middle of the handle nice and tight so that it doesn't slip.  A little duct tape will fix it if you can't get it tight enough.  Tie the other end around the weight.  It doesn't have to be a big weight, just a few pounds.  The rope should be long enough that if you hold the stick straight out in front of you in both hands, the weight will be off the floor.

The exercise goes like this:

1. Standing in good posture (shoulders down, back straight, hips tucked, feet apart), hold the handle out in front of you at about chest height.  The rope should be right in the middle between your hands so that you're not holding more weight on one hand or the other.

2. Start rolling the handle toward yourself so that the rope winds around the handle, getting shorter and shorter until the weight reaches the handle.

3. Unwind the rope by rolling the handle in the opposite direction (away from you) until the rope reaches full extension again and then winds back up in the other direction until the weight is, once again, at the handle.

4. You complete the exercise by rolling the handle back toward yourself until the rope is unwound and the weight is hanging at full extension.

5. Repeat as necessary.  Pay attention to your body position while you do this exercise.  As you get tired, your hands will want to droop and you may start arching your back doing other strange things to compensate.

Awesome Tip of the Day:  If you cannot do this without cheating, you are either using too much weight or doing too many repetitions.  This gets tiring fast, so maybe only do this once or twice the first day if you're not used to it.  It is always better to build strength slowly and consistently to avoid injury and strengthen connective tissue as well as muscle.  People tend to get injured from trying to get stronger too quickly.  Muscle builds pretty fast, especially for men.  Strong connective tissue, however, takes time.  That's part of why gym guys get tears near the joint.  Take your time and do it right.  It will pay off in the end.


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