When we think about concealed carry defensive gun use situations, we often forget the various muscles that are needed in order to successfully navigate the scenario. Your heart is essential, obviously, but you also need a great deal of core strength. Core strength refers to the system of muscles lying below the “show” muscles that bodybuilders like to build up. These muscles are necessary to walk, run, sit up, squat, or keep your body weight suspended up off the ground. We’ve included a few recommended exercises that address a lot of the muscles necessary for moving quickly, keeping a low target profile, and picking up someone from the ground.
DISCLAIMER: Before attempting any exercise regimen, please consult with your primary health care professional. Do not attempt any exercise where you feel you may be injured or further inflict injury upon an existing injury or condition.
Push-ups are the utility knife of exercises. They improve upper body strength, necessary for pushing away an attacker or pushing someone off of you.
- Push-up basic form: Lay flat on the ground, facing the ground. Hands should be roughly shoulder-width apart and flat on the ground. Push yourself up, keeping your back straight, head facing slightly upward. Lower yourself back down but stop about a fist’s breadth from the ground. Push back up again. This is one count.
You can do this exercise every single day and will continue to see positive results from it.
Squats benefit a concealed carrier because it strengthens the muscles we’ll need to quickly get out of our seat and into action. This is applicable if we’re getting out of a vehicle or standing up from behind a desk. It’s also an essential core workout. Squats can be done with or without weight. The most important part is practice and consistency in proper form and technique.
Basic form: Back arched, squat down with feet shoulder-width apart. Look upwards and try to keep your hips square as you get as low to the ground as possible without touching the deck. Stand up. Flex hips outwards. That’s a single count.
For a more in-depth look on the proper form of a squat, check out this video.
- Mountain Climbers
As a concealed carrier, you’re not so much worried about running for three miles as you will be about covering ten yards on your way to cover and concealment. Cover and concealment keeps us alive longer. If we are slow, we’re easy targets. So we need to be able to sprint over short distances quickly.
Sprints are also great at improving our cardiovascular endurance. In an actual self defensive gun situation, it’s expected that the concealed carrier’s pulse is going to up significantly. Life or death tends to weigh heavily on just about anyone. Being able to operate calmly in a high blood pressure situation gives us the advantage.
- Timed: 10 yards, 50 yards
- Circuit: 5 x 10 yards, 5 x 50 yards
- Indian Sprints
Core muscle strength improves flexibility, strength, endurance. They’re the most overlooked muscles because they don’t show up unless you have very little body fat but the effects of strengthening these muscle groups is crucial to real life situations. A plank is an iso-metric exercise where you essentially go into the push-up position. Your back should be straight (like a plank), feet together, and you can support yourself on your elbows. Pivot your head up so you’re looking slightly up.
Timed exercise: 30 seconds, 45 seconds, and 60 seconds.
- Side planks
- Elevated plank
- Wide-feet plank
Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups
Using coordinated muscle movements in combination with strengthening core muscle groups can improve your reaction time. The pull-up or chin-up are examples of great exercises where you use your own bodyweight against itself to achieve fantastic results. All that’s required for this is a bar that is anchored above your height.
- Pull-up basic form: Hang from the bar with hands gripping the bar facing you. Let your arms fully extend so that your entire bodyweight is hanging. Use your upper body strength to pull yourself until your chin is above the bar. Slowly release until you are back to hanging on the bar. Repeat as often as possible.
- Chin-up basic form: Same as the pull-up but hands are facing outboard (away from you). The chin-up uses a slightly different set of muscles.
All of these exercises can be safely performed outside of a gym and with minimal equipment. The more able your body is to react to stress and stressors, the more resilient you will be should you ever encounter a defensive gun use situation.