Does Exercise Improve Concealed Carry?

Does Exercise Improve Concealed Carry?

In this article, we’re going to explore some opinions on how exercise affects concealed carry skills.  Why do we need exercise in the first place?  Isn’t having a gun more important than a workout?

There are two basic forms of exercise that really improve overall readiness:

  • Aerobic fitness – your ability to safely sustain cardiovascular activity
  • Anaerobic fitness – isometric and core muscle workouts that improve balance, perception, and reflexes.

You and your physician understand best what type of exercise you can do so ultimately all these recommendations are simply that – our best ideas on what types of workout improve CCW abilities.

But don’t take our word for it — check out Mr. Colion Noir working with noted exercise scientists studying the effects of aerobic and core exercise activities and shooting ability.

Core And Isometric Exercises

You don’t have to hit the gym necessarily to get a great CCW workout.  One of your biggest friends in shooting and reaction is your core muscle group.  This is the system of muscle tissue that is beneath all the “show” muscle.

The Mayo Clinic illustrated out some good exercises which help improve balance, flexibility, and core strength — all necessary for keeping your bearings under pressure.

These exercises include:

  • Abdominal crunches
  • The Plank — cannot be overstated how this ties into your ability to maintain steady control
  • Bridges
  • Leg Presses with Variations

Anything that strengthens your hips, abdominals, and legs is going to be extremely useful.

Upper Body Strength

The gun moves where you tell it to — not the other way around.  Even though most concealed carry pistols and revolvers are relatively light (less than 2 lbs), maintaining that weight for an extended period of time can cause your arms and body to shake as you struggle to keep the sights aligned.

Upper body exercises that improve your aim:

  • Pushups – Elevated and Variations
  • Pull-ups/Chin-ups — If you can’t do a pull-up, try doing a pull-up “hang” instead.
  • Front Barbell Raises and Holds
  • Side Barbell Raises and Holds

When selecting a weight, start off with lower weights and work up.  If you can do a set of 12 or 15 without issue, try increasing the amount of weight or the repetitions until you find something challenging.

Cardiovascular Activity

Whether it’s just making a commitment to walk every day or more advanced High Interval Training – getting that heart rate up can help your body simulate and adjust to high-stress, high-pressure environments.  Concealed carriers and gun owners have died due to heart attacks following a successful defense against an attacker.

No matter what cardiovascular activity you decide to participate in, consult with your physician to determine an ideal elevated rate and maintain it for at least 15-20 minutes – ideally closer to 45 minutes.  That rate will change with your age and other physiological factors so please do consult with a healthcare professional prior to beginning any exercise regimen.

Athletic fitness and a steady exercise regimen will help improve your visual acuity, perception, and situational awareness in addition to your ability to respond to a life-threatening emergency. Having a concealed carry handgun is only one step of the equation — physical fitness is another important piece of that puzzle.

$599.99 (Reg.$ 799.99)
No Code Needed
Sig Sauer P365 9mm Pistol 12 Rd RTT Tacpac, Coyote

Sig Sauer P365 9mm Pistol 12 Rd RTT Tacpac, Coyote

The award-winning P365 has redefined the micro-compact pistol category, quickly becoming one of the most coveted firearms in the industry.

$449.99 (Reg. $549.99)
No Code Needed
Smith & Wesson M&p Shield Ez 9mm Pistol With Manual Safety, Black - 12436

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 9mm Pistol With Manual Safety, Black

The next evolution of the M&P Shield EZ pistol, the M&P9 Shield EZ encompasses all of the M&P Shield EZ features, now in the powerful 9mm caliber.

No Code Needed
3 Pack Of Blem Psa Stealth Ar-15 Lowers

3 Pack Of BLEM PSA Stealth AR-15 Lowers

These forged lowers are quality made using material is 7075-T6 and are marked "CAL MULTI" to accommodate most builds. The finish is Black Hardcoat Anodize per MIL-8625 Type 3 class 2.

1 2 3 17
Previous articleCCW Holder Stops Robbery in Chicago
Next articleCan You Recognize and Clear these 4 Types of Handgun Malfunctions?
Luke McCoy is the founder of USA Carry. In 2007, he launched USA Carry to provide concealed carry information and a community for those with concealed carry permits and firearm enthusiasts.
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Great article. A couple of critical considerations when thinking about an armed encounter . . . First, you gotta move. Every tactical trainer teaches some variation of “Get off the X.” In order to move quickly while maintaining balance and control, you need to be fit. Second, it’s not all that unusual for an armed encounter to get physical, especially if your opponent gets too close with a knife or is trying to take your gun away from you. Again, balance and speed coupled with strength and technique will win the day.

My wife and I both shoot and carry, and we both workout 2 – 3 times a week. Fortunately we have a gym in our basement. Nothing fancy, just free weights for benching and curls, a treadmill, a portable stair-stepper, sit-up and floor exercises spot, and a 100 pound heavy punching bag. The more we work out, the more energy we have and the better we move.


Luke McCoy seems to neglect those of us who are handicapped. My handicap for instance is a bad foot due to 3 foot surgeries last year. If I walk more than .25 mile , I must use a cane . I do stretching exercises every day and walk as I can.