Observations from Jess Banda, Everyday No Days Off

This Rob Pincus guy is priceless. He’s definitely added to my list of hilarious instructors. Lately, he’s been pushing “FitShot.” You know … practical stuff like jumping up on car trunks with both feet at once exposing yourself to incoming fire like a boss, suspending upside down or playing pat-a-cake with a kettlebell while shooting.

Rob Pincus attempts to defend this with, “It is JUST exercise with guns… not at all supposed to be any “simulation” or “tactical training” or any of that… just trying to encourage shooters to be more fit.”

Combining exercises with firearms training to simulate the body’s alarm response is the right idea, but their application falls short. The body’s physical responses to an immediate threat are more in line with anaerobic exercise, rather than aerobic exercise. The difference is in the intensity utilized with the exercises, not the duration of their performance. And I use the word “intensity,” in the same manner as exercise scientist…in relation to your 1 repetition maximum, that is, the most weight you can use for 1 repetition. So a squat performed for 2 repetitions close to your 1RM is a higher intensity than a squat performed for 5 repetitions with less weight. I point this out, because muscle mags incorrectly use the word to reflect the challenging nature of workouts.

While aerobic exercise can induce fatigue, it fails to produce the accelerated heart rate and tunnel vision normally encountered during life and death encounters. Yes, FitShot shooters in the video were experiencing fatigue, however, the goal should be not to seek it intentionally, but to induce such a high level of stress to the body, that it activates the “fight or flight” response.

Now, if you just want to exercise and shoot guns, then go do it. It looks like fun, I admit it. However, from a performance enhancement perspective, there is a difference between adequate and optimum. You choose.

How do you propose you achieve that on a consistent basis for range training other than doing sims or airsoft? Until there is a way to instantly achieve that fight or flight response every time you go to the range I think inducing fatigue is the next best thing.

There are specific methods for inducing the high levels of stress needed…to be exact, the heart rate must reach 180 BPM, or at least, as close to it as possible and heart rate must be reached as fast as possible…within 20-30 seconds. It requires a heavy load (relative to the person’s strength). For instance, doing tire flips with a 500-800 lb tire. The reasoning behind the 180 BPM, is that at that extreme heart rate, the body responds by releasing high levels of adrenaline…which induces the “flight/flight” response. Once the fight/flight response is activated, only then will you experience the associated tunnel vision, tremors of the extremities, etc.

The beauty of training in this manner, is that you extract greater training ability/education from every round fired. Also, by utilizing a range timer, you’ll find out where you’re weak and allows you to focus your time and rounds on improving that weakness. For instance, when your heart rate is near/at 180 BPM, does your time from drawing to first round fire increase dramatically compared to performing the draw/fire when rested? The metric I use, is anything slower than 10-15% of “normal,” must be focused on.

We’re talking about doing this at the gun range for improved weapons handling. Yes, swinging a kettelbell for 5 minutes will get the heart rate going, but it won’t be practical to do it before every firearm evolution. And also, while the heart rate will be accelerated, any time period exceeding 45-60 seconds moves into the aerobic zone, which will minimize the adrenaline surge. Yes, you’ll be fatigued, but not in the flight/flight stage.

So, in order to make it practical for the gun range, where you don’t want to be spending the majority of your time exercising, the weight needs to be near maximal and must recruit the majority of muscle groups (full body lifts).

And when you think about it, using a large 600 lb tire (I use 6 different exercise implements) is cheaper than buying barbells, kettlebells and weights to beat on at the range. Tire reclamation centers will let you take all the tires you want free.

Jess Banda