Your shotgun is going to weigh about eight pounds. Doesn’t sound heavy, but about mid-way through a round of sporting clays you could find your performance suffers from the constant lifting. That’s why we advocate doing a bit of muscle toning with your shotgun (of course while it’s unloaded).
There’s something called the flashlight exercise that’s been around the shotgun sports for a while. It involves inserting a thin flashlight into the muzzle (but not so thin that is slides down the barrel, just so it peeks out the muzzle) and practicing your mount and swing, by following a seam in the ceiling with the beam as you swing. While this will improve your focus and mechanics, the exercise also strengthens the muscles in your shoulders, arms and hands for better control. A few minutes per week will certainly help.
Deborah McKown is the Editor of Shotgun Life, an NSCA Level I instructor and an NRA Certified Shotgun Instructor. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.