Hands up if you're wanting to get better at Fortnite Battle Royale in Chapter 4?
You might be new to the game and looking for some Fortnite gameplay tips, or you might already be pretty good and just want to get better again.
As one of the 350 million registered players searching for yet another Victory Royale, you might find yourself in a bit of a paradox. To get better at the game, you need to play a lot. However, the more you play, the more it might come at a cost to you physically, mentally, socially, and even financially. And this potentially goes to a whole new level if you're striving to conquer the Fortnite Competitive Series (FNCS) or even the next Fortnite World Cup (whenever that might be).
The longer the grind, the more hours you're stuck in a chair. More gameplay means more exposure to high-stress situations, potentially more sleep deprivation, more exposure to blue light, less time for proper nutrition and hydration, etc. All can be an obvious consequence of grinding hard no doubt, but it may also set you up for neck pain and stiffness, back pain, headaches, repetitive strain injuries to the wrists, hands, and fingers, and uncontrolled stress at the same time.
Further to this, a recent study has shown that eSports competitors have a higher fat percentage, less lean muscle mass, and lower bone mineral density than non-eSports competitors.
But what's important to understand here is it's not about making you feel bad about the time you're dedicating to getting better at Fortnite, but to highlight the potential for these physical and mental handbrakes to limit the boundaries of your performance in-game - the one thing you're trying to so hard improve.
Yes, you may already dominate most 1v1’s and have a fantastic K:D ratio, but how good should you actually be? What is your true gaming potential in a world where all these mental and physical handbrakes are released?
Similarly, consider the best round or moment you’ve ever had playing Fortnite Battle Royale. Why aren't you that good all the time? In fact, why aren't you better than that?
Where are your unnecessary handbrakes to consistent, peak Fortnite gameplay?
Let's see if we can find and address a few of these!
A Lot of People Play Fortnite, So What Sets You Apart?
Before we get into some mental and physical tips to be better in Fortnite, we need some perspective as to why you might need an edge.
E-sports is big business these days. The pros can earn millions of dollars a year from prize money and endorsements, but everyone still has to put in the hours.
The first-ever Fortnite World Cup Champion - then 16-year-old Kyle 'Bugha' Giersdorf, took home a cool $3,000,000 for his dominance on the day. All he had to do was outperform 40,000,000 competitors online back in 2019. Simple, right?
Well, considering more than 350,000,000 people have registered to play Fortnite, the odds are that you aren't the only one still working hard to get better at the game.
As consumers, a report entitled "The State Of Online Gaming" noted that those who play recreationally average more than 7 hours of gameplay a week. Interestingly, a survey of Fortnite gameplay found 50% of its participants played between 6-15 hours a week.
So we need to ask whether just playing the game is enough to get ahead of the pack. Not everyone has the capacity to grind for 10-12 hours a day.
How to Get Better at Fortnite Battle Royale - Beyond Playing
Now, this may sound strange, but if you’re a Fortnite professional, Twitch streamer, YouTube content creator, hardcore amateur, recreational player, or just looking for something to do when you're bored - consider yourself an athlete. Or at least begin to think like one.
Perhaps not in the traditional sense of running fast or lifting heavy, but you’re still leveraging the function of your body to achieve your goals. Talk to any competitive athlete and you’ll appreciate the need to do more than monotonously practice your skills. There's a need to prioritize the overall health, wellness, and function of your body so that you can best express yourself when needed.
If you saw the Fortnite World Cup back in 2019 you'll have seen some seriously elite gameplay. Things that may even pale in comparison now when compared to gameplay in 2022. There were insanely quick edits, reactionary offensive and defensive builds, precision tracking and shooting, split-second decision-making, clinical composure under pressure, and on-the-fly strategy. Ultimately, this speaks to some truly elite mental and physical output.
With this in mind, the following are competitive tips to not only help you better withstand the physical and mental rigors of Fortnite Battle Royale but also help explore the boundaries of your athletic gaming potential.
Make Your Fortnite Setup Ergonomically Sound
This isn't groundbreaking but needs constant reinforcement. I'd classify this as the lowest of low-hanging fruit, but easily one of the most important.
Whether you play Fortnite on a console or PC, you must make sure you’re in the best position possible. If you don't respect your anatomy and physiology long-term, how can you expect it to perform at its best?
An elite ergonomic setup is crucial for anyone suffering from any neck and back pain, headaches, shoulder pain, shoulder blade pain, trigger points, etc.
From a performance perspective, everything functions better in a good position. There’s a reason the best runners move the same, and the best lifters lift the same. You can still dominate the competition from a bad shape if you’re talented enough, but you’ll never be the best version of yourself at the same time. Poor postures and shapes ultimately put a hidden “cap” on your peak performance.
How To Find Your Best Position
Once you've adopted good posture support yourself with pillows, rolled-up towels, or cushions to make it easier. Don't be discouraged if it feels weird initially, persist until your body loosens and re-strengthens.
If you’re at your PC, everything needs to fit around the above shape. Your screen should be at eye level and your elbows should be at your side and resting on the desk. Your mouse and keyboard should not drag your elbows away from your side. Have the chair as high or as low as you feel best supports this boring shape.
As for the console, be aware of how easy it can be to sit hunched forward with your elbows on your knees. Do what you can to establish a more upright, shoulders-back shape. Consider rolling up another towel and placing it on your lower back for support.
The point here is that you need to consider moving heaven and earth to protect good body shapes. Your body will function better in-game and it’ll also best protect you from a host of unnecessary aches and pains down the track. Better yet...
Stand Up to Play Fortnite
There’s a lot of information coming out about the benefits of standing over sitting. The reality is that standing trumps sitting in almost every conceivable way when talking about optimal body function and overall wellness.
From my work as a Physiotherapist, I can tell you that sitting for long periods is a great way to accrue stiffness through a lack of movement. The neck, upper back, shoulders, lower back, and hips are again all at constant risk of dysfunction.
Sitting increases your risk of heart disease, and makes you more likely to adopt poor breathing patterns, and be more stressed. So if you need to do something for a long period of time - try standing up.
The physical benefits of standing may not get you your next Fortnite Victory Royale, but the mental benefits might.
Clinically, standing has been shown to improve your ability to think and pay attention, make decisions, handle stress, battle mental fatigue, improve your mood, and increase productivity and concentration among many others.
In short, your ability to think clearly and process information may improve as well as your ability to handle stress and mental fatigue.
Now does any of that sound useful for an online battle of life or death?
This works a treat for those on Xbox or Playstation as you have more natural freedom to move around than PC, but a standing desk or tabletop converter may just be the ticket to improving your Fortnite gameplay.
Practice Deep Breathing
Despite breathing for your entire life, how often do you consciously attend to it? It sounds insane but deep breathing is perhaps the single fastest and best way to enhance performance and overall health.
Constant sitting directs us to take more shallow, upper-chest breaths instead of the deeper diaphragmatic ones. The body associates upper chest breathing with highly stressed or fatigued physiological states.
These effects compound when subjected to high-stress gaming. 1 vs 1 anyone?
Thanks to the work of gurus like Wim Hof, the medical industry is now beginning to understand just how powerful simple deep breathing can be in controlling your physiology.
Clinically, it can be used to great effect for things like managing regular and chronic pain, and anger, and helping the healing and recovery processes. More interestingly, this can be particularly useful for Fortnite gameplay.
We can use it to better tolerate and regulate stress, handle nervousness, improve focus and decision-making, and improve sleep - things vital for consistent high-level Fortnite gameplay.
If you get that sudden rush of blood mid-build-battle, you can breathe your way back to a more focused state. If you're victorious, you can be instantly prepared for the next one.
Not only is deep breathing brilliant for real-time Fortnite gameplay, but it can also work pre-round to better prepare you for that inevitable adrenaline spike in-game. It’s far better to go from a 2/10 to a 6/10 and maintain a more level head than to go from a 6/10 to 12/10 and panic or choke.
This pattern cues your body into regressing from the shallow, faster breathing associated with a heightened nervous system to a more mellow, relaxed, state. Tinker with the numbers to suit yourself, but after a few cycles, you should start to feel your body legitimately shift down a gear or two.
The Wim Hof Breathing Method:
The idea is to deep breathe a bunch to supercharge your body with oxygen and then fully exhale and hold it for as long as you can. It’s brilliant because once you’re brimming with oxygen you just focus on relaxing during the exhale hold. In no time you’ll feel at ease and out of that heightened physiological state. It won’t disappoint.
Enjoy A Cold Shower
For those looking to optimize your sleep and stress regulation, consider integrating more cold exposure into your day. This could be as simple as a cold shower or as adventurous as an ice bath.
Furthermore, the cold can strengthen your immune system which could be under threat if gaming compromises your diet, sleep, and stress levels.
Thankfully, you don’t have to throw yourself straight into an icy shower in the middle of winter. The best way to acclimatize to them is as follows:
It may sound weird, but consider having one post-Fortnite before getting in bed. It’ll definitely re-invigorate you. Much like an athlete’s ice bath, cold showers are an effective way to “reset” your nervous system and prepare you for that all-important sleep.
Give this a go for a few days and I challenge you to not feel better for it. Let me know in the comments below.
Equip A Blue-Light Filter
Our reliance on technology has many hidden consequences, one of which has to do with blue light. Emitted by the screens of our PCs, TVs, laptops, and phones, it can be disastrous for our sleep.
Our body relies in part on changes to outside light, Circadian Rhythm, and the chemical Melatonin to regulate our sleep. Blue-light plays havoc with this.
By staring at your screen past sundown, you are effectively telling your body it’s still daytime. To then immediately try and drift off to sleep can be hard. This is why a blue-light filter is so important to consider.
It's important to mention that a blue-light filter won't immediately improve your chances of getting yet another Victory Royale. Probably the opposite actually.
Filtering the light will affect Fortnite’s brilliant color scheme and make identifying enemies, editing, and recording a little trickier. But 100% prioritize this on any device you use outside of Fortnite.
Unless you play solely on mobile (again, oof), you’d be silly not to test this out for yourself. It's an easy boost to your sleep quality and gaming performance.
Protect Your Sleep
Highlighted by a few tips already, the importance of sleep is still so criminally underrated.
We spend approximately one-third of our lives asleep, yet how often do you consider your sleep habits? How much do you value them?
The consequences of poor sleep are generally well-known. You can’t expect to be at your best if you're not sleeping the best. Your Fortnite gameplay can’t be on-point if your sleep isn’t.
Obviously better sleep will instantly improve your gameplay but how can you make that happen when Fortnite can easily bleed beyond reasonable bedtime hours?
Consider pairing your shiny new blue-light filter with some black-out curtains and a sexy Fortnite eye mask (it's a thing).
There’s evidence that any light source can trick your body into thinking it’s time to be more awake. An eye mask is an obvious fix, but did you know that your skin is one of the body's most light-sensitive organs?
You may have your eyes closed, but your skin may still detect that hallway or alarm clock light. Ever had an amazing night's sleep when staying in a hotel? There's a good chance they had some heavy-duty blackout curtains. Try your best to replicate it at home.
Pair these tips with a cold shower and some deep breathing for a good quality sleep. This will also help optimize the next day's Fortnite gameplay as well.
Eat Real Food
This sounds obvious, but sometimes it just needs to be said - eat real food.
The human body is a machine fueled by actual food. If your food is processed it’s likely not the optimal fuel for long hours of solo squads.
If your car takes unleaded fuel, don't keep forcing it to guzzle down diesel and expect it to perform at its best. Make no mistake, the body does a great job buffering poor food choices. But you can’t be the best version of yourself mentally or physically if you're existing on 2-minute noodles and energy bars.
Generally, if it doesn’t rot or comes in a package it’s probably compromised.
Obviously do your research and go speak to a professional before making any drastic changes. But work out what you can do to optimize the foods you’re eating to better fuel the machine you use to play Fortnite.
It’s obvious too, right? Similar to good food and posture, sometimes we just need a reminder.
In this instance, the body needs basic fluids to function best. How much water are you actually drinking each day?
The tricky thing here is that most don’t drink to rehydrate, we drink for taste and “energy”. Sure a coffee has its performance benefits, but if you need one each morning to help you recover from all that restful sleep, then what’s really going on?
Similarly, reconsider any reliance on energy drinks, sports drinks, and soft drinks (soda) for fuel. Again you may drink them for a specific reason, but what are you compensating for? Would they still exist with improved sleep and better nutrition?
In terms of dehydration, we know it can suck the life out of your mental and physical function - completely unnecessarily. Even mild dehydration has been linked with poorer cognition, fatigue, and greater stress.
I go on about this a lot, but the brilliant Stacy Simms of Osmo Nutrition recommends adding a pinch of good-quality rock salt to your water to aid in absorption. It’s a little known fact that just pounding down the water alone doesn’t necessarily mean your body's absorbing it.
Proper hydration can be a simple way to keep your mind and reflexes sharp long into the umpteenth final circle of the evening.
Much like real food and water, we don't have to overthink this one either do we?
The benefits are obvious but think of it this way - the body is wired for movement. It’s designed to be used in its entirety. If not used regularly it can become rusty and sloppy.
Fortnite gameplay exercises a lot of higher mental function and hand movement, but the rest of your body needs some love as well.
Clearly, it’s hard to exercise while playing Fortnite, so try to strike a healthy balance instead. Routinely hit the gym, engage in sports, or just go for a walk.
If that’s genuinely hard to stick to, consider making the rest of your life more movement rich as well.
Walk instead of driving, stand if you don't have to sit, park further away, and use the stairs instead of the elevator. Why not get up and move between rounds? Bust out a few pushups, squats or your favorite Fortnite emote to keep you fresh.
The more you move the more you'll offset Fortnite's sedentary nature. More importantly, you’ll be able to leverage this into better mental and physical performance.
Mobilize Your Forearms
Similarly, consider doing some mobility work on your forearms. Many aren't aware that the muscles which control your hands and fingers reside here.
Hours online can leave these tissues stiff and tight from constant use and poor posture. And tighter forearms lead to less responsive hands, wrists and fingers.
Imagine working through those quick builds and edits with a handbrake on. Smoothing out these tissues can give you a boost in power, endurance, and control.
Take a lacrosse ball and use it to gently press into your forearms. Move it around until you find some stiff and tender areas and go hunting all the way around. Traditionally the upper third of the front and back will need attention.
Alternatively, go through some basic wrist and forearm stretches. Keep your elbow straight and bend your wrist forward or backward to find your best stretch. While under tension, gently try and tense up any tight areas for a faster release.
Look After Your Neck
This one is very sneaky. Did you know that your hand and finger function is controlled by the nerves at the base of your neck?
Furthermore, guess which other areas of the body are constantly overloaded when gaming in poor postures?
Clinically, the majority of non-traumatic hand, finger, wrist, and forearm dysfunction has strong links to the neck.
Even simple neck stiffness can lead to a decrease in hand strength, motor control, precision, and fine motor function.
In short, it can make your fingers and hands weaker and more sluggish. Not good for when things inevitably get sweaty in-game.
To see what I mean, try this:
Practice some quick builds and edits, test out your aim or just go play. Get a sense of how those fingers are moving and how things feel.
Next, take another lacrosse ball to your neck and upper back as per the video below. Go hunting for any stiffness and tightness. Let the ball gently press in until you feel like things free up. Then re-test what’s important. There’s usually an immediate uptick in function once the neck is working a bit better.
With this in mind keep an eye on your posture and ergonomics as mentioned before. If you can, you’ll be ahead of the lobby in more ways than one.
Strengthen Your Hands, Fingers, and Forearms
Much like removing unnecessary tightness and stiffness from your forearms, actively seeking greater strength and endurance can boost your technical proficiency.
Relentlessly using your hands, fingers, and forearms during Fortnite will improve your strength, endurance, and skill but using resistance can take things to another level.
Here are some simple areas to target:
Take a thick rubber band and hook it around your thumb and another finger. Practice separating those fingers until fatigued. Now move the band to the next finger and so on.
Similarly, look at getting a theraband. Hold on to one end and use it to resist wrist extension until fatigued.
In the same manner, as the above wrist extension exercise, use a theraband to resist wrist flexion. Work until you feel those forearms fatigue.
Improving your grip strength is as simple as grabbing a fist full of bath towels and squeezing - a lot. Much like the rest, make sure you feel some really strong fatigue so your body knows it needs to come back stronger.
These simple exercises also make for a great pre-Fortnite warm-up.
If you want to get better at Fortnite, look beyond just playing the game a lot.
There are a number of simple, peripheral ideas to consider. Ideas that can not only lead to better Fortnite gameplay but help you withstand any long-term ill-effects of a gaming lifestyle.
The pillars of better Fortnite gameplay are the same as any devoted athlete. Protect your sleep and fuel your body effectively. Learn to manage your stress and your body’s ability to cope with it. Move and use your body at every opportunity and work to make it stronger and more mobile.
By all means, go HAM at the game, you have every right to - it’s a really cool game. But if you want to get better at Fortnite Battle Royal in Season 1 of Chapter 4, or strive to top the competitive Fortnite circuit, make sure there’s a balance to the rest of your life.
If you have a choice between sitting inside, in front of your blue-light emitting screen, getting super stressed and pounding the energy drinks and junk food, or going outside - clearly choose the latter. Your body will thank you for it.
But if you’re an adult making adult choices, or a youngster having them made for you, then make the most of it. Strive to be the best version of yourself, not just the best. You deserve to.
We know that life often gets in the way of being a “perfect” human and that’s ok. But be aware that a healthier you is a better you. And a better you is better prepared to emote on the corpses of your enemies.
What are you doing to get better at Fortnite? Let me know in the comments below.
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