Archery can teach you many things about patience and concentration as well as increasing your overall mental toughness. An underrated aspect of the sport from those who have never drawn a bow is the amount of strength that is required to constantly pull it back. The easier you find it to draw back then the more control you will have over the bow and therefore the more accurate the shot.
Having great archery strength though does not just come from your arms or your shoulder or core, it comes from a mixture of everything as you have to have strong muscles throughout your body in order to be able to hold your bow with conviction. Here we look at the best workouts so you can improve that strength and therefore increase your archer skill
Core exercises for archery
Plank – The plank is one of the most simple and most feared exercises there is. It will help improve your core strength while testing you to your limits. The reason it is so feared is that it is very hard to do for a long period of time and if you’re in a crowd then you desperately don’t want to look weak.
The way it is done is by placing your forearms on the ground and placing them directly under your shoulder. Your toes need to be placed on the floor as you are stretched out with everything aligned. The only point of contact with the ground should then be your toes and your forearms.
If you’re unaware of the plank then you may think that you will be able to hold this position for a long period of time when it’s likely that you will be unable to last a minute if you have never done this before. You don’t need a gym to have great core exercises and the plank is an example of a highly effective one which will strengthen your core.
Sit-ups – Another traditional method of exercise is the sit up which is another example of a highly effective exercise technique where you don’t need any specialist equipment. This is the ultimate core builder and there are a number of ways to make this as effective as it can possibly be.
One of those ways is to keep your feet secured as you place both your hands behind your head as you lay in the sit-up position with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. When you lift yourself up you can touch your knee with the opposite elbow. Left knee with your right elbow, right knee with your left elbow and so on.
This will quickly build up your core strength. When you do a push up you want a specific routine and a reference point so that there are no shortcuts into the amount of effort that you need for one and you can great a marker to beat your own score to give you that extra bit of motivation.
Air bike – The air bike is exactly what it sounds like as you will be pretending to cycle around without actually doing any cycling. This is another simple exercise which will help give you a lot of core strength which will allow you to have that solid platform from which to help fire your arrow.
This involves lying on your back and lifting your feet into the air. When there you need to rotate your feet as you would do if you were imitating the action of riding a bike, this will not only help your core strength in your abdomen but it will also increase strength in your leg muscles as well which is important for adding overall strength.
Working your core muscles is one of the simplest ways to increase your strength. The air bike will quickly make you feel the burn and very much like the plank it’s an activity that you feel as though you could do for a long time but in reality it is an instant struggle to keep going.
Shoulder exercises archery
Shoulder press – There probably isn’t a more important muscle where archery is concerned than your muscle. Both of them work in tandem when you’re trying to draw the bow back to give you the maximum amount of power possible. The shoulder press is one of the best ways to be able to increase the strength in the muscle.
The shoulder press is the first piece of gym equipment that we have mentioned here and it’s one of the most effective you’ll find while you’re in there. The shoulder press is very similar to a bench press instead you’re on lying down and are instead sat up the whole time.
This is a lot harder than a bench press and pushing upwards from a sitting position works fewer muscles and therefore there are less to give you the power that you need. These vital shoulder muscles though are essential for archery and will have you pulling the bow back with increasing confidence.
Push-ups – They are possibly the most famous exercise of all-time and reached that status due to the fact that they work and work very well. In order to do a push up correctly you need to keep a straight form all throughout the push-up and your backside shouldn’t stick out and it shouldn’t sag either.
You have to keep your hands fully in line with your shoulder and push all the way out before lowering yourself back down and keeping your arms at roughly a 90-degree angle. This will give you a point of reference so that you know you’re doing the same push up everytime.
There are a few variations on the standard push up if you’re starting to find it too easy. Raising your feet will make it harder at you are having to push up more body weight. Once you are more advanced then you will be able to clap between push-ups and harder still you might eventually be able to do them with one hand.
Pull-ups – Pull-ups are another simple exercise but one that people find very difficult when they are doing it for the first time. As most people know this involves quite simply grabbing onto a bar and pulling yourself up. You should start fulling extended before pulling your arms back to a 90-degree angle and repeat the process as much as possible.
There is perhaps no greater workout for the shoulders than this. You should be able to find a pull-up bar in your gym and there are plenty of options to install one in your home as well. Aside from that you can do pull-ups wherever there is a bar strong enough to support your weight.
This is difficult for a reason and you shouldn’t get disheartened if you’re not able to do many straight away. Your reps will build up over time and as they do so will the draw weight that you are able to pull. Pull-ups are a vital and easy way to be able to get the shoulder muscles that you want.
Archery exercises to increase draw weight
Bicep curls – With archery having big muscles is never going to be all that important but you need to have well-developed muscles that are strong and toned. Doing plenty of reps with a medium weight will be able to give you this as you still want to be able to have that aspect of speed when you’re drawing back your bow.
Bicep curls can either be done on specific gym equipment or it can also be done with dumbbells too. A bicep curl is simply done by holding your arm out straight with a weight in your hand and pulling it back towards your shoulder. You want a weight that provides significant resistance but not too much that you’ll only be able to do a few reps.
This is one of the most well-known arm exercises and will be able to dramatically increase the power of your biceps. When you increase the power in that muscle then you will be able to increase the draw weight and fly and arrow further and faster than you ever have done.
Dumbbell exercises – Dumbbells are a great way to exercise and there are numerous different workouts that can be done with them to increase your strength. If you get a dumbbell set then you could easily do these workouts at home and increase the weights when you get more comfortable.
Just a few of the exercises you can do are a dumbbell row where you crouch over and pull the weight up towards you, a lateral shoulder raise where you hold them by the side while raising up your arms as well as using them then you do squats as well as Romanian deadlifts.
Dumbbells are a very versatile exercise tool and there are countless different routines that can be done with them. Including them as a part of your daily routine will help build up that archery strength that only free weights can.
Bench dips – These are another great way to increase your muscle mass and you don’t even have to go to the gym. All you need is a bench or something that resembles one, a sturdy side which can lift you off the ground. This can even be done one a worktop or a table if you trust your balance.
This involves placing your hands behind you so that you are gripping onto the bench and lowering yourself past your hands before pushing yourself back up again. This will give you a great level of workout for your triceps and goes well with doing bicep curls.
When done one a bench you are able to control your weight better as you would have your feet on the ground. Having your feet off the ground if you’re on something higher will increase the level of difficulty but allow you to put in more effort and increase your strength training.
Archery exercise equipment
Rowing machine – If you’re heading to the gym there are many pieces of equipment that will be able to help you build up that archery strength. There isn’t perhaps a better machine in the whole gym for working numerous muscles and building your fitness that spending time on a rowing machine.
Naturally, the act of fulling back on the rowing chain is similar to the act of pulling back the bowstring so you are working the same muscles. There are many muscles that go into that action and the rowing machine can help to work all of them from your arms to your shoulders and your back.
The rowing machine can be a difficult one to master but it can also improve your fitness too so you are less likely to get tired during your archery sessions. It’s a great machine for cardio while also improving all the key muscles groups that you need to be a great archer.
Lat pulldown – Perhaps the most underrated set of muscles when it comes to generating power from your arms is your lat muscles. They cover most of the sides of your back and are a part of your core strength and are used when you want to generate power from your whole body.
With archery that’s exactly what you are doing. You need a stable base from your legs and the rotation of your hips through a strong core will then give the shoulder and arms muscles the base they need for power. Imagine standing straight on with your legs together and trying to fire a bow forward? It wouldn’t work, your whole body goes into a shot.
The lat pulldown is a machine in a gym that has a bar above your head with the weight attached. You sit in front of this bar and pull it down behind your head until it touches the tops of your shoulders. It’s a great workout for the lat muscles which are a huge factor in your draw weight.
Cable press – Most gyms now have a cable which is attached to however many weights you want and is able to have a number of different attachments onto it. The great things about this equipment is that it is versatile and allows you to pull it in any direction that you want and in any stance.
Due to this, one of the best things you can do is stand next to it in your archery stance. You can use the cable and pull it back in the same action as you would do with a bow with a weight that offers enough resistance but still allows for you to complete the action quickly.
Conversely, you will be able to switch hands to reverse the action and push out as you would be going with your non-bow hand. The cable press will give you an exercise which mimics that of being an archer which will be able to increase your draw weight and become a better archer.
Archery strength is vital
One of the most underrated parts of archery for the uninitiated is just how energy sapping it can be. While the compound bow has helped to take away a lot of the stresses and strains of the traditional bow it still takes a lot of effort to draw it back and fire your arrow away.
Also if you are repeating the process time and time again then it’s likely that you are going to get tired. Doing specific workouts in archery is vital, especially if you’re starting out in the sport as you won’t have the muscles memory to rely on. Also if you’re the type who can only do archery seasonally then you will need to keep up your archery strength while you’re not doing the real thing. If you’ve been doing archery constantly for many years then workouts are less important but not a lot of people can do that.
These workouts will help you work out all the vital muscle groups you need. Archery isn’t about having strong arm muscles it’s about having the whole package. You need to be able to strengthen those core muscles as well as your shoulders and your arms too. When you have that strength you will be able to draw back with a bigger weight than ever before and watch that arrow fly further and faster than it ever has done.