One thing many don't think about before they purchase their first bow or go practice at a field with a rental or borrowed bow is the amount of strength and endurance needed. Many on their first trip to the range will not be able to fire as many arrows as they want as they slowly become achy ad sore.
Do you have to be strong to do archery? While not requiring body builder style muscles archery in general does use a lot of physical power to be done. You need to have the ability to pull the draw back and hold it until the perfect time to fire which requires high levels of endurance also which is why you should focus on SPTs.
Now that we understand the issue with the human body and the needs of archery, how can you help yourself to perform better? Lets dive into some good thoughts and ideas on working on your strength and conditioning in relation to bow use.
Which Exercises Strengthen Archery Muscles?
When looking to raise your overall ceiling of strength and endurance you can focus on three sections of your body for effective returns. The three we are going to speak on are upper body, core, cardio and SPT exercises. Each of them can help play a roll in overall performance when you are out shooting your bow.
Upper Body Exercises
As archers you should focus on training the arms by strengthening the biceps, triceps and wrists. This strength helps you to hold the bow continuously without impact for hours of practice or tournament firing without tiring and having shots become sloppy.
The core is at the middle of the body and is used in almost any and all movement a person does in their life, let alone sport. As with any workout program you should always focus on your core as they are one of the sole muscle groups that can be trained most frequently.
Focus workouts on core and leg strength. Some basics can including squats, planks, deadlifts and Romanian deadlifts. Arms mean little when firing 1000s of arrows a day versus core and base.
One overlooked aspect of training for archery is to work on your overall cardio level as it pays dividends in spades! Normally adrenaline from firing can overpower you and give you a super fast heart rate, a good cardio system will limit this spike and make you more relaxed and ready to fire your shot. Don't skip your cardio days, they pay off second to SPT.
SPT ( Specific Physical Training )
This training style was developed by a coach from the US Olympic team for their archery program. The SPT exercises are typically performed with a bow but you could utilize other devices that mimic a bow, like resistance bands.
What a SPT does is help train you in actual bow skills instead of just in general physical strength. What you do, at the very core, is draw the bow back and hold at full draw for 15-30 seconds. After this timer you relax and rest for double the time that you held at tension.
So if you were to hold the bow for 15 seconds you would then rest for 30 seconds and then repeat. You continue to do this practice for 30 minutes to an hour depending on your needs. If you were to do this for an hour is would equate out to about 250 arrow being shot.
For your safety and others around you, when you do an SPT with a standard bow you want to stand in front of a target with an arrow loaded. This way should you accidentally perform a dry-fire, you have less chance of damaging your bow.
Check out the SPT Handbook here
Building your strength will only enhance your skills as an archer as the increase will allow for better control and management of the bow. Even when short of time most of the exercises can be done with body weight only allowing you to work out anytime and anywhere.
Remember that archery specific exercises will help you draw a bow more efficiently and easily while also building your stability and body control necessary for proper form.
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