I’ve had people ask me throughout this past year to write an article on workouts for archery. I’ve put it off repeatedly, but it seems appropriate now that we are in a new year that I write this now.
Second, I want to stress that this is just a few examples. If you are serious about taking your archery to the next level, I highly encourage you to find a coach that incorporates fitness of some kind into your archery training plan. If you want to participate in archery as a sport (vs a recreational activity), then I believe you should treat it like a sport and train accordingly.
With that said, here are some archery exercises I recommend for both compound and recurve archers alike:
-I assume you all know what a plank is, but it is one of THE best exercises for archers. It takes very little time to see big improvements. I’ll let you in on a little secret here, everyone I coach does a 1 minute plank every single day. They may not be able to hold a full minute at first, but they work up to that, and I speak from experience when I say you will find you can hold the bow steadier, especially in windy conditions, by giving up just 1 minute of your day.
-Again, these are easy to do anywhere with no equipment necessary. Pushups help archers by strengthening their chest muscles, which are opposite many of the back muscles used when drawing your bow, creating better balance in your body. I highly recommend archers do pushups with their elbows out (not back, in towards body), as this puts less strain on your shoulders, which are highly involved in the act of shooting your bow.
-Another great exercise, especially if you are struggling with the mass weight of your bow, is to hold an 8-10 pound weight (start lighter if you need to) in your bow arm, with your arm straight out away from your body. If you don’t have dumbbells, feel free to take a milk jug and fill it with water, or find something else that is similar weight to your bow that you can hold out. It is important that you don’t lean while doing this, you want to maintain a nice steady balance and good posture. Hold for 30 seconds and do 3 sets of 10.
-Most recurve archers have heard of SPTs, and I am a firm believer in them. When I was making my switch from compound to recurve, the #1 piece of advice I got from top recurve archers (in the US) was to do SPTs religiously. They all said they work, but it’s easy to slack and stop doing them. They all said DON’T make the same mistake I did, keep up with them. If you aren’t familiar with SPTs, click here.
5)Draw and Hold
-A good exercise is to draw the bow, hold for 5 secs and let down. This is great for compound bc the bulk of the weight is in the draw (not holding weight), so doing this 25-50 times will really help you increase strength for drawing the bow repeatedly in a short amount of time, like you would need to do in a tournament.
Obviously there are plenty of other exercises that can help your archery, but hopefully I’ve given you enough to get started.