Archery is a sport that still remains popular in the United States and other areas of the world. Among those older than 18 years in the US, about 8% have participated in archery before, with approximately 2.8% of the population frequently participating in these events.
Those who are new to archery will often find that the sport is more challenging than what they first anticipated. You need strength in your upper body if you want to get a great shot every time. Even when you are equipped with the best archery equipment and clothing, upper body and arm strength still play a critical role in your performance.
There are several exercises for archery that you can utilize to get stronger muscles in your upper body. When you frequently participate in these exercises, keeping a stable aim during a shot becomes easier. You will also find that your overall performance during archery lessons and even competitions will greatly improve.
We will take a look at the most important exercises for archery that you should be practicing on a regular basis to help strengthen your muscles and improve your performance.
The Best Exercises For Archery
With archery, a lot of people tend to only focus on exercises that help to build better strength in their arms. The problem is, you need to work on other muscles as well in order to get better upper body strength for an improved shot – and to reduce the risk of feeling shaky while holding the bow in your hands.
We will share some of the most important exercises for archery that you need to do. These will work on a variety of muscle groups – all essential to helping you perform better during a session of archery.
One Arm Row
A great exercise to start with would be the one-arm row. This exercise is sometimes also called the one-arm dumbbell row. The primary reason why it is such a great option is that it mimics a very similar action to what you take when you make a shot during archery.
The one-arm row exercise will mainly focus on strengthening your back. Many people who participate in archery do not realize just how important a strong back is. Stronger back muscles will add improved stability to your stance and will make it much easier for you to control your shots more effectively.
Some of the benefits you get with the one-arm row exercise include:
- Improved strength in the back muscles
- The exercise works on most of the muscles that you use during archery
- It is an easy exercise to perform and does not put significant strain on your body
- You only need a flat surface and a dumbbell or other training object that adds weight to do this exercise.
There is no doubt that your shoulder muscles play a critical part in allowing you to be in control of your shot, while also supporting your arms while holding the bow in your hand. With this in mind, never overlook the importance of a few pull-ups in your strength training regime.
This can be an exercise that poses as somewhat of a challenge, especially to those who do not have a lot of strength in their upper body yet. If this is the case, start little – with chin-ups – and later progress to full pull-ups.
The benefits you get when implementing pull-ups in your exercise for archery routine include:
- An exercise that works on the majority of the muscle groups in your upper body
- An emphasis is placed on strengthening your shoulder muscles
- Also works on biceps and chest muscles, and may strengthen your back at the same time
A bicep curl should be something that most people are familiar with. Any type of exercise routine that focuses on building strength will usually have this type of activity included. The exercise is really simple, and you only need a dumbbell or weight system to do the activity.
The primary focus of the bicep curl is to help pump up the muscles in your biceps and give you greater strength in your arms.
Benefits you should expect with a bicep curl include:
- Starting slow and with a lower weight will not cause excessive muscle soreness
- You work on muscles that play a critical role in helping you hold your bow stable during a shot
- Your bicep strength increases significantly with these exercises
- You will find that your shoulder muscles also become larger and stronger
Everyone knows what a push up is – but did you know that this type of activity could be exceptionally useful for increasing your strength as part of an exercise routine for archery?
A push up uses your body’s own weight as resistance in order to work on muscle groups that primarily include your chest and shoulders – some of the most important muscles that you use when participating in an archery match.
Making push-ups part of your regular routine will provide you with these potential benefits:
- While push-ups might feel hard to do at first, do not give up – they quickly build up strength and become easy relatively fast
- You do not need any type of gym or exercise equipment to do this exercise – in fact; you can do push-ups almost anywhere
- You get to improve the size and strength of muscles in your chest and shoulders, both contributing to better stability during archery
- Your biceps and arm muscles will also get a good workout in order to help you be in control of your shot
The dumbbell shrug mainly focuses on giving you stronger back muscles. As we already explained, a strong back equals more control of your shot during a game of archery. The middle back is the primary focus of the dumbbell shrug, but you will find that the area between the two shoulder blades also gets a good workout with this exercise.
Benefits that archers can expect to experience by incorporating dumbbell shrugs into their strength training program may include:
- Stronger back, which leads to the archer being in much better control when they are preparing a shot
- The shoulder muscles also get a workout at the same time, which is essential for improving stability while the archer holds their bow
- The exercise is relatively simple to do and does not cause a significant amount of strain, even though it requires the use of dumbbells
Another excellent activity to participate in for better strength as an archer would be to use the rowing machine at the gym. This would generally require you to visit a gym, as buying a rowing machine for use at home can be quite pricey. A rowing machine helps to target multiple muscle groups in your body – but it does put quite an emphasis on giving you more strength in your arms and biceps, as well as your shoulders.
How To Gain Strength For Archery?
Gaining strength for archery is not just about doing the right exercises. There are more factors that you have to take into consideration if you wish to gain an advantage while performing – whether that is simply during a practice round or as part of a competition.
One of the first things to note is that strength training alone is not sufficient. You need to keep your body fit. Even though archery does not involve running on a track or other significant movements where you need agility, incorporating some cardio exercises into your training program can definitely be beneficial.
You do not need to perform intense cardio exercises. If you push yourself too hard with cardio, you might find that it contributes to muscle soreness – which will have a negative impact on your performance during an archery session.
Instead, focus on some lower intensity cardio exercises. You could even just go for a brisk walk every day. That will get your heart pumping and the blood flowing, without causing problems with muscle soreness and reducing your ability to perform well during your strength training regime. Swimming is yet another great cardio exercise that benefits various muscle groups in your body.
The Perfect Pace For Strength Training
When you participate in strength training exercises for archery that specifically focuses on your upper body muscles, you need to understand what the best place would be for maximizing the benefits. While some people might want to start off with intense strength training protocols, with the idea of building strength faster, this could actually do more harm.
You do not want to end up at the archery track with sore and stiff muscles that have been overworked.
Instead, focus on a slower pace with your strength training program. This way, you can gradually build up strength, while also helping to reduce your risk of strains and causing damage to your muscles.
When you first start out with your strength training program, then you need to take things extra slow. You will first need to get used to a lower weight when lifting weights, for example. You can then gradually build up to a higher weight as you progress, and your muscles grow stronger.
The same goes for other activities. Start with fewer reps and take more frequent breaks. As you get stronger, you can gradually increase your reps and lessen the time taken to rest your muscles between different activities.
Warming Up And Cooling Down
Strength training for archery can put a lot of strain on your muscles. If you simply start to implement the activities that form part of your program without first stretching your muscles and warming up, then you are putting yourself at risk of injury.
Warm-up activities do not have to take up a significant amount of your time. Start with a few stretches. These will help to loosen stiff muscles, which may not only reduce your risk of damaging muscles during strength training but may also help to improve your overall endurance.
After you have participated in a strength training routine, be sure to take a moment to cool down. Rest for a bit, and then do a couple of stretches. You will notice that this strategy may help to reduce muscle soreness and could even improve recovery times.
Add The Right Nutrition To Your Program
A lot of people who are only entering the sport of archery will consider strength training the most important tool for boosting their performance during competitions and training sessions. Unfortunately, this often means forgetting just how important nutrition is.
With a proper diet and adequate amounts of essential nutrients, including protein, healthy fats, minerals, and vitamins added to your diet, you can expect a significant improvement in your performance. Your sessions at the gym during strength training programs will become easier. You will find that your muscles are not as sore after each training session. Plus, you will also notice a much faster rate of increasing muscle strength for archery.
Take Some Time To Rest
When you notice that your strength is not on par with your competitors during a game of archery, you might want to push yourself to the limit. When you push yourself too far during strength training programs, you will not benefit from this technique. Instead, you will increase your risk of muscle strains and possible even cause yourself to suffer an injury.
Make sure to take some time off. Decide on specific days of the week when you will be participating in your strength training routine. Then also dedicate a couple of days for a resting period. Resting is important to allow your muscles to heal properly after an intense workout and will reduce the risk of overworked muscles – which will not be good for you when you are trying to get the perfect hit during a game of archery.
While archery can be an exciting sport to participate in, without adequate upper body strength, you could find yourself at the losing point of the competition. You need to focus on performing the right exercises to ensure you are able to improve your upper body strength. This, in turn, makes holding your bow easier and leads to a much better aim. We offered some excellent tips to help improve your strength, as well as some useful exercises for archery.
Andy Ryan is an archery enthusiast who has been practising hunting and target shooting as long as he can remember. He is known for his accurate groupings and humming laughter. His texts are packed with experiences and knowledge about the archery sport that few obtain.