Increasing your strength to comfortably draw your bow will also sharpen your accuracy and make archery more fun. Building strength can seem intimidating, but some simple in-home exercises with minimal equipment can pay dividends. Start with sets of six and increase to 12 or more.
The strength-building power of push-ups has stood the test of time. They require no equipment, while increasing range of motion, and strengthening core, back and shoulder muscles. All those benefits play integral roles in drawing a bow.
- Lie face-down on the floor with your feet together and hands shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your back straight and push your body slowly upward until your arms are fully extended.
- Slowly lower your chest to within an inch of the floor, and then push upward again.
The latissimus dorsi is the upper body’s largest muscle, and pull-ups are the best exercise to strengthen it. This muscle is used throughout the bow-drawing process, making it a critical component of increasing your draw weight. Most retail stores sell pull-up bars that conveniently mount inside a doorway.
- With your feet on the floor, extend your arms and grab the pull-up bar.
- Lift your feet and pull your chin over the bar in a controlled motion.
- Slowly extend your arms and repeat.
After you’re comfortable with basic pull-ups, try isolating different muscle groups by alternately pulling your chin to your right and left hands. You can also experiment with different grip positions to strengthen your forearms.
Bent-Over Dumbbell Raise
Dumbbells are affordable and require little space, making them useful for exercising at home. Bent-over dumbbell raises strengthen your deltoids and upper back by isolating select muscle groups.
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees.
- Bend at the waist so your spine remains straight, but your line of sight aligns with the floor.
- Pinch your shoulder blades together and raise both arms, extending your wingspan to its widest point and perpendicular to your body.
- Slowly return your arms to the starting position and repeat.
Standing Dumbbell Fly
The standing dumbbell fly promotes range of motion in your shoulders while strengthening your deltoids and back.
- Stand with a dumbbell in each hand.
- Raise your arms in unison until they’re parallel to the floor.
- Slowly return your arms to the resting position.
Band Lateral Raise
The resistance band is a useful, affordable tool that’s great for home workouts. Resistance bands make countless exercises possible, and let you replicate the bow’s draw cycle without let-off. You’ll need two bands for this exercise.
- Hold a band in each hand, and step on their opposite ends with your feet to form an “X.”
- Create resistance on the bands by raising your arms and stretching them until they’re parallel to the floor.
- While maintaining resistance, slowly decompress until your arms reach the relaxed position.
Getting started on a strength-building workout regimen can seem daunting, but start light and set attainable goals. Rather than setting a long-term goal of increasing your draw weight by 20 pounds, set multiple small goals of 3- to 5-pound increases. You’ll grow accustomed to your new lifestyle and ultimately enjoy longer hours practicing with your bow and arrows.