How to Strengthen Muscles to Draw a Bow

How to Strengthen Muscles to Draw a Bow

Warming up for any sport is crucial. It helps you to get mentally and physically ready for the effort that is going to follow. This is true for every sport, including archery. This is why every archer is probably asking about how to strengthen muscles to draw a bow.

Before you grab your bow and arrow, you must get yourself acquainted with your equipment’s weight and feel. You should also train your muscles to handle this load, so you can control and maneuver your bow accurately while aiming at your target.

In this article, we’ll discuss the most useful warm-up activities. We’ll also highlight the importance of mental and physical exercise as you work on your performance as an aspiring archer.

Why Should You Warm Up Before Carrying your Bow and Arrow?

You shouldn’t attempt to aim at your target and shoot your arrow before getting your muscles warmed up. This will drive the blood to your upper body muscles to prevent painful injuries.

Archery uses the muscles in the arms, hands, back, shoulders, and shoulder blades. Without warming up, you will end up with bruises that might put you away from the field for a long time.

After practicing in an intense shooting session, you should also allow your muscles to cool down. This will help you recover, so you won’t struggle with aching muscles when you go home.

Here are some of the benefits of warming up before using your bow and arrow.

  • Doing these exercises will get your muscles moving after you’ve been in a resting state.
  • They increase your muscles and tendons’ strength, so you can decrease the risk of painful injuries.
  • They get you in the mood and prepare you mentally and emotionally for the activity ahead.
  • Exercising will help you relax. Less experienced archers are going to feel less tense after warming up so they can focus on their target. Even if you’re a seasoned archer, they will help release the tension.
  • If you’re practicing archery with a group of fellow archers, these warm-up exercises will help ease the social tension. They’re fun and will allow you to engage with people who share the same interests.

running warm up

Best Warm-Up Exercises for Archery

This is an essential and easy routine that will get your muscles and tendons warmed up for the upcoming activity. Anyone, regardless of their fitness level, can do these simple yet potent exercises. Moreover, you don’t need any fancy equipment to warm up.

1.   Circles

This is an easy exercise to start with because you won’t need any kind of preparation. It targets your arm muscles.

  • Do the standard stance.
  • Hold your arms straight, parallel to your shoulders.
  • Make sure that your arms form a 90 degrees angle with your torso.
  • Start by moving your arms to make circles. Make 10 repetitions.
  • Increase the diameter of the circle. Make 10 repetitions.
  • Now repeat the exercise by rotating your arms in the opposite direction.

2.   Arm Scissors

This is another simple exercise that targets the shoulder muscles.

  • Start with the same standard stance. Extend your arms until they’re parallel to the ground, just like the previous exercise.
  • Rotate your arms until they cross in front of you like scissors. Make sure that you don’t flex them until one of them is on top of the other.
  • Return to the initial position.
  • Repeat the movement using the other arm.
  • Repeat this exercise up to 20 times.

3.   Shoulder Across Body

This exercise stretches your deltoids that you’re going to overuse when you’re practicing archery.

  • Start with the standard stance.
  • Extend one of your arms in front of you, then bring it across your body.
  • Hug your extended arm with the opposite one until you feel a good stretch.
  • Repeat the movement with the other arm.
  • Make 10 repetitions.

4.   Swings

In this exercise, you will swing your arms back and forth. It helps warm up the shoulder, back, and waist muscles. You will do lower and upper swings.

  • Start with the standard stance.
  • Keep your arms at shoulder level.
  • Raise one of your arms in front of your body, while raising the other one behind your back.
  • Rotate your arms to switch their position while forming half a circle.
  • Make 10 repetitions.
  • Raise your hands up.
  • Swing your arms back and forth.
  • Make 10 repetitions.

5.   Waist Twists

Twisting your waist or core gives you more flexibility as you work with your bow and arrow. Relaxing your torso and having the proper back tension will help you aim accurately at your target. It also helps release the tension that you’re likely to experience before holding the bow and arrow.

  • Stand with your legs spread at shoulder width.
  • Hold your waist with both hands.
  • Keep your feet on the ground.
  • Twist your waist to one side then return to the initial position.
  • Twist your waist to the other side.
  • Repeat for 10 times.
  • Now extend your arms to make them parallel to the ground.
  • Keep your arms at shoulder level.
  • Twist your waist in the same way.
  • Repeat for 10 times.

Physical Exercises to Become a Better Archer

The following exercises are more complicated. They’re designed to work the muscles that you will be using as you hold your bow and aim your arrow repeatedly.

1.   Bow Draw

This exercise mimics the actual movement of drawing the bow as you aim towards your target. Regular practice helps you identify the most accurate position that allows you to aim successfully.

You will need an elastic band to do this exercise. You shouldn’t attempt to do this exercise using an actual bow and arrow, because you will be dry firing.

  • Start with a standard stance.
  • Make sure that your back is straight.
  • Grab an elastic band with one hand and move the other hand until it reaches the other side of the band.
  • Keep the bow hand straight and pull the band using the other hand, until you bring it to your face.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds.
  • Move your hands slowly as if you’re undrawing the bow.
  • Exchange the role of your hands.
  • Make 15 repetitions.

2.   Arm Rising

This exercise resembles the movement you do when you’re raising the bow. You will need the same elastic band to finish this exercise.

  • Start with the standard stance.
  • Keep your arms to your side.
  • Stand on the elastic band with one foot and grab the other end with your hand,
  • Keep your back straight and raise your arm until the shoulder level.
  • Lower your arm to relax your muscles.
  • Make 15 repetitions.
  • Now move the band to the other side and repeat the same exercise.
  • Make 15 repetitions.

3.   Archery Push-Ups

Push-ups are excellent exercises that strengthen your core muscles. This modified exercise will also help work out the muscles in your shoulder blades so you can become a better archer. It’s a little bit challenging, so try to take it easy, or you might hurt your neck.

  • Start with the push-up position. Rest the weight of your lower body on your toes and keep your arms straight.
  • Pull your shoulders back as you try to bring your shoulder blades together. Don’t try to shrink your shoulders; otherwise, your neck muscles will get too sore.
  • Now you’re ready to do the push-ups.
  • Flex your arms as you lower your chest to touch the ground.
  • Raise your chest and keep your arms straight.
  • Relax your shoulder blades.
  • Make 15 repetitions.

Mental Training for Archery

Psychological training is just as important as getting your muscles warmed up for archery. Your brain needs to be focused, and you should feel relaxed, so you can concentrate on your target and shoot at it successfully.

1.   Visualization

You should never underestimate the power of visualization and manifestation. Remember that what you believe in manifests.

If you’re already visualizing yourself as a seasoned archer, then you’re half the way there. You’re already getting rid of the mental and psychological block that can come between you and achieving your goals.

Start by focusing on your equipment and think about what you can achieve. Focus on every step of holding and aiming your bow and arrow, and see yourself hitting the target successfully. Seeing yourself succeed will give you the confidence you need before shooting the arrow towards a real target.

Girl shooting

2.   Set Attainable Goals

Most archers put themselves under pressure by comparing themselves to others. Remember that you’re traveling your own journey, and you’re working towards achieving your goals.

Stay focused and start by setting a rather easy goal. This will give you a boost, so you can push yourself a little bit more. Work towards achieving a bigger goal by breaking the process into milestones.

Write your milestones in a journal, a to-do list, or flashcards that you can see every day. By focusing on achieving these smaller goals, you will be working your way towards the more challenging ones. Remember that regular practice will help you reach your ultimate goal.

3.   Overcome Target Panic

Archers might experience target panic regardless of their experience. This is when they shoot the arrow without aiming and end up missing their target because they were too tensed.

Most archers deal with target panic when they can’t hold steady or when they’re unable to bring their bows to full draw. Expert archers explain that target panic is a natural response that archers experience as they anticipate the shock. However, it can become a bad habit that needs to be broken.

You can practice aiming without shooting. This will help you get used to the feel of the bow and arrow without anticipating an upcoming shot. Hold steady and aim towards your target, but make sure that there’s no arrow to prevent dry firing.

Blind shooting towards a larger target, where accuracy doesn’t matter, will also help you overcome target panic. You can simply close your eyes as you shoot to focus on the process of shooting without the stress of aiming.

How to Relax After Practicing Archery

Now that you’ve held your bow and arrow for a while, you’re likely to experience some pain and tension. These exercises help release pressure and will minimize fatigue.

1.   Praying Hands

This stretch is quite popular before and after shooting the arrow because it helps you relax your hand and wrist muscles.

  • Start with the standard stance.
  • Hold your hands in the praying position and push them together.

2.   The Fingers Stretch

Fingers get tensed up when you are holding the arrow waiting for the right moment to release it. After practicing archery, you need to loosen the muscles and tendons in your wrist and fingers.

  • Start with the standard stance.
  • Press your hands together in front of you, as if you’re trying to pray.
  • Keep your hands pointing upwards.
  • Lower your hands towards your belly.
  • Now extend your arms in front of you.
  • Grab your fingers and pull downwards using the other hand.

3.   Back and Shoulder Blades Bent Pulls

This exercise targets a large yet crucial group of muscles in the shoulders and back that people usually tend to forget about. It helps the tensed muscles relax.

  • Bend at the waist and keep one knee on the ground.
  • Grab a chair or any stationary object and pull lightly.
  • Pull until you feel the latissimus dorsi muscle stretch.
  • Cross your arms and lean to one side until you stretch the muscles in your shoulder blades.
  • Keep on changing your position to help different muscles stretch.

4.   Elbow Grab

This is a popular stretch that people usually do after practicing sports.

  • Start with the standard stance.
  • Put one arm above your head.
  • Reach out to touch your shoulder blades.
  • Grab the elbow of this arm using the free hand.
  • Apply some downward pressure and feel the stretch in your triceps.

Wrap Up

Getting your mind and body ready for archery is an ongoing practice. You need to get ready physically by warming up and strengthening your muscles to be able to hold the bow, aim precisely, and shoot accurately.

At the same time, you need to know how to release the tension after you’ve put this pressure on your muscles. This will help you avoid painful injuries.

Mental preparation isn’t of less importance. You need to believe in your abilities as an archer; otherwise, you won’t be able to handle the pressure of aiming towards the target. Remember that practicing will help you achieve the goals you’ve always dreamed of.

Leave a Reply