Strength Training for today's bowhunter
by Dan Staton MS, CrossFit Level II Coach
Hoyt.com is constantly updating its pages to bring you cutting edge info. on the archery industry, shooting tips, and, of course, ways to keep your fitness levels top notch for years to come. If you’re like me, you want to pull 70 lb. on your bow rig as smoothly as possible and avoid injury at all costs – while pouring countless shooting hours in at the range.
This leads me to the question, are you getting any younger? To keep those aging muscles of yours cooperating so you can pursue your passion, please tackle the next few basic movements on a regular basis.
Skeletal muscle abides by one rule: Use it or lose it. This generally accepted rule of thumb means gradual loss in strength as we continue to age and become less active. Any loss in muscle will have a negative affect on your ability to draw/shoot your bow. All of us want accuracy and it’s correlated to our ability to hold steady at full draw from a solid foundation.
For archers, we hold a lot of stock in posterior strength, pulling movements, and a strong torso. This means we must perform our due diligence and train for archery above and beyond pulling back our bows. Strength training is our ally.
Strength training is nothing more than providing a dose of "stress" to working muscle. You actually get your dividend once the broken down muscle has the opportunity to repair, adjust, and come back stronger. Strength training remedies age-related muscle and strength loss and should positively affect your ability to shoot your bow by ensuring a smooth draw, providing more stability at full draw, and perhaps increasing your ability to pull back more poundage.
Strength training will allow you to have complete confidence in your physical ability, which will give you the freedom to focus your full attention on the process of shooting.
Strength training benefits you by:
- Improving soft tissue structure (ligaments, tendons, etc.).
- Increasing metabolic rate.
- Possibly lowering blood pressure.
- Relieving stress.
- Decreasing injury potential.
Perform the following movements and make sure to find which one suites you best. I’ve included five movements to choose from that involve pulling; it’s a mixed bag that will have your shoulder blades, lats, and shoulders tuned up in no time.
These exercises are:
- Perfect Push-Ups
- Rope Climb
- Towel Pull-Ups
- Dumbbell Upright Rows
Check out the photos to the right for examples of how to properly perform each of these strength training exercises.
Remember, strength training and bowhunting are a continuous pursuit and a glorious sport to be a part of!
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