Why Exercise for Archery?
Why is Exercise important for Archery?
Archery is a control sport. To be the best archer possible, you need to be able to control the bow exactly the same from beginning to end and session to session. Strength and endurance are required to control your bow.
How much endurance and strength does an Archer need?
You need to be at least 50% stronger than your bow. If you are only as strong as your bow then you have to use all your strength to draw the bow and your muscles become fatigued quickly. If you are at least 50% stronger than your bow, then only half of your muscle is being used to draw the bow and the other half can rest during each shot. While resting, your muscles can refresh themselves with food and oxygen, even during the shot.
Endurance is just as important as strength. You must have high endurance to keep shooting with good form for 300 arrows. Endurance means that your heart, lungs, circulatory system, and muscles are able to move and use the oxygen and food needed to make your muscles work and get rid of the poisons (carbon dioxide and lactic acid) from using the muscles. Endurance also means that your muscles can recover from exercise in less than 24 hours. If you don’t have high endurance you cannot train properly or shoot in a multi-day tournament (JOAD Indoor Nationals, Indoor Nationals, National Tournament, JOAD Nationals, every USAT or Jr. USAT Qualifier)
How do you build strength and endurance?
Muscular strength and endurance are linked. You cannot build one without building the other.
Muscle strength is built by using the muscle group until it fatigues. When the muscle fatigues, small tears in the muscle occur and then the muscle grows and increases in strength.
Endurance is built by working the major muscle groups at 50% to 60% of maximum strength for a long period of time. Doing the same motion until that muscle is tired increases its endurance. As the muscle gets tired, the support system for that muscle increases. The blood vessels, heart, lungs, and even kidneys and liver all become stronger and work more easily with endurance training.
To build strength, the more repetitions of a single exercise, or reps, of one exercise we can build up to, the stronger we become. For each round of reps, or a set, pick a starting point of around (10 reps for weights, 12-15 for calisthenics). As the exercise becomes easier, add reps to each set to increase your strength.
To increase endurance, add more sets until you reach 5 sets as you become stronger. After you can do 5 sets easily, increase the weight or range of motion to make the exercise harder. High endurance is achieved only by pushing yourself to do harder and harder exercises.
High endurance also requires cardiovascular exercise, such as running, swimming, biking, hiking, or speed walking, ideally 4 times a week. The cardiovascular exercise should increase your heart rate and make you sweat. If your activity is not making you sweat, then you need to go faster!
How to start an exercise program
When you want to start an exercise program you need to do several things:
- Talk with your physician and be sure you are healthy enough to exercise.
- Build a base line – what can you do now? (Coach Tom will help you with this.)
- Build a plan to increase your strength and endurance. (Coach Tom will help you with this too.)
- Build a plan of when to do your exercise and follow your plan!
- Do the exercise! (This is the hardest part; we all make excuses why we don’t exercise. Coach Tom can help with this too.)
Ace Archers provides training and coaching services that include exercise