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Archery Exercises

Before we can look at which exercises we need for target archery, we need to look at the requirements of the sport.

So which exercises are best for archery? The list can be long if you use pure resistive exercise (free weights or exercise machines). We can simplify the list by using a few select calisthenics:

After getting a stronger body, we need to develop a strong cardio-vascular system to support shooting arrows for long periods of time over multiple days. So, break a sweat! Walk, jog, run, hike, ride a bicycle, swim, climb a mountain or hill, dance, etc. Pick your favorite movement and do it enough to elevate your heart rate and develop a sweat for at least 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week. Your heart and lungs will love you for it and your waistline will contract.

We need to work specifically on the “archery muscles.” There are four Specific Physical Training (SPT) Exercises that are highly recommended. SPT1 – Endurance SPT, SPT2 – Power SPT, SPT3 – Flexibility SPT, and SPT4 – Alignment SPT. SPT1, SPT2, and SPT3 are performed after shooting. SPT4 is performed before shooting. You will need training in the SPT exercises to perform them properly.

  1. SPT1 – Endurance SPT
    1. SPT1 builds endurance by holding the shot for 30-60 seconds
    2. Come to anchor and stay there for 30 to 60 seconds
    3. Rest for twice as long as you stayed at anchor
    4. Repeat for a set of 10 exercises
    5. Repeat for 3 sets.
    6. Rest 5 minutes between sets
    7. For Recurve and Longbows, begin by holding at anchor for 30 seconds.
    8. For compound bows, begin by holding at anchor for 60 seconds.
    9. Once you can complete 3 sets without too much effort, start adding 5 seconds to how long you stay at anchor.
    10. For the Recurve and Longbow, once you can complete 3 sets while holding for 60 seconds, put a stretch band(s) over your bow and start at 30 seconds again.
  1. SPT2 – Power SPT
    1. SPT2 helps you develop your drawing power.
    2. SPT2 is not recommended for compound bows. The let-down to set-up can be very challenging for a compound bow and possibly leading to injury caused by an uncontrolled let-down. (Don’t do it with a compound bow.)
    3. Lift your bow (come to set-up)
    4. Draw to anchor/transfer
    5. Return to set-up without allowing the bow to more from the set-up position and losing the “barrel of the gun.”
    6. Repeat the Draw to anchor/transfer 10 times in a set
    7. Perform 3 sets
    8. Rest 1 minute between sets
  1. SPT3 – Flexibility SPT
    1. This exercise is best done with a clicker on the bow (Olympic Recurve Bow); but you can do this with a barebow or a compound bow.
    2. SPT3 is always done with an arrow on the bow and in front of a target no more that 3 meters away.
    3. Perform the shot sequence until you are ready to release the arrow, and don’t release the arrow, but continue to expand for an additional 10 seconds
    4. Once you have completed 10 seconds of expansion, let-down.
      1. For a compound bow, it will be better to release the shot.
    5. For a compound bow, your mechanical release must not activate.
      1. If you are using a wrist release, keep your finger off the trigger.
      2. If you are using a thumb release, keep your thumb off the trigger.
      3. If you are using a hinge release (back tension) or a resistance release, please use one with a safety and do not active the safety.
      4. If you hinge release or resistance release does not have a safety, then use a wrist release.
    1. Perform 10 repetitions per set.
    2. Take a 1-minute break between repetitions
    3. Take a 5-minute break between sets.
    4. Perform 3 sets.
  1. SPT4 – Alignment SPT
    1. SPT4 helps you understand the “barrel of the gun”, the bone-on-bone alignment from the bow hand through the bow shoulder to the draw shoulder.
    2. SPT4 is not recommended for compound bows, since we cannot use our abdominal muscles to help draw the compound bow. (Don’t do it with a compound bow.)
    3. No arrow on the bow.
    4. Lift the Bow and bring the string hand behind the head.
    5. Draw the bow as far as you safely can. The bow string will come in contact with you bowside neck and shoulder.
    6. Let down the bow
    7. Repeat 3-4 times before shooting.
  1. A good Recurve/Longbow schedule is:
    1. SPT4 every day before you shoot.
    2. SPT1 on Monday and Thursday
    3. SPT2 on Tuesday and Friday
    4. SPT3 on Wednesday and Saturday
  1. A good compound bow schedule is:
    1. SPT1 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
    2. SPT3 on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday
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