Within a short time you will be seeing big results in your accuracy with your bow. If using a compound bow you will be able to increase draw weight also. The biggest benefit will be the dramatic increase steadiness when you draw. This is the direct result of increased strength in the specific muscles you use in archery, whether in competition or in the woods.
Lets start with 3 basic exercises per the How To Exercise For Archery video below.
Then lets finish with a second video of a few more advanced archery exercises that will go to a higher level to increase draw weight and accuracy.
These techniques and training exercises in the first video are from our friends at Queens Archery and produced by Howcast. If you want to skip the video then the instructions are written below it for your convenience.
First of three basic exercises to increase archery accuracy and draw weight is the overdraw. It’s putting your bow into shooting position without an arrow and pulling the string back past your normal draw point. Do not dry fire the bow. Now just gently let the string go back into its starting point. On a compound bow you could extend your draw length 2 inches to make this easier although not necessary. If you can’t get it past your draw point don’t worry because just getting it into shooting position is good to start with. Repeat this exercise several times and you will definitely feel some fatigue. That’s good. And don’t do more than ten pulls and releases at once as you first start. I would stay at 3 sets for the first 5 times you do this exercise too. This will give your muscles time to adjust to the stress and regenerate properly. Of course the draw weight you set your bow at will be what you’re currently used to. If this is your first time drawing a bow then keep your weight around 40 pounds to get started. Less if you are a youth archer.
The second of these three basic exercises is what we call the salute. It’s to build up the grip arm properly. This arm can cause poor aiming as it fatigues. Strengthening it up is critical to being a bulls eye shooter on targets, and hitting the exact spot on your animal if in the woods. You need to keep your hand, elbow, and shoulder at the same level throughout this archery exercise. As the video depicts just stand in shooting position with your draw arm at your side. Only use the grip arm and bring the bow to your chest and back to shooting position again. You should feel a burning in your shoulder. This is good. Do this 3 sets of ten reps for starting.
The third of the three basic exercises takes some time to get right but will really strengthen up your archery muscles to top level. You simply draw your bow back into the draw position without an arrow and use your grip arm by bending your elbow and allowing the bow to come closer to your body. It’s an exercise for your tricep and works really well to strengthen this critical archery muscle. Make sure your elbow stays at shoulder height and does not go down. If it does no worries just do as many as you can and through a few more workouts you will be fine. You may not be able to do it over 5 times to start with. That’s ok. Don’t overwork your tricep because we don’t want any injuries to your muscles or ligaments. As you work on this exercise you’ll get to 3 sets of 10 reps. That’s a good number to maintain your strength and steadiness. Practice being steady with no shaking. This triceps exercise using your bow is key because when aiming your bow at your target you will be smooth and solid. Especially if in the woods and holding your arrow in drawn position waiting for that perfect shot.
These techniques and training exercises specific to archery are used by many professional archers.
Now lets get into some more exercises to increase archery accuracy and draw weight by presenting this overview of the exercises with Nu Sensei and the Specific Physical Training (SPT) video below. These archery exercises will definitely increase endurance, strength, flexibility and structure. Do these 5 times per week one hour each day if you want to be a professional archer. That is serious training. Most of us who are casual sport archers will only do this one day per week so don’t feel you need to push yourself too hard. I wanted to include this video in case some of you want to become a professional archer. You can also just pick one of the four exercises of the specific areas and work on it a couple times a week. Within one month you will have covered all four and have increased your strength, accuracy, and steadiness.
More Steps To Improve Your Archery Accuracy And Draw Weight.
Grip. This is one of the most important parts of your archery skill-set yet one of the most overlooked. Grip your bow softly while relaxing your hand. Feel the pressure on the meat part of your hand between your thumb and forefinger. If you can’t seem to get this loose grip to work then try using an open hand and with a wrist sling to catch your bow with after releasing the drawstring. One mistake many people make is grabbing your bow after release. Don’t get into this habit because if will destroy you accuracy.
Stance. This is the foundation of your shot. It’s so important I’ve included this video from friend Nu Sensei. He does an excellent job explaining technique and stance mechanics. It provides stability and comfort. In general feet are shoulder width apart. There are two common stances square stance and open stance. Just ensure hips remain over the hips in both stances. One may be more comfortable for you than the other.
Anchor. This is the act of locking your string hand against the side of your face. Left hand shooters will anchor to the left side of your face while aiming with your right eye. The opposite is true of right hand shooters. Many compound bow archers use a kisser button that sits on the corner of their mouth. You don’t need one but it will help align the string faster. A bowstring peep is also commonly used to look through while aligning the site pin to your target. This device will allow consistent anchoring every time. The string should touch the tip of your nose when you are at anchor position. If this isn’t happening you may need to check your draw length or adjust your stance.
Aim. There are several ways to aim your bow. Most raise the bow upwards toward the target. Some raise their bow above the target and lower it down. Then there are those who draw toward the side where they want to aim and ease the bow over onto the bullseye. I prefer the first technique of raising my bow up directly onto the target. This eliminates unnecessary movement and noise. It makes my movement the most efficient it can be. Either way you choose stay consistent and move your bow onto the target smoothly. Hold your aim strong for 2-3 seconds and release the string gently without jerking. If you decide to change your choice of aiming just practice it over and over to ensure you break the old habit. These ingrained habits are tough to break yet can be done with repetition. As we used to say, repetition is the mother of skill.
Release. Keeping the release smooth without a jerk or flinching is tough to do. The idea is to keep it smooth and gentle. It’s even tougher if you’re a finger shooter but is easy to do once you are mindful of it. Just relax your fingers and let the string do its job of moving out of your fingers. Don’t force it. If you’re using a compound bow gently squeeze the release without jerking. Just put a small amount of pressure on the release mechanism and let the string do its job of moving out of the jaws. Once you practice this about 10 times and pay close attention to your release hand you will begin developing the smooth release of a pro.
Follow through. This is one of the most overlooked steps and is also one of the most important. The key is to keep aiming until your arrow actually hits the target. Many people, myself included when I started, would drop my arm with the bow gripped tightly in hand directly toward the ground. This is a very bad habit and one you will want to break the next time you practice with your bow. Continuing the aim after the drawstring is released will dramatically increase your accuracy and make your archery more fun and rewarding.
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