These 7 Exercises For Archery Are Great To Improve Upper Body Strength
Archery is great fun and very addictive, as soon as I started target archery I was hooked. Did you know that it’s also great for improving concentration, hand eye coordination as well as improve mental fitness. Archery is also great for those that want to improve fitness and strength due to the weight needed to continue to draw the bow. Not including the amount of walking needed to collect all those arrows.
The aim of this article is to share 7 great upper body exercises that will help you to increase your shoulder, upper back and arm strength. I have chosen these exercises as they can be done at home with some dumbbells, so you don’t need to go to a gym. – I spend all my free time…and money on archery, no way have I got time to go to the gym as well!
Why would strength exercises help with archery?
When I first started archery, I didn’t think id need much strength in order to shoot..boy was I wrong. The continued drawing of the bow and holding it drawn to aim, worked my arms and mostly my shoulders. Towards the end of a couple of hour session, I struggled to aim the bow effectively due to my strength.
By exercising your upper body, you can not only handle the draw better but you have the increase strength and stamina to be able to aim more effectively. Put simply, these archery exercises will help you to have better control over your shot and allow you to shoot for longer!
The 7 Archery Exercises For Upper Body Strength
There are so many different exercises that you could do to improve your archery, I have chosen these ones as they focus on the upper body. (Lower body is just as important but that’s for another day). As mentioned I prefer exercises that I can do at home and that ideally doesn’t use much equipment, if any.
Before we get into the exercises, here are a couple of tips to get the most out of your exercises;
Tip One: The Weight
You want to build strength and condition the muscles, you don’t want to build size. It is a common myth that lifting weights will make you massive, this is not the case. The key to building strength is to lift low weight but higher reps, muscle is built by lifting high weights but low reps. Therefore pick a weight that you can lift comfortably but still feel. If you are not able to do all of the reps then go to a lower weight
Tip Two: Reps
Reps are the amount of times you perform the exercise. For strength improvements I will normally do 10-12 reps. If you was to build muscle mass then you would tend to do around 6 reps (depending on the exercise)
Tip Three: Sets
Sets are the amount of times you do the reps. I will often do 3 sets of each workout, with a 1 minute break between each set.
Exercise One: One-Arm Dumbbell Row – Back
This exercise has been picked as it helps to strengthen the middle of the back. When doing archery you use your shoulders but the muscles in your back also plan an important role. Increasing the strength in your back can really help with controlling your shots. This exercise also mimics the effects of drawing a bow so in effect uses very similar muscles.
- On a flat surface, place your leg and bend your torso with your upper body in line with the floor.
- Keeping your back straight pick up the dumbbell with your other hand and keep your arm straight
- Pull the weight up in line with your chest and slowly straighten your arm back up.
- Repeat for all reps and then do on the other side
Exercise Two: Dumbbell Shrug – Back
The dumbbell shrug is a great exercise to help strengthen the trapezius muscle. This muscle is located in the middle of your upper back, between your shoulder blades.
- Stand up tall with a dumbbell in each hand
- Keeping your arms straight, lift your shoulders up hold and then lower your arms back down
- Repeat for all of the reps
- TIP: Just shrug with dumbbells in your hands
Exercise Three: One-Arm Side Laterals – Shoulder
The shoulders are a key muscle to focus on when doing archer and this is an excellent exercise to do that is also very easy. It is the only shoulder exercise in this article that uses dumbbells.
- In one hand hold a dumbbell and the other hand should hold onto a surface such as table to exercise bench
- Keep your body completely straight and gradually lift the dumbbell to the side
- Have a slight bend in the elbow and lift up until your arm is in line with the floor
- Slowly lower the weight back down and repeat for all reps
- Once you have finish one side, do the other side for the same amount of reps
Exercise Four: Push Ups – Shoulder/Chest
Push ups are an excellent exercise for archery, as it helps to strengthen the shoulders but also helps with the upper arms and the chest. They are also great as you don’t need any equipment and can easily be done at home. There are a number of different push up exercises, id recommend doing a basic push up if you are new.
- Lay on the floor with your arms shoulder width apart, you want to be on the tips of your toes and your arms outstretched
- Lower yourself down slowly by bending your elbows until your chest is almost touching the floor
- Hold for a second and then push your body back up to where you started
- Repeat for the amount of reps needed.
Exercise Five: Pull Ups – Shoulder
Pull ups are an excellent workout but at the same time they can be tough. It does require some decent upper body strength so if you are unable to do it, keep practicing and eventually you will manage to do them. As you do exercises such as bench dips, lat raises your upper body strength will improve.
- Grab the bar with your palms facing forward and your arms should be straight
- Pull up your torso until your chest is inline with the bar
- Hold for a second and then gradually lower yourself
- This is one rep – Repeat for required reps
Exercise Six: Bench Dips – Arms (Triceps)
This is another exercise that can be done at home without any equipment, it’s incredibly easy to do and can really help strengthen the triceps. This is the muscle on the back of your arm just below your shoulder.
- Place a bench, table or chair behind you and looking away from it hold onto the edges with your hands
- Arms should be fully extended and your legs will be extended forward.
- Slowly lower your body down at the elbow until your upper arm and forearm are at a 90 degree angle
- Push yourself back up with your triceps
- Repeat for required reps
Exercise Seven: Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl – Arms (Biceps)
The last exercise is to help strengthen your biceps, which will also help with being able to pull higher draw weights.
- Hold the dumbbells at arms length to your side
- Keep your upper arm still and lift the weight up until it is inline with your shoulder
- Slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position
- Repeat for your other arm and this completes 1 rep
These 7 exercises for archery are perfect, they help to strengthen the upper body to help you hit your target better and also improve your stamina. As mentioned I have chosen these as they are all fairly easy to do for a beginner but at the same time give great results. Other than the pull up, the only equipment needed is a dumbbell and can be done in the comfort of your own home.
You don’t need to do all 7, id recommended doing 5 different exercises in a routine. It would also be a good idea to alternate the exercises some days to help work different parts of the body.
I hope this article has helped and if you do have any questions, please comment below.
Adam has been enjoying the sport of archery since 2010, intially getting the bug for it whilst on holiday and trying it out in an activity center. Since his very first eperiance of holding a bow and arrow, he fell in love with it and can now be found at the range or in the great outdoors as often as possible.
His main go to bow type is a recurve but he loves shooting from compounds as well. Adam created The Archery Guide as a way to help others get into this great activity and to share his knowledge/experiences.