Best excercise to increase bow poundage

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By: tjsna
Posted: 12-Mar-11

What would be the best exercise to increase my ability to pull my bow more easily.

It is set on 64 pounds and I want to leave it there.

I have been working out 6 days a week at the gym for three months now and I pulled my bow the other day and it was no easier.than it was before I started working out.

Is there a certain technique or exercise to remedy this.I like working out and want to be able to pull my bow smoother and with more confidence when it gets colder out..

By: GameEarGabe
Posted: 12-Mar-11

Bent over row with dumbells, low pull


By: Redman
Posted: 12-Mar-11

The strength comes from you core! Don't underestimate the shoulder stress, think about lowering your weight if you need to. I shot a mule deer at 55 yds with my bow set at 50lbs right before my shoulder surgery. Make sure you do lower weight, higher reps on all major upper body muscle groups.

By: Clutch
Posted: 12-Mar-11

Clutch's embedded Photo

This device is called a bow trainer--should be easy to find--pulling back on different bands and combinations gives you different poundage--really neat--it exercises the right muscles for pulling your bow--goes up to 90 plus pounds--

By: GRoe
Posted: 12-Mar-11

You can always practice more and increase poundage incrementally...but physical exercises are always good for many reasons

By: NYbob
Posted: 13-Mar-11

I just purchased that bow trainer posted above, because of my age, 78 I've had to lower the weight of my bow some over the years and I still have trouble in the spring after a long winter lay off, pulling it back. I'm hoping using this over the winter will help, I got it from Lancaster Archery in Pa.

By: Waterfowler
Posted: 13-Mar-11

Push ups seem to help quite a bit as well. I agree with the above statements that a strong core and rigorous shooting will be your best bet. I'm a little guy and shoot between 75-80 with back tension! My shoulders are starting to pay for it though.

By: Bowboy
Posted: 13-Mar-11

Doing chin-ups or pull-ups also help!

By: Leadspreader
Posted: 13-Mar-11

Get a mathews Genesis, sure its more expensive but you can always give it to your kid if you have any and they can start bowhunting, the reason i say you should get a Genesis is that they have an unlimited draw with 0 let off, so its the perfect excercise to build up those muscles, i used it for abut 2 weeks before i got my Browning and i was able to shoot 40, then 50 the next week, then 60 the third and it just kept going so theres my .02c

By: wyobullshooter
Posted: 13-Mar-11

Strength training is great for most everything, but when it comes to shooting a bow, technique is much more important IMO. I've seen guys that could bench 300 very easily, but couldn't begin to pull back a 70 lb bow. To say they were embarrassed would be an understatement, although it was hilarious to those of us who shoot!

My suggestion is to slowly increase the poundage a quarter turn every few days. Doing this allowed my wife to go from 40 lbs (which she struggled with at first) to 50 lbs in a matter of a couple months.

By: pirogue
Posted: 13-Mar-11

The bowfit exerciser (not what is pictured above) is good and a lot more compact that the one pictured above. You can hang it on a door know to work out other shoulder muscles you need to be doing other than just bow pulling type exercises. The exercise known as the lawn mover pull is also good, and you can ususally find something around the house for that.

By: elkman
Posted: 13-Mar-11

One other thought, try to balance your left and right side of your body. If you are a right handed shooter, make sure to draw your bow left handed to balance your muscle development. I have been shooting heavy bows, trad and compound for over 50 yrs and I have unequal back and shoulder development which I am trying to fix now with targeted exercise, I could have avoided all this work if I had just drawn my bow left handed for some reps or used a band to draw with my left hand. Ron

By: tjsna
Posted: 13-Mar-11

Great!!!!Thanks for the responses.

Some of you touched on part of the problem,I have not touched my bow since November and therein lies part of the problem.

I am going to get after it today.

I will try all of your suggestion.

Unbelievable that I have added mass in my upper body look and feel great(lost 17 lbs since christmas)feel alot stronger but still struggle to pull 64 lbs--go figure.

Thanks a million Guys Tim

By: Ziek
Posted: 13-Mar-11

"...technique is much more important..."

That really means engaging the correct muscles for pulling a bow. Something best done by - pulling a bow correctly. However, other exercises to strengthen the back, shoulder and arm muscles are beneficial. Any type of rowing motion, done correctly to isolate the back muscles in particular. If you do one arm dumbbell rows for example (with a knee on the bench and back parallel to the floor), DON"T rotate your body as is so often observed. Keep your chest in place and use the mid and upper back muscles to lift/lower the weight. Some cable machines can be used to brace your bow arm against the upright and pull back just like drawing your bow. An advantage to weights etc. over just shooting, is you can and should exercise the other side to help prevent an imbalance in development.

By: woodguy65
Posted: 13-Mar-11

tjsna - I dont know your weight or age - assuming you may have been a little overweight to start. There is a big difference when weight training - in losing weight and gaining strength. If you are using light weight and doing high reps - that would explain losing weight and gaining a little definition in the upper body. But if you truely want to gain real, noticeable strength - you need to use low reps and heavy weight. Focus on the major muscle groups chest, biceps, triceps. Work your chest and triceps one night and your back and biceps the next. Bench press for chest and tricep extensions for triceps, next night work biceps (free weight curls)and back (shoulder shrugs). Also Working out 6 days is over kill - you are not giving your muscles time to repair/recover and grow. Finally, you need to keep shooting your bow -on the days your not working out just to keep the "muscle memory". PM me and I can give you a real work out plan if you are serious. As far as the guys above stating they know guys that can bench 300-400 pounds and cant pull back a 70# bow that is for 1 of 2 reasons. Either they never pulled back a bow (there is technique involved) or they really can not bench press any where near 300-400 pounds. Finally, you actually do use the same muscles in pulling back a bow that you use for bench press. The bench is probably the single best exercise you could do - if you limited yourself to just one (not recommended). The bench uses primarily the muscles of the chest and tricep. But it secondarly focus on the lats, deltoid and forearms. ALL of which you use when pulling back a bow - only thing it misses is bicep.

By: x-man
Posted: 13-Mar-11

I'll second the Genesis bow exercise. Nothing like the real thing, but in MODERATION. If you just start pulling back 64# A LOT, you may strengthen your muscles, but you may also damage your muscles and tendens. Don't take that chance right now. Start with a low draw weight, and shoot it with correct form and without much let-off(why the Genesis is good).

By: Buckfvr
Posted: 13-Mar-11

There is no substitue for shooting year round....I have an older Martin target bow bought off E-Bay, 45-60lb, ( set at 50lb ), and shoot it all winter in my shop, distance doesnt matter, just get some blue face targets and shoot the 5 spot side all winter. Towards spring, turn it up a bit, and transition to your hunting bow.....I also shoot my hunting bow just to change it up a bit, but I do not have problems pulling my bow back. You may want to consider 60lb limb replacement for your bow, the difference is negligable, but gives you more options.....If you cannot pull your bow back level, no matter what position you are shooting from, ( sitting, Kneeling, etc. ), you need to make some changes. R

By: Pintail
Posted: 14-Mar-11

X2 for shooting year round. Muscle memory comes from repitition. The more you shoot the more familiar you become with both your equipment and your limitations. If you look up shoulder injurys in archery, you will find exercises that work all the muscle groups used during the use of the bow.

By: BingoFlyer
Posted: 14-Mar-11

from pirogue "The bowfit exerciser (not what is pictured above) is good and a lot more compact that the one pictured above. You can hang it on a door know to work out other shoulder muscles you need to be doing other than just bow pulling type exercises. The exercise known as the lawn mover pull is also good, and you can usually find something around the house for that."

That is also what I use.

I had a cardiac arrest last spring and spent several weeks in the hospital losing a lot of strength. Even with my bow backed down to 45 lbs I could not get it back enough to turn the cams over. I an now pulling it at 65 lbs and still pick it up and use it every time I walk by it, at least four if five times per day.

I think the bow fit is well worth the money.

By: Jaquomo_feral
Posted: 14-Mar-11

Ditto on the Bowfit. Inexpensive, instantly adjustable, portable. Can be used to work both sides, which as others have mentioned, is really important. It's also a great warmup tool prior to shooting.

But it's also important to work other muscle groups along with your "bow drawing" muscles.

By: kellyharris
Posted: 14-Mar-11

I would recommend to keep shooting your bow and increasing your weight a little each week.

Also I would work on holding the bow back and not releasing that should help also

By: Ole Coyote
Posted: 14-Mar-11

The very best exercise to help increase your ability to draw a bow. Get a chair with very strong arms, now with your back to the chair start to sit down. Place your hands on the chair arms, ( one hand on each side, lol ). Now lower yourself into the chair very slowly using just your arms for support. When you first start doing this exercise keep you feet on the floor. Once your butt is seated pick yourself up using just your arms and back muscles. Now lower yourself back into the chair, rest for a minute or two and repeat. Go very slowly doing two or three reps when you first start. Stay with the low reps for at least two weeks to make sure you will not have shoulder or back issues from this exercise as it is a tough one. Over a period of time, usually about two to three months you should easily pull seventy pounds.

Mahe sure you keep shooting your bow! Shoot as much as you can everyday!

Stay well!!

By: 300 Win Mag
Posted: 14-Mar-11

Shoot your bow a lot. Start at lower weight and increase a little every month. You will need to probably do at least 70 shots 3 times a week. Also, I shoot at least 10- 12 arrows in a set. By the time you get to 7 or 8 you can feel it. With three shots you are not even warming up. Don't worry about the accuracy tooo much, because the more you shoot and the stronger you get, the more steady and accurate you will become. You will probably feel an ache in your "wingbone" area of your back. Good luck, start or easy and build up slow.

By: tjsna
Posted: 14-Mar-11

Thank you guys!!!!! Really I mean it....

Alot of great suggestions found a bent over cross arm exercise tonight at the gym that works all of the back,and shoulder muscles and it really told me how weak I am in that area.

I am going to try ALL suggestions and see what works best for me...

I have a spare bow that I turned down tonight and started working out the bow muscles,I will let everyone know how it turns out.

Thanx a million--Tim

By: benno
Posted: 14-Mar-11

i did a lot of chin up before getting my 70lb recurve.

I like a full extension from hanging to chin over bar. Then once it gets easy I add a small weight belt. This does help a lot - cause its not isolating just one muscle, its using at range of muscles in the back, shoulders and biceps (plus its both arms so you dont end up lop-sided!)

Not bad tho not as good as shooting the bow of course as already said.

By: DonSchultz
Posted: 15-Mar-11

How about just pulling a bow. Shoot 10 or 12 arrow ends. Shoot 50-100 arrow sets. Gradually build up the bow weight, just 1-2 lbs every couple of weeks. Get additional benefit by numbering the arrows and shoot each into its own spot, always aiming at just the X. THis way you can determine what arrows group together. Depending on your set up, you may be able to twist nocks, and thus bring a particular arrow into the X-ring with others.

By: fuzzy
Posted: 15-Mar-11

believe it or not, the best way to work out for drawing a heavier bow more easily, is drawing an even heavier bow! Get a 70# if you really want the 64# to seem easy, but honestly I'd get a 55# to shoot every day andf use the 64# for workouts....

By: Dooner
Posted: 15-Mar-11

Good advise above, especially shooting year around. Along with what fuzzy said, when I'm getting ready for a hunt, I'll put aside my 70# bows and shoot an 80# X-TEC for a month or two before the hunt. Then when I'm pulling the 70# bows they feel like a 60# bow.

By: grizzlyadam
Posted: 15-Mar-11

Shoot your bow, and periodically turn up the poundage, it's not some sort of secret trick or anything.

By: Spike Bull
Posted: 16-Mar-11

All the information here is correct to a point. Many muscles are involved in drawing a bow and several different techniques allow you to spread the load around to other muscle groups as well.

However, Most archers draw with primarily the deltoid muscles and, unfortunately, use hand muscles to fire the shot. (Any good deltoid muscle excersizes will work.)

After coming to full draw with the deltoids you should transfer the load onto the rhomboids, raising the elbow at full draw will do so and you will feel the change. This is where you should hold, aim, and fire from with the additional use of the shoulder blade lifter muscle.

Australian pull ups are helpful for this. They are done from a squat machine with the bar set about waist high. From laying on the floor below the bar, you hang from the bar with both hands and do pull ups. Thay seem easy but maintain form and go slowly up and down for max benefit. You can put your feet up on a bench and even put 45 pound plates on your chest for additional difficulty. The position of the bar is important, about at your nipples is best but variation has its value as well. An overhand grip is best but an underhand grip will involve your bicep as well.

Beyond that, I find that strong lats and especially triceps are great for holding steady.

For what it is worth, many top level coaches have their shooters work out for strength building in the off season and just do maintenance workouts during the period they shoot heavily.

Read Larry Wise' "Core Archery" for details on muscle usage in archery.

By: extrem predator
Posted: 16-Mar-11

Double Pull over nautilus Chin Ups Bench Press Push Ups Dumbells, ( rowing).

Use t0 shoot 84 pounds into my 60s, now 67 is plenty for N Am. new Bows give same KE at lesser poundage now.

By: Waterfowler
Posted: 20-Mar-11

Sorry Droid repost

By: Jack Harris
Posted: 20-Mar-11

for 30 bucks, get the IRON GYM and hang it in a doorway... Two different style of chinups, and toss it on floor and do pushups.. At age 46, I find it's getting easier every year to pull the bow instead of harder. Buy the ab straps to hang on the bar with it, and do leg lift/crunches, to further strengthen your core and low impact excercise to the lower back (which has been godsend to me, with herniated disks). 3 simple exercises I do every other day, two cyclkes each for as many reps that I can do... I've pretty much been pulling 65 lbs for 20 years, and see no reason to change, but it actually feels easier than ever. I'm sure I could easily pull 70 or 75, but why bother at this point? Accuracy is all I care about with today's speedy bows... When I draw on a deer, I don't even feel it, it's like a 3rd appendage that requires zero effort to draw... It amazes me to see these guys on TV strain their veins pulling some bows that are clearly too heavy for them and then watch them make a bad shot and wonder why...

By: jhelton
Posted: 20-Mar-11

get you an older or otherwise cheap recurve... about 40-45lbs. then practice pulling and holding for increments of 5-10 seconds. Do several sets over the course of a few hours, giving yourself plenty of rest tween sets. Use your release and practice trying to pull and hold with back tension... not the shoulder. Back tension can be demonstrated by holding an arrow with both hands with about 4" of space tween hands above your chin and trying to pull it apart. Those are the muscles you should be using.

If you do that about 3 days per week, you'll be pulling the cams off your compound in about 1-2 months.


By: Waterfowler
Posted: 22-Mar-11

Push ups seem to help quite a bit as well. I agree with the above statements that a strong core and rigorous shooting will be your best bet. I'm a little guy and shoot between 75-80 with back tension! My shoulders are starting to pay for it though.

By: droptine101
Posted: 22-Mar-11

I like to shoot my bow 60 times twice a week. Rest for 2-3 days. It is easy to over shoot and not let your muscles recover. This can cause shoulder issues. Just before season I shoot only 20 rounds per day of practice and practice two to three times per week. Works for me. Good luck!

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