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How to increase draw weight?
I am very new to bowhunting and archery in general. I was recently offered a 60 lb bow for free, but I'm not sure I could reliably draw and shoot it. How can I build up to this? Should I just shoot over and over, as many times as I can until it becomes easy? Sorry if this is a stupid question, which I'm sure it is, just wondering.
Don’t over do it in your shooting sessions. It can cause rotator cuff stress/issues.
I learned this the hard Way when I jumped up to 75lb longbows, from 62 lbs.
Don't say what kind of bow, but if a compound and you have access to a recurve/longbow it's a great tool to build strength since you are actually holding the bow back. Don't need to shoot it, just pull and hold.
Exercise bands can be used the same way and are quite reasonably priced.
I’m sure there are some sort of exercises you can do to increase bow strength. That said I’d turn down your bow as much as possible and shoot 2-3 shots a day until think you can shoot 5 without feeling fatigued, then 7-8 and so on. Once you can comfortably shoot 20-30 shots turn you bow up little by little each day. Shooting muscles are unique. I’ve seen tough guys that can bench nearly twice their weight not be able to get a 70# bow drawn. Just work at it and you’ll get there. You mind try to find out how many turns you can safely turn your bows limb bolts out. If it’s 8. Tighten them completely then turn them out 8 turns, one or two turns at a time each. It might be a good idea to find a good bow shop and make sure your bow is proper draw length and get it set up for you, if it has a peep.
If the bow is a compound, you can turn the limb bolts out a few turns to reduce the draw weight. Just be careful to turn each limb bolt the exact same number of turns for each limb to maintain the correct balance between limbs. This can be used to reduce the draw weight by up to ten pounds on any bows I know of, and further on most with some caution to be sure you're not running out of bolt length.
If you should happen to lose count on the number of turns on the limbs, you can crank them both all the way up in draw weight until you reach the maximum, "bottomed out" position, and then keep careful count of the turns as you reduce the draw weight to your desired level from that position.
If you're dealing with a traditional bow design, you can use a longer string length to reduce the weight required to draw to your draw length, for strength building, but the shooting characteristics of the bow will suffer while using that longer string. The bow shouldn't be harmed, but the string will probably be more likely to slap your bow arm, if you do release the string while using it, and the bow will feel sluggish until the proper length string is returned following your strength training.
Exercise bands, or even a few bungee cords with some experimenting, can do nicely to increase your strength. Another option would be to lift a 5-gallon bucket from the floor with your draw hand while supporting yourself with your bow hand on a chair seat. You can vary the weight of the bucket with anything from water (8#/gal.) to rocks.
As with any strength building routine, don't overdo it with too much weight or too many rep's to start, and frequent regular sessions will get the desired results sooner and more safely than infrequent attempts to make up for skipped practice.
The muscles used in drawing and holding the bow are seldom used in most other exercise routines and non-archers generally find them to gain strength more quickly than expected when they are put to work regularly.
How many pull ups can you do? Seems a gym membership is in order to build up some strength of the upper body.
Without some key info, it's gonna be hard to advise you. How old are you ? How strong are you ? Can you pull the string back to the stops (compound) or until your draw hand reaches the corner of your mouth (stickbow) ? We need more info !
Get proper shooting instruction, unknowingly developing bad habits is easy, breaking them is not. The poundage issue may be easily overcome w/ technique.
+1 On don't over do it too fast. I remember when I first started I shot so much then couldn't lift my arms for a week. Granted I have bad shoulders from the BMX days.
Remember if you have to cringe to draw, aim straight up, lean back, or struggle then it has to go lower. Drawing straight back sitting down, or with legs dangling off a bed of truck is good test on if it's too much.
I know guys who only will shoot 70 when they shouldn't be. And you always wonder each time they draw if that's the day they punch a trigger early then you'll have to dodge an arrow falling straight down.
Newbie As others have pointed out, a lot of what you can do depends on the type of bow you were given, regardless remember to start slow and work your way up to the 60# draw weight.
I'd suggest you take the bow to an Archery Shop or have someone who bowhunts or shoots bows take a close look at the condition of the bow before making any adjustments or modifications. If your gift is a compound bow, ask them to show you how to safely adjust draw weight by loosening the limb bolts (along with the limb pocket locking screws).
You can typically adjust your bow down 8 # or so using a general rule of one turn to loosen (or tighten) will lessen (or increase) the draw weight 'about' 2 or 2.5 pounds. Before you begin adjusting limb bolts you may want to tighten them down as much as possible and use a marker to show a reference point "12 o'clock' position on each bolt and the limb, before beginning to back them off. The reason being you can't be certain what the bow was set on when you first got it. Remember to loosen the locking screws before adjusting and to re-tighten them once you're finished; also remember that what's done to the top limb needs to be done to the bottom.
You can also buy a 'bow fit' which is a commercially made exercise tool that allows you to build the exercise the muscles used most during a draw cycle while building upper body strength.
X2 “I know guys who only will shoot 70 when they shouldn't be” I always wonder if they clear overhead when in a tree stand since a lot are pointing to the sky as they draw.
Warm up your shoulders and back before any shooting session.
Be careful turning down limb bolts. Some bows are only supposed to be turned down a couple turns. My Elite bows are supposed to only be turned down two turns.
I use a Bow Trainer. It has about 5 bands of different strengths and it works great. Years ago when I was a kid I had a gum rubber stretcher. It took awhile for me to be able to pull this thing back across my chest. Finally, I could do it with ease. I would take it along up to this general store when all these farmers would come in to chew the fat. Hey, what do you have there kid. I told them it was my exerciser. They would try to pull it and NONE of them ever could. I would just laugh at them and keep stretching this thing out. Fun times.