Archery is a sport and you must treat it like one when it comes to training for an event. Take a soccer player training to get ready for the season. Do you think he stands in front of a goalpost and only practices shooting the ball into the net from different distances? Absolutely not! In order to have success in soccer, players train their physical strength, endurance and technical skills. Why should archery be treated any differently?
Archery is a sport like any other; it involves technique, strength and endurance for success. As much as you fling around arrows, you should fling around weights just as much. Well, not flinging, but you get the point. Going back to our soccer player, not only will he run out of gas quickly when he enters a game, his career will most likely not last very long. I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy archery and plan to do it as long as I physically can.
Take the words of Benjamin Franklin, “By Failing to Prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Strength and endurance training is a must if you want to increase your success and longevity. The body works together as one unit so we will train it like so. Each muscle in your body plays a specific and important role in archery. Let us take a look at their roles:
1. The Back. Back strength is one of the most important components when it comes being able to shoot a bow. Back strength, especially your lats (latissimus dorsi), is one of the main muscles in the body used in archery, primarily during the drawback of the bow. The stronger your back is, the more weight you can pull back, or the easier you will be able to pull back your current weight.
2. The Shoulders. The shoulders will literally make or break you. The shoulder girdle works together to aid in the pullback motion of your bow as well as stabilizing it as you aim. The ability to increase stabilization means a more steady shot, which allows your arrows to have a straighter flight. The physical motion of drawing a bow can put a lot of stress on the shoulder and without the proper strength can lead to an injury down the road.
3. The Chest. Chest strength plays a vital role in your stabilization arm. This is because your chest and should share similar roles in arm abduction and horizontal adduction (being able to lift your arm and pull it across your chest). Like your shoulders, the more strength and stabilization you have in your chest, the easier it is to hold your sights steady on the target!
4. The Core. Core STABILIZATION is what holds everything together. Its job is to connect your upper body to your lower body. Having a weak core is usually the main cause of lower back pain. When you are asking a lot from your upper and lower body, you better make sure what is holding them together is just as strong.
5. The Lower Body. The lower body includes your posterior and anterior (front and back) sides from your waist down. It is important for giving you a steady base during your shot as well as endurance for your hunts. You will be covering a lot of terrain during your hunt. Most likely, the terrain will not always be the easiest to maneuver. Will you have the stamina for the uphill and downhill battles? Having strength and endurance in your lower body will allow you to travel longer distances with less effort as well as being stealthier in your movement. The last thing you want is to spend all your time preparing for a hunt and sound like a stampede traveling through the woods, scaring everything around you.
Your ability to create more strength, stability and endurance throughout your body will allow you to work more efficient when the hunting season and archery tournaments arrive. To have success, you need to treat your body the same way you would in any other sport. More importantly, if you are truly passionate about archery, I am positive you will want to continue doing it as long as possible. If you don’t use it, you will lose it. Remember again the wise words of Benjamin Franklin “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.