I’m writing this column while roasting in an antelope blind under the merciless Idaho sun. Hard to believe it’s bowhunting time already! If you are like the majority of us bowhunters, archery season has crept upon us without much warning–seems like summer never really happened. Speaking of summer, have you been practicing and are you prepared for this hunting season, which is NOW? If not, don’t sweat it–it’s not too late. The purpose of this column and future installments is to help you better understand how to get into bowhunting shape and stay Archery Fit throughout the season.
|Probably the most difficult position to pull a bow from. Injury is an inch away from happening. Using BowFit to help you stay warm and limber makes sure you are ready when the shot comes.|
Before you dust off that trusty bow and start flinging arrows, here’s a few things you might want to consider: Is your bow still set at the heavy hunting weight from last Fall? If you haven’t been shooting lately, your bow is probably still set at maximum hunting poundage.
WARNING: If you jump right into shooting at a heavy draw weight, you are definitely setting yourself up for injury. In other words, you are at a huge risk of pulling tendons and muscles that are not accommodated nor trained for that much stress and strain. The human body will adapt and build tissue to the load and stress placed upon it.
Think about it. What happens if you quit lifting weights for a while-the muscles atrophy and shrink and you have to build back up again with lightweights. Try to lift too much weight too soon and BAMM, it’s injury time! Your body is not able to handle the overload.
If there has been a lag time in your shooting, a good rule of thumb is to turn your bow down 5-10 pounds and slowly work back up to your previous hunting weight. Ideally, we should all be shooting at least 30 arrows three times a week prior to bow season. It’s best to start with a draw weight that allows you to shoot 30 arrows with moderate fatigue. When it’s easy to shoot 30 arrows without tiring, increase the draw weight by another 2-3 pounds. When this new draw weight becomes easy, again increase another 2-3 pounds and gradually build up in small increments until you reach your desired draw weight. This gradual increase in bow poundage will allow your body to build new tissue and adapt to the increasing stress without injury.
Another slick way to strengthen archery muscles is to use the Bowfit Archery Exerciser. The Bowfit is designed to be a portable trainer and can be used anywhere. The draw weight can be easily adjusted from light resistance to heavy hunting poundage by simply doubling or tripling the exercise tube (see How to Use Bowfit on www.bowfit.com).
|The BowFit is a take anywhere exercise product specifically engineered for the archer.|
A good strengthening exercise using the Bowfit is to pull back to full draw and hold for 10 seconds, then slowly let down. Repeat this for 10 reps (or 1 set of 10). Do 3 sets of 10 pulls and on the last pull of each set, (or 10th rep of each set), hold as long as possible. I also like to hold a 3-pound hand weight in my bow hand to simulate the weight of holding a bow. This really strengthens the bow arm. It’s always a good idea to switch hands and practice drawing and holding with opposite arms as this strengthens both arms equally. This will prevent over training and imbalance on one side of your body. Switching hands using the Bowfit Archery Exerciser makes it easy to exercise both arms-which is pretty much impossible to do with a bow.
You can do the Bowfit exercise routine 3 times per week, in addition to shooting on alternating days, without over fatigue. Allow your body to rest on the 7th day with no shooting or Bowfit exercise. REMEMBER: It’s always a good idea to warm up for a few minutes before bow shooting just as you would prior to any other sport or activity. Do this exercise regiment 3 times per week and I guarantee your bow strength will improve significantly.
These tips are just a few of the many wonderful ideas shared by professional bowhunters on our DVD, Archery Fit: Strengthening Tips from the Pros. Until next time, keep practicing and remember: The most important ingredient to your bowhunting success is your healthy body.
To strengthen your archery muscles to pull a heavier bow, hold longer, hold on target more steady go to : BowFit