When you’re getting ready to head out into the woods or you’re getting ready to head to the range you probably don’t think about things like exercise. But exercising is actually extremely important to your overall abilities. So that’s why we have 15 exercises to enhance archery and bowhunting performance. We want to help you get in the best shape possible so when that perfect shot comes along you’re more than able to take it. You may only get one perfect shot in your life, and if you aren’t able to get that bow where you need it or hold it like you need to because you’re not in shape … well you’re going to regret it for a long time, especially if it causes you injury.
What to Work Out
When you’re bow hunting you may think that the only thing you need to work out is your arms, but that’s definitely not the case. You need your entire arm from your fingers all the way up to your shoulders, but you also need to strengthen your back and your legs for walking or climbing throughout the day or carrying your kill if you get something. By strengthening the entire body you’ll be ready for anything and you’ll have no problem pulling back the bow, holding it as long as you need, carrying out the kill and everything else.
If you’re looking for the specifics you want to start with your hands. The muscles that make up the rotator cuff and the humerus are extremely important. Also, the muscles of the anterior and posterior forearm, the biceps, triceps and brachialis in the arms and shoulders. It also includes the gluteus maximus, semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris as well as quadriceps for supporting your body while you’re walking and carrying all of your gear as well as when you’re holding your bow. Altogether, these different muscles will help you improve your overall body tone.
Exercises You Need
- Step Ups
- Burpees with Jump
- Single Dumbbell Row
- Overhead Lunges
- Sled Pushes
- Decline Push-Ups
- Side Plank
- Cable Press with Split Stance
- Lateral Shoulder Raise
- Elevated Split Squats
- Dumbbell Thrusters
- Bow Trainer
- Romanian Deadlifts
This exercise will allow you to exercise your legs predominantly but will also help you gain additional balance skills. Because you’re going to be stepping up a high distance you’re stretching the legs and preparing yourself for longer spans of time where you’ll need to walk, especially when you’re carrying a backpack or any of your additional gear. You’re also going to be working out the torso with this exercise if you’re doing it properly. So make sure you’re standing up straight and tall and lifting the legs as high as you can up onto the step.
Burpees with Jump
This exercise is definitely going to tire you out, but it’s going to strengthen nearly every muscle in the body because it’s using a whole lot of force. You’re going to be dropping from a standing position into a push-up, which will work the entirety of the arm and shoulder muscles. Jumping back up and then jumping onto a box will work every muscle from the torso down through the hips and legs. Altogether, this is going to prepare you for pulling back and holding your bow as well as walking or climbing long distances for your trip.
Single Dumbbell Row
If you need to work out your arms you want to do these types of exercises. A single dumbbell row requires you to use all of the muscles in your arm to move a heavy weight back and forth. You only use one at a time but you will be going back and forth between each of your arms so that you get the same workout on both sides. This is important for holding your gear and holding your bow as well and should be considered equally important for your bow hand and support hand.
For this one, you hold a barbell over your head and keep it straight up above you as you do a lunge. For this, you’re going to be working out almost the entire body again because you’ll be stretching and building muscle in the arms and shoulders to hold the weight as well as the legs as you complete the lunge and then push yourself back up to a standing position. This also works the torso and when you are finished you are better prepared for hiking, climbing and carrying heavyweight as well as holding your bow for extended periods.
Here you’re going to build up your strength overall and your muscle tone in your arms and legs. You use your arms and all the way through to your connection with the floor to help you push a heavy sledge back and forth across space. This is going to help you improve the muscle tone and that means you’re going to be better prepared for whatever you need to do in the way of carrying excess weight or walking for long distances. You’re going to have built up your endurance overall.
These types of push-ups require you to have something to put your legs up on. You generally use a balance ball to rest your legs just above the ankle on and then lean down forward so the front half of your body is in a plank. This requires you to use only the arms and torso to push yourself up, thus increasing the muscle tone and strength that is available in these areas. You’ll be building up your ability to lift anything heavy or carry it for long periods of time as well as increasing endurance.
Being able to lift a heavy barbell from a standing position is important because it builds up strength quickly. With a deadlift, you are picking the barbell up from the ground and lifting it up to waist height then down again. You will start in a somewhat crouched forward position and end standing straight up, which also helps work the torso for better balance and endurance while you’re hiking through the woods or even a standard archery course. You’ll also have stronger leg muscles through this process as well as improving the strength in your arms with the barbell.
This exercise works mostly the torso and sides of the abs. It requires you to lay on your side and use your abs to move your body. This helps you to tone up and tighten up the torso overall and this will allow you to have more stamina and more capability while you’re hiking and going about your hunting. You’re going to have a whole lot more control over your body as well as being able to be more flexible while you’re moving around obstacles in the woods. You’ll be better prepared for anything you need to do once you get the right type of control.
Cable Press with Split Stance
With this exercise, you’re stabilizing the body and especially the core. You’re then able to do this at other times when you need to and this will help you be more sturdy and stable when you’re holding the same position for an extended period of time for a shot. You’ll be able to keep steady because you have the strength as well since this workout is also going to build up your strength and durability for holding something that has a high weight too. You will also be stretching out the legs and improving the tone and strength in them as well through this process.
Lateral Shoulder Raise
The lateral shoulder raise requires you to hold out your dumbbells down at the sides with your palms facing out then slowly raise them to shoulder height, bringing them out from the side of the body so your hands are as far away from your body as they can be and your arms are nearly parallel to the floor. Then you’ll be stretching the arms and all the muscles that make them up. If you are able to bring your heels up off the floor while you do this you’ll also be working the leg muscles as well.
Elevated Split Squats
This exercise works pretty much everything in the lower body. You put one foot up behind you on a solid surface and the other foot directly below you, forming an anchor into the ground then you slowly push yourself down, bringing the back knee nearly to the ground and the front knee to a 90-degree angle. This is going to force you to put a lot of weight and pressure on the leg, which helps you increase your strength as well as increasing balance in the body just by holding the position.
This workout requires you to work the legs and thighs as well as all of the muscles through the arm because you’re going to start with the elbows at a 90-degree angle and the dumbbells up near the head and slowly drop down into a crouch position with the dumbbells held still. Then you slowly push yourself up to standing while also pushing the dumbbells straight up, over the head. Then slowly bring them back down then down to a crouch and back again. This is going to work your body all the way through and it’s going to improve your stamina and your ability to coordinate movements and react to what you’re supposed to be doing.
This one uses a machine and it’s going to allow you to pull weight with your arms and shoulders. This is going to be similar to the way you’ll pull back weight when you use your bow, but in a slightly different motion. You’ll be able to practice pulling back the weight however and using all of the muscles involved, which are also involved in the process of pulling back and holding back your bow. It may be a slightly different method, but it’s going to feel a lot like the actual thing and that means it’s working all those muscles that you’ll be using later.
This is where you’re really going to mimic the experience of using your bow. You’ll use an exercise band that’s tied to emulate the string on your bow that you pull back and then you want to pull it just like you would with a bow. You’ll be able to build up your strength without having to worry about losing the string and hurting your bow. Instead, you’ll be able to practice as much or as little as you want to and with the amount of resistance that you want as well.
This one is going to be difficult, but it’s going to help you with balance. What you have to do is stand on one leg with the dumbbells at your sides and then slowly lean your upper body forward at the hips while bringing the leg off the floor up so it is in line with the upper half of the body. This creates a straight line from the foot to the head but with the dumbbells brought out slowly with the arms so they hang parallel to the one leg you are standing on. This is going to use the muscles in the legs as well as muscles in the arms and the torso to keep you balanced at all times.
Working out may not seem like it’s that important when it comes to going hunting, but in fact, it’s extremely important. If you want to make sure you are ready for anything that comes your way on your next hunting trip it’s essential that you work out as many of your muscles as possible. By building up your strength and endurance, you’ll be able to get that deer you’ve been hoping for and hunting for over the last several years. What could be better than having something to bring home for your long day of trouble and hard work?