The top 5 exercises to help with archery and to have a better shot

Man hunting with bow in tree

So I just started archery for the first time and I LOVE IT!  So much more exciting, challenging, and it takes hunting to another level.  I haven’t had the opportunity to shoot anything yet, but I have been practicing every day.  I noticed the needed strength in the upper back muscles that would be needed to carry a workload of shooting archery consistently and to go hunting for a week.  So I decided to post my top 5 exercises to help achieve the strength you need for archery and to help get that great shot!

1.  Prone Y, T, and I

Scapular muscle strength is essential to pulling the bow back and having the shoulder strength needed while aiming.  Firing the lower trap muscle with the prone Y will also help with the ability to keep your shoulders down while shooting.

2.  Rows with scap retraction

The row will help build the scapular muscle needed for shooting.  The release will be all about the scap retraction ability.  It should not be a arm release, but once your bow is adjusted for you, the release all comes from a tiny movement of scap retraction.  This same exercise can be adjusted and altered with dumbbells, bands, and machines.

An example of scap retraction or “squeezing your shoulders blades”  can be found here.  Notice the squeezing of her shoulder blades with this basic exercise.

3.  lead arm body blade

This video is from my friend Chris Johnson, PT.  This will give your lead arm the strength needed to maintain the bow pulled back when aiming.  The stronger your lead arm is, the more strength and endurance you will have while aiming.  Especially throughout multiple angles.

4.  reverse pec fly

This will be a great exercise that you can perform at the gym to increase overall scapular muscle strength.  Add in a 3-5 second isometric hold at the end of each repetition for extra strength gains.  This exercise can also be altered using dumbbells at home

5.  shoulder abduction with dumbbell

This again is a great exercise to do for overall shoulder strength for shooting.  Again, add in a 3-5 second isometric hold to really isolate the deltoids in an elevated position as needed when shooting.

Try these initial exercises out and see if your strength improves over 2-4 weeks.  As you increase your strength we can make progressions and adjustments to continue to show the strength gains you need.  We can also build an individualized home program for you to perform at your own at home!  After 4 weeks, you should notice an increase in strength and endurance when shooting archery and giving you a better shot.  When this guy walks in front of you, that is not the time to be fatigued!

Man with hunting catch

Whether you are shooting competitively or hunting for that monster buck, these exercises should greatly help.  For more questions about Pursuit Physical Therapy, to schedule a consultation for individualized program, and more information about how we can improve your strength for archery visit or call us at 407-494-8835.

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