The Core Bow Hunting Fitness Exercises You’ll Need to Get Ready for the Season
Hunting season is upon us, and while most big game hunters like to rely on a variety of rifles for their hunts, others prefer a bit more of a tried and true method, and one that takes a lot more work. We’re of course talking about archery. One could argue that it makes the hunt a far more well-earned victory, as months of preparation will make that one shot all the more gratifying.
Whether you’re doing some research for your very first trip, want to improve, or just refreshing your memory, we’re here to offer you some sage advice on how to prepare for the hunt. Hunting has many health benefits, and archery specifically is a calming, yet extremely difficult sport if your body is not well-prepared for it, so consider this a basic guide on which exercises you should employ.
What Muscles Are Used For Archery?
Archery is a full-body workout, and while you mostly focus on your hips and upper body, your legs need some preparation as well for carrying heavy equipment and hiking long distances.
For the bow hunting itself, however, your chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and the many muscles of your back will need to be well-toned for when it comes to gathering the strength to draw the bow and keep it steady enough for you to aim for a lengthy period of time. Your core will also need to be nice and strong to stabilize your spine.
With your legs, it will require focusing your exercises on your quadriceps, hamstrings, your glutes, and your calves.
This is one of the essentials of bow hunting exercises. When an archer draws their bow, they’re pushing the bow forward while simultaneously bringing the string back. This takes quite a bit of strength if you want to get a good shot, so renegade rows help to simulate it.
With a dumbbell in each hand, you get into the pushup position, interchangeably drawing one hand up and close to your ribcage before bringing it back down. If you’re looking for something similar for beginners, bench dips are also a good choice.
A nice full-body workout that best suits archers. When on a rowing machine, be sure to keep your feet planted and your hands secure on the handle. Push with your legs, pull the handle with your abdomen, and repeatedly bring the handle to your chest.
If you are the type to work at home and don’t have a rowing machine, try using bands attached to your wall.
A classic full-body exercise that strengthens your core, leg muscles, and upper body. Keep your body straight as though you were doing a push up, making sure your upper body is off the ground by resting your lower arms on the floor. Make sure your elbows are directly below your shoulders and hold that position as long as you can.
Treadmill Walking with Incline/Decline
Despite this being a treadmill exercise, this isn’t about cardio, but about strengthening your legs. Put your treadmill at an incline (we suggest 15) and walk at a nice, steady pace. You’re going to need the practice for when you are carrying heavy loads to and from your camp.
Superman with Weights
So a normal superman is just what you think: lying on your stomach and lifting your upper body and legs at the same time for as long as you can. A weighted superman, however, challenges your lower back, shoulders, and glutes a lot more. You hold weights in each hand just by your ears, lift yourself up, extend your arms forward and bring them back to their starting position, and then rest. Repeat.
Hamstrings are a very important part of keeping yourself fit for the hunt to come. The last thing you need is to get a sprain in the middle of the forest while carrying a load of heavy equipment. With this exercise, rest on the machine and keep your heels under the glider, then lift them and bring the weighted glider towards your body. Let them rest, then repeat.
If you don’t have access to a machine, you can improvise by lifting a dumbbell with your feet and curling them towards you repeatedly. Just make sure you know what you’re doing— dropping a weight onto your legs or glutes is not going to end well.
Dumbbell Shrugs and Lateral Raises
Doing these in conjunction is a good way to exercise several parts of your body at the same time. Both of these use dumbbells, so you’re killing two birds with one stone. As you stand straight, allow the dumbbells to rest at your side. Shrug your shoulders, and hold the upward motion for a time before resting. Then extend one arm laterally until it’s in line with your shoulders, then slowly allow it to come back to its starting positions. Do so again with the other arm, and then repeat the process. These greatly strengthen the muscles needed to help draw the bow and keep it steady.
The assault bike isn’t quite like your normal exercise bike— as you pedal harder, the resistance increases. It also has handles for you to push and pull as you continue to pedal, so not only are your legs getting a good workout, but you’re also helping your upper body a bit. The bike provides a good full-body workout, and we suggest you become quite familiar with it in the months leading up to hunting season.
The hike isn’t going to be easy, so these will help you get prepared for the trek. We recommend walking lunges, but if you don’t have enough space, doing some in place will still be enough. As you step forward, bend your front knee and back knee until you’re almost kneeling, but keep that back knee off the floor. Come back up to a standing position and go for it again with the other leg leading this time. Repeat.
Rob A. Hodge, Founder of Primate360. I started this site in 2019 for people who want to learn about Fitness, Survival and Healthy Living in general from people who actually have experience in these fields and succeeded in them. I’m here to help you get results. I will let you know what actually works and what doesn’t, everything is result oriented, Period