Yes, archery can be used to build muscle. The act of drawing your arm back to shoot the arrow puts tension on a lot of your upper body muscles. These include the chest, arms, deltoids, and rotator cuffs. These are groups of muscles that are used to hold the shoulder joint in place and stabilize your arm through a range of motion.
The muscles worked out through archery are the abdominals, rotator cuffs, deltoids, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, gluteals, quadriceps, and hamstrings. This means that most major muscle groups in your body are targeted through this seemingly chilled physical exercise.
As archery is an exercise where you repeat the same motions over and over, the repetition will work to build and tone your muscles. This is why it is so important to ensure you have the correct form when drawing your bow. It can lead to serious injuries if the wrong form is used.
A bow can weigh up to 70 pounds. This means that a decent amount of muscle strength is required to simply hold the bow up and still. The motions that you move your arms and body in to shoot are different from those which you would use in everyday life.
This means that you will build muscles that you previously may not even have realised existed!
Is archery a good workout?
Yes, archery is a good workout. It can be performed by anyone, regardless of their level of ability, any physical disabilities they may have, their age, or their gender. This means that as athletes age and lose some of their physicality, archery is a sport that remains accessible. It has featured as a Paralympics sport since 1960.
Archery can be used as a workout in many ways and is more taxing than you may initially think. It is a low impact exercise but do not be fooled into thinking it will be easy.
Archery uses a lot of muscles in your body. It requires a strong core to keep you stable and in an immobile position as you line up your bow and arrow. Holding and shooting the bow and arrow requires a lot of muscle strength and the ability to maintain the same position.
The way that these muscles are worked is very similar to how they would move if you were lifting weights in the gym. It has been compared to the impact of upright rows, back raises, single arm rows, side raises, and the military press.
You will notice your arms and chest becoming increasingly toned the longer you spend playing archery. You will likely also begin to notice a tighter, more toned core and an improved posture.
Is archery physically demanding?
Archery is a physically demanding sport when you are competing at a decent level. At amateur and recreational level, the level of physical demand is greatly reduced and can be altered to suit your personal fitness levels. You can purchase bows in a large variety of weights and can shoot your arrows standing or sitting down.
Not only do you use a huge amount of upper body strength, you will need to walk a lot during archery tournaments. This is because you will need to travel to and from your targets. During some competitions you will need to walk up to 5 miles, and this could also involve carrying heavy weights.
It is considered to be an anaerobic sport, combining muscular strength and endurance. Young people should be attempting to perform at least one archery (or similar level activity) plus 2 other muscle building exercises for at least 60 minutes each every week.
Before beginning an archery session, it is important to stretch and warm up correctly. This will prevent you from causing any injury to yourself. It should be combined with other strength training and cardiovascular activity to keep you in optimal fitness.
If you do not warm up and stretch sufficiently then you are likely to put undue strain on your muscles and joints. This could cause serious problems down the road.
Does archery hurt?
As with any kind of physical activity that works your muscles, archery is likely to cause you some muscular pain and soreness. Provided you warm up and cool down correctly you should not run into any problems that are too serious.
The most common injuries associated with archery are archer’s shoulder and tendonitis. Archer’s shoulder is where the rotator cuff muscles tear as you draw the bow due to the repetitive strain.
This can lead to the dislocation of your shoulder, causing a lot of irritation and swelling near to the joint. Ensure you are holding your body in a comfortable stance without putting strain on any of your joints to reduce the risks of archer’s shoulder.
Tendinitis is where the tendons in a specific area of your body are inflamed. This tends to happen in the shoulders, wrists, and elbows. The likelihood of this happening is greatly reduced by ensuring that you maintain a correct form. If you find this difficult, then it is wise to reduce the draw weight that you are using.
Another common archery injury is known as string slap. This occurs when the string of the bow hits your forearm as you release to shoot the arrow. It is not a serious injury, but it can be surprisingly painful and will often leave a bruise. You can purchase arm guards for your forearm to reduce the impact. These tend to be fairly cheap and will be well worth the money.
You can also experience string slap on your chest. This is not serious, but can be uncomfortable and tends to leave a nasty bruise.
You can purchase chest guards for protection. It is also a good idea to wear tightly fitting clothes to ensure nothing can get caught on the bowstring. If you have large breasts, we recommend wearing a high compression sports bra. Correcting your technique and form will also go a long way to reducing chest string slaps.