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Author Topic: Fitness for new and experienced archers  (Read 681 times)

Offline Krex1010

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Fitness for new and experienced archers
« on: January 01, 2019, 11:31:02 PM »
I’m not sure if this belongs in the Form section but it seems form related to me..
One thing I rarely see mentioned here is things we do besides shooting to keep our bodies in good shooting shape. I’m 40 and shooting a trad bow is something I only started doing a couple years ago. I had fairly major knee surgery last year and didn’t shoot for several months as I rehabbed my legs....and then when I started shooting again I realized how out of shape my upper body had become. I started shooting daily to try and get back into form and then was experiencing upper back pain, elbow pain etc...And I don’t shoot heavy bows. My form had gone to crud and I was shooting just badly, even as my strength was coming back I was aching and not shooting well. This really had me upset because I’ve always been a good athlete and was always reasonably fit.
A friend who is a Physical therapist told me to start strength training. I absolutely hate lifting weights and will not go to a gym. My friend said just do push-ups then.....so I started doing a basic push-up workout 5 days a week. Nothing crazy. After two weeks the aches and pains pretty much went away, my form became much more solid and my shooting improved dramatically. I’ve stuck with it and I’m shooting better than I ever have. And I basically just do 50-60 push ups 4-5 times a week.

I figured I’d share this, I really think if I had done that basic workout from the start of my trad journey I would have progressed much faster, plus even a basic push up routine can help prevent injury and help balance the muscles we all use in shooting. Food for thought, I’d love to hear what anyone else does to stay in shooting shape besides shooting.
"You can't cheat the mountain pilgrim"

Online McDave

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Re: Fitness for new and experienced archers
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2019, 03:38:50 PM »
As I age, I lose strength.  Left alone, the result would be that I would shoot worse every year.  To combat that, or at least postpone the inevitable, I have developed archery exercises that I do on the days I don´t shoot, which is about every other day.  My exercises are to draw a 40# bow and hold it at full draw for 20 seconds with good form, and then shoot the shot.  I repeat this exercise 5 times, and then do it on the left side, so each side of my body gets worked out.  It took a while to work up to this, maybe 6 weeks.  I started with a 25# bow and increased the weight every week.  I suppose you could do the same thing by starting with a 5 second hold and increasing your hold time every week if you didn’t have access to bows with different weights.  It not only is a good exercise, but it gives me a gauge of how fast I’m losing the battle.  So far, after doing these exercises for more than a year, they actually seem to be easier to do than they were when I first got to the 40# level, so I guess I’m holding my own, maybe even gaining a little.
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Online fnshtr

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Re: Fitness for new and experienced archers
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2019, 05:55:14 PM »
Well, one of the blessings of having cardiac problems is having to go to rehab three times a week. I'm finishing up "phase II" next week and will enter phase III after that. Phase three is unmonitored exercise three times a week, where phase II exercise is done while wearing a heart monitor.

I've noticed an improvement in my shooting that I definitely credit my exercise regimen for. Using machines or free weights really lets you see improvement.

Good shooting and good health to you!
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Offline Krex1010

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Re: Fitness for new and experienced archers
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2019, 09:16:43 AM »
Good stuff guys, thank you for sharing.
I think we all know there is a physical aspect to shooting trad bows, more so than compounds in my opinion. Father Time is undefeated but taking care of ourselves better can keep him at bay a little and hopefully postpone the inevitable and make us better archers on the way. I guess I’m looking at archery like other athletic sports where the practices and workouts are more strenuous than the game itself, so when it’s time to play (shooting in this case) you can just go out and play.
"You can't cheat the mountain pilgrim"

Online mahantango

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Re: Fitness for new and experienced archers
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2019, 04:29:42 PM »
I totally agree that basic fitness is crucial to archery and just about every other activity in life. I'm  soon to be 59  and while I no longer hit the gym (no money, no time), I religiously do basic body-weight workouts - pushups, planks, crunches and dumbbell/kettlebell lifts. If I take a week off, believe me I feel like crap. I've also worked heavy physical jobs my entire life - construction and tree work. Don't know if it keeps me young or is going to kill me, but I still wear the same size that I did in high school when I ran varsity track.
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Online BWallace10327

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Re: Fitness for new and experienced archers
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2019, 10:28:09 PM »
Don't know if it keeps me young or is going to kill me
:clapper: :clapper:
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Offline hickstick

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Re: Fitness for new and experienced archers
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2019, 07:46:19 PM »
I'm 50 as well, but have always done other physical activities, be it ice hockey,  karate, cycling or other high intensity exercises.   

I'm also a certified personal trainer and can attest that exercise, a part from just injury prevention will also aid your archery in many other ways....like simple balance challenges, mental focus,  breathing, and accomplishing tasks under stress.

I find band work a fantastic enhancement exercise to accompany archery. 
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Online Chain2

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Re: Fitness for new and experienced archers
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2019, 05:34:55 PM »
I’m 60 in a month or so. I’m in the gym 4-5 days a week. Sometimes I take Thursday mornings and give my britts a run about a mile or mile and a half. My gym workouts are lifting on Mondays. Core on Wed. Tuesday and Friday I go to spin class. If I’m in the gym Thursday I do cardio or yoga. Yes, yoga. Great for balance. Plus after work I get the Britts out for an hours walk. I work construction(supervision) and I average about 5 miles a day and 15-20 flights of stairs a day according to my smart phone. It never gets easier. But if I didn’t work it into my daily schedule I’d never make it work.
"Windage and elevation Mrs. Langdon, windage and elevation..."

Offline Tedd

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Re: Fitness for new and experienced archers
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2019, 03:04:08 PM »
Lift or run. Everyday. Alternating. Not because I like it, because I want to bow hunt into old age! I'm 53. Sometimes I get sore. I have a sore knee at the moment. But I can hunt big mountains with enthusiasm.
Be aware that sometimes right after lifting you can not accurately shoot, so timing workouts and target practice is important. And sometimes on a day after lifting you are stiff and it will affect your shot.
 When the days are long enough to shoot, I come home from work, shoot, then get back in the truck and go to the gym. though it would be a lot faster to stop at the gym before I got home!
  Overall you will be so much stronger. After years of lifting every other day, I find that my most comfortable shooting is after I have been on vacation for a week where I can't go to the gym. Upon return the bow feels so smooth to draw, I'm more flexible and the draw weight feels like a toy. So there are some trade offs. don't over-do it and be stiff or sore. It's pretty easy to figure out a routine. Don't lift too heavy. Get a trainer if you aren't sure what to do.
Tedd

Offline hickstick

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Re: Fitness for new and experienced archers
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2019, 03:08:48 PM »
Get a trainer if you aren't sure what to do.
Tedd

 :clapper:  just as with archery, form is everything....the best thing a trainer can do is injury prevention by monitoring form, especially for us older folk.  (speaking as both an 'older folk' and a certified personal trainer. 
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Online Chain2

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Re: Fitness for new and experienced archers
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2019, 06:56:29 PM »
Trainer is a good idea. Also low or no impact. Spinning gives me a great cardio workout without the impact wear and tear on my body. Good Luck to all. Once you make it part of your day, you will feel odd if you miss a workout.
"Windage and elevation Mrs. Langdon, windage and elevation..."

Offline Wilderlife

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Re: Fitness for new and experienced archers
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2019, 02:41:06 PM »
Depending on how you want to hunt, or shoot, maintaining fitness is a huge deal. I take my fitness fairly seriously, but I'm hardly a gym junkie/bodybuilder type.

When I first started really getting into hunting, I got access to some crazy rough country here in Australia. Steep, rocky, etc. I was in my early 20's but a my university years of drinking too much and eating a lot of bad food saw me get reasonably unfit. I always thought fitness was easy until I stopped playing regular sport, and this became painfully obvious when I tried to hunt my favourite spots and could barely walk out of them. I know it might sound silly to older people that a 23 year old wasn't fit enough, but it's true.

Since then, I started learning a lot more about hunting and fitness on youtube and really got into blokes like Cameron Hanes and Remi Warren, who are in great shape and stay that way either by hunting regularly, or training regularly so they can continue to hunt as best they can. I liked that idea.

I started playing touch football regularly in order to build stamina and speed, and lifting weights regularly as well. Strength is always a good thing - whether it be for carrying a heavy load on your back, having good legs to push you up a mountain, throw around a dead animal easily when butchering, or being able to draw a bow.

I've gone through fluctuations of working out over the last few years, and a lot of it has to do with the hours I've worked and the limited gym options available in a very small town where I lived. I'd find the time for a few months and then something would change in my lifestyle and all of a sudden I couldn't get to the gym enough to justify a membership, so playing touch footy took over. Now I live in a bigger town I've been going to the gym regularly and it's doing me wonders.

The blokes in the gym are hunter friendly and put me on a program that will help with building strength in important areas for hunting. Lots of deadlifts, squats, and rows, among other things that either build my chest up a little bit, or assist with range of motion and mobility. I have to say, the back and row type exercises really seem to help with drawing a bow.

I recently broke my compound bow and the only recurve I have at the moment is a 65lb BW. I got it a week ago. I consider myself a fairly strong bloke and I'm only 31 years old, but this bow is very difficult to draw back. Besides working a lot more on my fitness and strength, I am going to buy a lighter bow.

So in short, I personally go to the gym a lot and lift weights, as well as regularly hike/hunt, in order to keep fit. I'm just lucky that here in Australia I get to hunt 365 days a year with no closed seasons or bag limits hindering my opportunities, so my favourite thing to do to keep fit is just hunt.

I figure it'll be easier to maintain fitness into my later years, than it would be to let it go and then try to get it all back in my 40's.

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