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Author Topic: Increase Draw length  (Read 1665 times)

Offline 1Longbow

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Increase Draw length
« on: May 06, 2018, 01:30:51 PM »
As I age I notice my draw length shortening. Is there any type of exercise that would help increase it ? Thank you

Offline Dave Rice

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2018, 02:07:44 PM »
The short answer is yes.

My issues of reduced draw length were intertwined with shoulder degeneration and multiple surgeries leading to loss of strength. My shortened draw length came from form issues related to strength loss, but sometimes similar form issues arise without a physical cause:

1) Not extending my bow arm at the shoulder (scrunching a bit), and
2) Craning my neck forward a bit to hit the same anchor, even when I didn't scrunch my shoulder.

Exercises for my deltoids, triceps and posterior serratus muscles has helped quite a bit. I've also dropped draw weight to make shooting more comfortable and with hopes of extending the life of my 'original equipment' shoulders. And, I no longer use a swing draw, because that loads my shoulder joint that has no cartilage remaining.

Your solution may well be different than mine. My suggestion is that in addition to specific muscles, like deltoids, general 'core' strengthening makes a noticeable difference.

Online McDave

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2018, 02:10:19 PM »
Depends.  I'm 73, and fighting the strength loss battle every day.  It's a battle I know I’ll eventually lose, but not until I have to.  I fight on two fronts: aging inevitably results in a loss of strength, and frankly, most of the time I’d rather sit in a chair and drink coffee and read the newspaper.

The reason I said “depends” is that your body may be shrinking a bit with age.  If your draw length is getting shorter because of that, I think you just have to live with it.  But if it's just attitude and strength, those are battles you can fight.

I don't normally use a clicker, but I have two fairly lightweight bows set up with clickers, a right-handed one and a left-handed one.  These are my exercise bows.  I have the clickers set so I really have to expand to make them click.  I hold at full draw for 20 seconds with each bow, 5 reps.  I can make the clicker click when I first draw the bow, but after a few seconds I can hear it click again as I begin to lose tension.  My goal is to delay that second click as long as I can.  After the 20 seconds, I get to shoot the arrow, which is kind of my reward, and it is fun to see how well I can shoot after holding for 20 seconds.  If I’m shooting outside, the dog knows she gets the frisbee thrown for her a few times in between holds, so I usually feel a frisbee bumping against the back of my leg after I shoot the shot.

Attitude wise, I just try to make it as fun as possible, so it doesn't get to be too much of a chore.  Guilt also helps.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 10:03:12 AM by McDave »
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Online starshooter

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2018, 08:27:16 PM »
McDave.. that has been a concern of mine. My big question is should I reduce poundage and would that help me with that issue? I ve been exercising with stretching the bow to full draw , hold two , three seconds then letting down slowly
Not sure if this going to help . As I am working on draw mechanics as well. I am 70 and have beginings of sore shoulder (bow side). I have to be careful...

Online Stumpkiller

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2018, 09:50:41 PM »
Stand up straight when you shoot.  ;-)

No kidding - a more formal upright "closed" form (legs in line with the target) will add inches.
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Online McDave

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2018, 10:28:18 PM »
McDave.. that has been a concern of mine. My big question is should I reduce poundage and would that help me with that issue? I ve been exercising with stretching the bow to full draw , hold two , three seconds then letting down slowly
Not sure if this going to help . As I am working on draw mechanics as well. I am 70 and have beginings of sore shoulder (bow side). I have to be careful...

Yes, poundage is a factor.  You measure your draw length with a light weight bow, say 15 pounds, and that draw length should be the same until you reach a weight where you can't draw that far.  For me, my draw length is 28” until I get to about 53-54 pounds, and then I can't draw that far anymore.  That means I shouldn't be shooting a bow more than about 50 pounds, unless I build up my strength, because I’m just kidding myself.  In other words, any bow I shoot that is more than 50 pounds is a waste, because I’m only going to draw it to 50 pounds anyway, and I would shoot a 50 pound bow more accurately because I’m able to pull it to full draw.

At our age, or any age, one should be aware of any aches and pains.  If an ache or pain doesn't go away in a day or so, you should stop doing whatever caused it, until it does go away, before it can become chronic.  I'm still shooting at 73 because I followed that advice, and I hope if I keep following it I will still be shooting at 83.
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Online starshooter

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2018, 10:35:52 AM »
So I should probably take a trip to BPS and pull out A lightweight youth bow @
15 -20 lbs and draw my normal draw length of 26"?? I could probably draw out to 27" /28".
I am 5'9" medium build . When I extend my hands out front palms touching it's 26" on the dot.
Someone here mentioned the target stance as adding inches to my draw. I could conceivably draw 27"-28".
I started out years ago with 28" bow and discovered after going to a few shoots that I was way overdrawn. I was coming off from shooting a compound. Thanks.

Online starshooter

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2018, 10:43:31 AM »
One other thing- I  am /was very comfortable with  bows in the midd to low 40#.  But recently a couple of weeks ago discovered that I was using a floating anchor which I know is a big no -no. I was  doing this to compensate from loss of accuracy . See my trailer I posted earlier. Thanks 🙏

Online McDave

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2018, 12:01:39 PM »
The measurement you get by extending your hands out is a ballpark estimate.  It may not be your actual draw length.  Your actual draw length is the distance from the valley of the nock to the back of the bow, when you have drawn and anchored at full draw.  It does not change with bow poundage.  The only thing that changes with bow poundage is your ability to pull the bow back.  At a certain poundage, you may not be able to draw the bow all the way to your draw length, which means that bow is too heavy for you.  It may be that you can get stronger and eventually pull that bow, or you may learn to pull more with your back muscles and be able to pull that bow to your actual draw length, but you can't do it right now and you risk injuring yourself if you force yourself to do it.

First, you should learn to draw with your back muscles.  Then, if you want to draw a heavier bow, you should either overdraw a bow you can handle, as Tony suggested, or draw and hold a bow you can handle for an extended time, as I do.  Trying to draw a bow too heavy for you with your arm muscles is an invitation to injury.

Once you learn how to draw a bow properly, and have a bow you can draw and anchor at your draw length, then you can experiment with differences in the way you draw the bow that might change your draw length.  Rod Jenkins is famous for his classes, where he teaches people to expand more than they were doing before the class, and maybe add 1/2” to their draw length.  This of course adds power to their shot.  Standing upright perpendicular to the target, as Stumpkiller suggests, might add 1/2” to your draw length, if you weren't already doing that.  Some people do the opposite: they choose to stand with a more open stance and shorten their draw length by 1/2” because they feel they are more accurate with an open stance and a shorter draw length.  These are all tweaks you can do to fine tune your shot after you have the basic form down.
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Online Terry Green

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2018, 12:08:44 PM »
Stand up straight when you shoot.  ;-)

No kidding - a more formal upright "closed" form (legs in line with the target) will add inches.

Respectfully I have to 100% disagree if your form is correct ....form is from the waist up it has nothing to do with your legs or whether you're standing straight up... I proved  this in the Bowhunters of Tradgang DVD on video....once again standing straight up has nothing to do with proper form if you're achieving the magic T as I call it.... check out the form clock thread on the shooters forum as a matter of fact that's where I'm moving this thread to
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Online McDave

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2018, 12:14:08 PM »
You should also be aware that you can take a lightweight bow, say 15#, and draw it back a foot past your draw length by using your arm muscles.  That doesn't mean that your draw length is a foot more than you thought it was; it just means you know how to haul back on the bow with your arms.  No matter how easy it is to pull a 15# bow, if you are drawing the bow correctly with your back muscles, you won't be able to pull it past your draw length because you have pulled around in a J shape so that backward motion has stopped and the force is all between your shoulder blades and your spine.
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Online starshooter

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2018, 12:33:21 PM »
 Drawing with my back muscles is still elusive to me. My mental concept is that my back  cannot extend  or act a pulley to any object ,it can only hold you upright maybe lend support to your trapezoid area . I just cant see how a back can pull..
Been studying intently Arnie Moes videos on basic
Drawing mechanics.  Never realized that a simple task of pulling a lever( bow) was subject to so many. mechanics. I am deep into the weeds here.

Online starshooter

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2018, 12:48:04 PM »
I am going to try some light bows and see what you mean. I saw Arnie on   Moe
twaching a guy with an elastic band and showing him to keep to his hand limp rlike a dishrag. "Lining up my bones "made sense but not to the point where my bow arm was ram rod straight out fully extended. There appears to be a slight bend in Arnies arm as he draws. So I take it to mean that my skeletal structure will line up in its own individual way if I relax and feeling my draw. I don't think it should be a wrestling match. I should be able to stretch into my back at my draw. Right now I am at a point where I have to consider getting lighter in my holding weight. That way I might begin to feel the steps that are being taught.. sorry for so many posts..

Online McDave

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2018, 12:54:11 PM »
Yes, I expect that is the problem.  It is a common problem with shooting the trad bow, maybe the most common problem.  Most people really can't feel their back muscles in the same direct way they can feel their biceps.  Of course you feel the pain when you injure them, but not so much in general use.

Volume 3 of Masters of the Bare Bow has a good section by Rod Jenkins on form that you might want to check out.  There is also a section with Darryl Quidort on use of the Formaster.  This is a device for reminding you rather abruptly whether or not you are using your back muscles.  In general, you start pulling the arrow back with your arm, but almost immediately transfer the force to your back muscles.  Your drawing elbow starts off sticking out to the side of the bow, and toward the end of the draw as your back muscles contract, it moves around behind the bow to line up with the arrow.  This is the J shape: the elbow moving back at the top of the J and then around so the elbow ends up behind the arrow at the bottom of the J.
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Online starshooter

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2018, 04:22:22 PM »
Anybody have a light 20lb bow that could sell?
Are the takedown Samiks and Bear Paws worth it? Thanks
They offer additional limbs that allow one to upgrade as bow weight increases right?

Online McDave

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2018, 05:43:27 PM »
A 20# bow would be useful if you have a grandchild or someone who might shoot with you sometimes.  If not, I’m sure you could handle a 25-30# bow just fine, since you probably want to go back to your 40# bow when you can.
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Online starshooter

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2018, 01:02:27 PM »
I checked out some PSE Razorbacks at BPS. I tried a 25 # in the indoor range
And noticed how much more relaxed my draw felt. It was awkward as I have never shot a recurve since age 10 . The price point was very much to my liking as well as the fact that I could upgrade to 30 , 35 & 40 lb limbs. For training I can't see how it would best bad deal on the short term. I really need to correct my draw and figure out the rear shoulder/ elbow alignment along with the transfer of power to my mythical back.
I also checked a 30# and the draw was more solid feeling but with a very slight tremble at the hold..
Good idea??

Online McDave

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2018, 02:09:25 PM »
Yes, I have a PSE Razorback for my grandchildren and other guests who want to shoot.  Seems to work fine for that purpose, and I’m sure it will work fine for your purpose as well.  They actually make PSE Razorback arrows, 1000 spine, which you can find at Lancaster and probably other places.  May be overkill for your purpose, but they sure do zip along when shot out of a 25# bow!  If I were you, I would start with the 25#, as that seems to be the one you’re most comfortable with.
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Online starshooter

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2018, 02:17:40 PM »
Thanks! I believe i will. They are ridiculously cheap and the added option getting work up limbs  makes it more possible. Quality and durability issues may occur but I think its what I will benefit from in the near term. :)

Online starshooter

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2018, 05:32:50 PM »
Will GT Entradas 600 full length shoot well out of this setup? (31") Reason for asking is my draw length mght possibly go to 27" considering the light weight and
Recurve vs longbow design? I don't want to be hampered by too short of an arrow
as I am attempting to get a better draw and anchor per discussions on this thread. There is no  arbitrary anchor point at this point and I want to reprogram
 30 " safe ?
The Razorback arrows you mentioned are safe only up to 26 1/2"( my draw length with longbow).  Thanks .

Online McDave

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2018, 06:18:55 PM »
I assume you’re talking about the 28” Razorback arrow.  I don’t know why a 28” arrow would only be safe drawn to 26 1/2”.  Normally you would think a 28” arrow would be safe if drawn to 27”.  But PSE knows their products better than I do.  I can tell you that those are the same arrows I use in my beginning archery classes with Samick Sage 25# bows, which are very similar to the PSE you are buying.  When I’m demoing shots for the class I commonly draw to my normal draw length of 28”, and some of the students might draw that far too, although most are too young to draw that far.  After many hundreds of shots, we have never had one break, although we have lost a few when students shoot over the backstop into the weeds.  But you have to use your own judgment on that.

Since the 600 Entradas will be over spined for the PSE, it is actually a good thing that you are leaving them at 31”, since that will weaken the spine a little.  Performance may not match the Razorback arrows, but should work fine for form practice.
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Online McDave

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2018, 10:38:08 AM »
I was concerned about Starshooter's comment regarding PSE Razorback arrows, because our club teaches a youth course where we use them, and I didn't want us to be doing anything that wasn't safe.  I called Lancaster, where I bought them, and they told me that there was no 26.5” limit on the arrows.  They are made to be shot from bows of 30# or less, and as long as that limit is observed, they can be drawn to the full 28”.
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Online starshooter

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2018, 05:14:53 PM »
McDave, my bad I must have gotten that info from another supplier as was seaching around for them. The numbers got muddied up somehow. Of course you
Pull right to the back of the point ( in most cases) .

Online starshooter

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2018, 05:16:56 PM »
Can pull back to the point .. as long as it doesn't exceed the bow's capacity.
Sorry.

Online McDave

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Re: Increase Draw length
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2018, 09:16:45 PM »
 No prob, Charles.  Glad I don't have to start checking everybody's draw length before they shoot those arrows!  What is the max draw length of your PSE bow?
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