Simple Archery Exercises

One misconception about archery training is you need to do a lot of heavy weight training to reach the next level, and this is simply not true. In fact, heavy weight training can actually hinder you archery career. If you develop very large biceps it can hamper your form since you may have problem creating straight lines from the arrow through your anchor point and the back of your elbow.  Since long, lean, strong muscles are preferred over large muscle mass, it is important to do exercises with less weight and more repetitions rather than heavier  weights.

For younger archers, that are still growing, you do not want to hurt yourself or get ahead of your natural body development. Any type of weight training before your body is ready to accept it can do more damage than good long term.

Below are a couple of simple exercises to help increase you upper body strength for archery.

Open Door Push-outs

Anyone can develop some muscle and endurance without heavy weights, by using your body weight. Open Door Push-outs are a safe and easy way to train your back shoulder muscles for archery.

  • Using an open doorway, standing with your feet flat on the floor and slightly less than arm-length away, place your hands on either side of the door frame
  • In a very controlled manner, lean towards the door, similar to a push-up
  • Once your arms are at least 90 degrees, push yourself back out again.
  • Repeat several times.

Once you have mastered the above without any problems, you can vary it by standing further back or doing deeper push-ups.

Ball Exercise

Since it is almost impossible to be completely still for any amount of time, it is important to develop a fine controlled approach with shooting. One simple training exercise that will help develop a strong and controlled bow arm is the simple ball exercise.

  • Standing perpendicular to a wall and using a volley or soccer ball
  • Hold ball at shoulder height at arm length against the wall with a flat hand.
  • Using only your arm move the ball in a figure eight motion
  • Set a timer for 30 seconds.
  • Turn around and repeat with the other arm

Once you have mastered the above without any difficulties, you can increase the time by 30 second intervals to help build control.

Although, these exercises should be safe for just about everyone, it is important, especially for young archers, to consult a qualified archery coach before you add any type of training to their regular program.

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17 thoughts on “Simple Archery Exercises

  1. Hey Jordan,
    just found your site while looking up some archery tips and techniques. Fair play to you, as its the only one I’ve found with that much detail for beginners.
    Right, here’s why I’m mailing you.
    I’m 32, married, with a gorgeous 7 month old baby girl, Lucy. After watching the Olympics I thought to myself would it be possible for someone with absolutely no professional sports background to start a discipline now with the intention of qualifying for 2016. still don’t know why but emailed a local radio station here in Ireland and they ran with it. I started my first class last Tuesday and absolutely loved it. Going back again tonight.
    I guess why I’m sending this is to see your thoughts on the whole thing and to maybe clarify that I’m not completely crazy ha ha.
    My coach is one of the best in Ireland and he seems up for the challenge. Have been doing exercises, including the ones on your site and Will hopefully get my own equipment soon.
    Any pointers would be much appreciated.
    Thanks a million
    Dave
    Oh ya, good luck in the championships and hopefully see you in rio ha ha

    • Dave, Be aware that to make the Olympics; your country will need to win a qualifying spot and every country has different rules about who gets that spot once they have it. However my parents have taught me that anything is possible if you are dedicated. My coach has often told me that hard work will win out over talent, however a little of each goes a long way. :)

      “Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” – Gail Devers

  2. Hi!

    I’m not an archer, but just googled the “door frame” exercised and your site came up. I have been doing that for a few years and thought I’d see if there was anything online about it!

    I love home exercise – press ups, sit ups, dips etc- all free and super good for strength and conditioning. i randomly started doing the door frame one and I find it great for the pecs.

    Glad that I am not alone doing this :)

    All the best with your archery and training

    Nige

  3. It seems that every single person who does archery has that exact hat – I don’t know why, but it just seems to be popular. I’m like the only person at my club that rocks up with no hat. This actually has nothing to do with the exercises (which were very helpful by the way), I just thought it was rather funny :)

  4. Hi, i started archery a few months ago. And searching for additional excercises i found this page. When i looked at the open door it took a while to sink in that its actualy a push up under a different angle. Push ups strengthen the chest muscles not your back. I can know because of a birth defect i must make sure i never train my chest muscles (long story). If you want to train your shoulders back muscles you should face the doorway the opposite way. However face the other way without falling is quite a challenge ;-)

  5. I am also a relatively new entrant into the archery community, and looking for exercises. This post is very helpful!

    One thing I’ve found is that the disciplines I’ve learned in three years of Pilates have been surprisingly applicable to archery. Pilates has taught me to address and control bits and pieces of my body separately (since each area has its own bad habits which need to be unlearned) in order to bring them back together again in subconscious harmony. That has made it much easier when a coach tells me to tuck pelvis, tighten abs, inhale, exhale, contract right lower trap and so on.

    I wonder if anyone else had applied Pilates to Archery.

    • Breathing technique is integral to archery: Forced Controlled exhale taught in Pilates: stabilizes trunk muscle that reflexively improves quality of fine motor movement such as release of bowstring and grip. To recruit core muscles, shoulder girdle stabilizers (as we were taught in Pilates) from taking aim to follow through will definitely improve your game :)

  6. Pingback: Simple Archery Exercises | Jordan Sequillion | Cold Wind

  7. Damn. Was just thinking about doing a piece on archery exercises, but one that was specifically going to be about weight training… Let me know if I’m going to be treading on your toes!

    john – theinfinitecurve.com

  8. Hi Jordan! Thanks for this article! I will be doing these, especially the ball. My bow arm is still not perfect but it’s okay it will all become better :)

  9. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page
    layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect
    with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or
    2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

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