Training to your Level and Desire

As many of you are aware I also have a Tumblr blog, this is to help publicize my WordPress blog and help reach more beginner archers.  When I asked for questions here on my WordPress blog one of my Tumblr followers, tuchesuavae, asked the following…

I was wondering, what exercises do you do? What is your regiment with band work? Weight, tension, supply details, repetition, how long do you hold, how often, etc.

I initially responded …

I have a 6 day-a-week training schedule including weight training, shooting, walking, aerobic and Pilates. My training schedule varies depending on the time of year. 

Sometimes I use a rowing machine or weights however I no longer add weight. Do not want to add mass; just lean strong muscles. I use bands for warm-up EVERY time I shoot. I shoot about 150-200 arrows a day. 

However I thought I would answer the question in more detail and discuss the importance of training at your level. A training plan for any athlete is developed in conjunction with the athlete, their short and long-term goals and their current physical abilities and limitations. Before developing a training plan, you need to ask yourself, “What do I want out of archery?”, since the answer will dictate how you proceed.

Personally, until 2010 I practiced with a training plan fit for an intermediate level archer. In 2010, prior to the 2011 Canada Games, I met with my coach and expressed my desire to go to the games and compete. She developed a plan that increased the number of arrows progressively, weight training without mass gain and developed a higher level of core muscles. Although at the time, it seemed like a lot, my coach explained that if that was my goal that is what it would take to get there, and she was right.

Every level of competitive sports has a new level of commitment. Sometimes you need to make sacrifices to achieve your goals. If you are planning on practicing only in classes and expecting to be a world champion, you are sorely mistaken.  For two straight years, I had a limited social life outside of the sport and the friends I had there.

My basic schedule included, taking into account time for studying, tournament schedules and travel.

  • Core muscle development one-day a week including weight training and Pilates.
  • 1-2 days of rowing machine
  • 1-2 days of cardiovascular including walking, jogging or biking. 20-30 minutes with a continuous high-heart rate.
  • Shooting 150-200 arrows 3-5 days a week.
  • One day a week I rested.

My six-day a week plan was tailored specifically for me and became more involved and more difficult as the shooting season progressed. It was made this way because I wanted it to be and therefore I stuck to the plan and attained my goals.  Remember my plan will probably not work for you, mainly because my strengths, limitations, and goals differ.

If you are ready to take it to the next level in archery or any sport, seek out a trained and qualified coach. Work together with your coach to understand where you want to go and together develop a plan on how to get you there.

MK Archery Vera Limbs

Every bow requires limbs, most beginner, and some intermediate bow kits come with limbs. If an archer moves towards competition archery, they will want to upgrade this essential element. Designers of limbs strive for an ideal combination of speed, stability and smoothness when deciding what materials to use and how to combine them.

Modern recurve limbs are made from multiple layers including fiberglass, carbon and/or wood and usually are laminated over a core of wood or carbon foam. A good archer will be able to shoot well with any good set of limbs, no matter the composition and elite archers often have a selection of various types for different training purposes, they usually gravitate towards one.

Foam-core limbs are more resistant to warping, are usually lighter and are not affected by humidity and/or weather conditions. They provide a consistent straight smooth pull curve and a faster shot. Carbon foam-core limbs are usually a lot more expensive and require a lot care. Archers need to inspect and repair even minor imperfections as they can lead to massive failure. Whereas, Wood-Core Limbs are usually far less expensive than foam-core, and are usually more durable. Although they usually have, a little more mass weight they can deliver a slightly higher speed with the same poundage as foam-core limbs.

Manufacturers produce limbs in various strengths or draw weights to service all types of archers and are measured in poundage (#) at a certain draw length (usually twenty-eight inches) and by length of risers.

Example is 66”-34# @ 28” or 68”- 32#@28”

Since not all archers have the same draw length, the same limbs will be different for each archer. The same set of 34# limbs for an archer with a 24” draw length will pull less than 34# and an archer with a greater than 28” draw will pull more than 34#. You can easily determine your draw weight using a bowscale at your local archery shop.

Limbs also come in various lengths that will determine the overall length of the bow which may be a factor for shorter archers.  This chart can help you determine which length to order.

Riser Size Long Limbs Medium Limbs Short Limbs
23” 68” 66” 64”
25” 70” 68” 66”

Limbs use to be designed specifically for the manufacturers riser and once you purchased a riser you were bound to that manufacturer for limbs or you would have to change both limbs and riser. Now most manufacturers use International Limb Fittings or ILF and are an unofficial standard that allow limbs manufactured by different companies to fit on the various risers.

There are several great manufacturers of limbs and in 2010 MK Archery started producing a great set of competition limbs.  Currently holding world records in recurve men with scores of 1386 for FITA and 342 for 90M. The two top of the line models are the MK 1440 (foam-core) and VERA (wood-core).  The limbs are made from multiple crossed carbon layers, laminated over a foam or wood core. If you are seriously considering investing in a good set of limbs, consider some from MK Archery.