Archery: Does it Help Tone Your Arms?

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With archery, you use a bow & arrow, and the activity is hundreds of years old. When partaking in the sport, you use several muscle groups in your body. Therefore, to answer does archery tone your arms in short, yes it does. However, it does not only tone your arms but other parts of the upper body as well.

Will Archery Build Muscles?

As you utilize different parts of your body from your triceps (found in the back upper arm), deltoid muscles (in your shoulders), and latissimus dorsi muscles (in the lower back) you will find that archery builds muscles and you will notice them being stretched the more you play the sport. The important thing is to do alternative exercises in your daily workout to help improve your shooting and all the muscles groups involved.

On the other hand, can strength in the upper body help improve your shot? Let us find out with a good example here! For instance, you are at a shooting range and shoot about three round a day at a coin-sized target out to 30 yards. You have two to three Olympic competitors practicing every day up to three hours on the course.

Then you have an elderly Japanese man who shoots three rounds a day at the same range as you. Who are you going to place your bet on to hit the target? The possibility is you will bet your money on the Olympic shooter! Now each one-steps up to make their shot.

The Olympic shooters do not bother to prepare and pull their arrows, and some manage to nearly hit the target and give up. Then you have your hobby shooter that takes their time and does some breathing cycles before raising the bow and comes close to the mark.

The senior man steps up. He does not pick up his bow and stands there meditating. He bends over, raises his bow, makes a full draw, and lets the arrow go. He makes a perfect shot and hits the dead center at 50-yards. Now he stands there without reacting, says thank you to the bow, smiles leave quietly and sit down.

Therefore what can you learn from this example?

  • The first point is that Japanese archers do not touch a bow for many years while learning archery. They do more rote muscle movements until perfecting their form.
  • The second point is that no shot is perfect unless you first perfect it in your mind.
  • The third point is if you want to learn to aim, never aim at a goal that is larger than your thumb.

The truth is you can have muscle strength, but it is meaningless if your form is are not perfect. Therefore, by drawing the bow daily with a perfectly balanced posture leads to an ideal structure with adequate muscle build to complete the task. Another fact is if you shoot up to 300 arrows a day it will eventually build and strengthen your muscles but only targets specific muscle groups involved with the activity.

archery strength

Exercises to Improve Your Upper Body for Archery

While upper body strength does not help to make, a center shot it will help to draw the bow to release the arrow. Here are some exercises you can do to improve your upper body strength.

Boost your arm strength:

You can stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart and hold with your right hand on a stationary object with a dumbbell in your left hand. You need to keep the dumbbell straight down to rest in front of the pelvis. Now slowly raise your arm to your side and continue doing this until the elbow is at shoulder level. Repeat a couple of times and switch over to the right arm. By doing these exercises helps to strengthen the muscles giving you the power to hold and pull the bow.

Spend some time on a rowing machine:

Row, row, and row your boat as it helps improve the primary muscles used in the sport. Always remember to keep the back straight and slowly push off the feet to slide back until the legs almost extended and return to the starting position.

Do overhead triceps:

Stand straight with your feet close together with one slightly in front of the other and flat on the floor. Start by picking up a dumbbell with both hands and extending the arms above the head. Now slowly reflex the arms by lowering the forearms behind and towards the back until you feel a stretch in the triceps. After completing this, bring your arms back up to end the rep and repeat.

Do Lat Pulldown Exercises

In archery, the most significant muscle in the back is the latissimus used in archery for drawing the bow. Here you can do a cable close-grip pull down. When seated on the machine, place the feet flat on the floor below you and put your hands above while grasping the cable attachment. Pull down on the cable and return it with your arms fully extended and repeat.

Frequently Asked Questions

By now, you can see it is essential to do some form of exercise to help make drawing the bow simpler but does not determine if you are going to hit your goal. There are other factors to consider as well. Here are some questions asked by our regular readers.

How do you strengthen your bow arm?

With the single arm dumbbell row, you can boost your arm muscles that help to draw the bow. The exercise helps you to shoot longer and increases the draw weight.

Does archery give you a good workout?

Yes, it does to some extent as you use your upper body a lot and also walk a lot when partaking in bowhunting or moving between 3D archery targets.

What muscles do you use to draw the bow?

The primary muscles used to draw the bow are the upper back, shoulders, and arms. Therefore, your upper body gets a workout and to gain enough strength you can consider doing the exercises mentioned in the article.

What can you learn from archery?

As an archer, you learn to focus on your form and tune out distractions at the same time. You learn to release the bowstring and concentrate on better. Further, it also helps you to handle high-pressure situations in your daily life.

Is archery physically demanding?

Yes, it is, but it is also an enjoyable game. You will be burning loads of calories, build your upper body, and learn to concentrate and focus on a goal.

Will you lose weight with archery?

The answer is yes and no, as it all depends on the type of archery you plan to take part. Partaking in archery as an activity can help improve your overall fitness. Furthermore, if you do a lot of walking it helps to burn more calories. Bowhunting and archery tag is an excellent way for you to lose weight while getting fit.

Therefore, if you want to improve your bow draw, you do need upper body strength, and you can only achieve this by doing alternative exercises. With time, partaking in archery can help tone your arms to some extent.

Can archery cause injuries?

When using various muscles in the body you are always at risk of injury and archery is no different. To avoid typical bow injuries, it is vitally important that you warm up properly before playing the sport. Also, make sure to rest after an injury and get checked out by a doctor before using the muscles again.


I'm Isaac Murphy and at the moment I am a student. I took up archery as a hobby about 3 years ago and built this blog to share some of the things I have learned and to help those starting out in this sport. Check out my bio here

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