While basic archery skills can be learned quickly by novices, mastering the sport takes years of training. However, not all of your training can be completed on the range. As a sport, archery requires knowledge of your form, core strength, and upper body strength, all of which can be developed through a vigorous cross-training regimen. If you are a beginning archer, wanting to take your abilities to the next level, consider one of the following sports to supplement your time with the bow.
Ballet, or any type of formal dance, can make you more aware of your form, which is highly important when you are practicing archery. If you have problems such as lifting your shoulder to your ear when you shoot or hitting your wrist when you release your arrow, then ballet may help increase your awareness of how you stand and where each part of your body is in relation to the other parts.
Additionally, ballet or ballroom dancing will help give you proper posture and a strong line that extends from your shoulder blades to your fingertips, which will increase your overall control and make the actual act of shooting require less strength.
Similar to dance, yoga will increase your self-awareness and help your posture. Additionally, many poses, such as plank and downward dog, will strengthen your trapezius, which allows you to pull back smoothly. It will also teach you to control your breathing, so you can use your breath to support your firing action.
Swimming is a great way to improve your overall muscle tone and to increase the strength in your shoulders and back. It is also a good way to increase your aerobic endurance. You may not think of archery as an endurance sport, but once you get past the basic skills there are many types of archery that require endurance, including some field archery courses and all running and skiing archery. Swimming will get you ready to take your archery away from the range without getting winded.
Obvious weight lifting techniques such as a tricep raise or a lat pull down, will strengthen your arms and upper back, making the draw of the bow easier. However, when you are at the gym, you should not forget to do some core exercises as well. Dead lifts, plate twists, back extensions, and sit ups are all great ways to strengthen your core. In archery, a strong core will increase your stability and improve your posture, which will increase your control and improve your aim.
Rowing is an excellent aerobic exercise that concentrates on the back and core, which are areas that are also used in archery. Whether you are in an actual boat or just at the gym using a rowing machine, the motion will build up strength that will make you more comfortable shooting.
Your archery practice routine depends on your personal goals and your current strengths and weaknesses. While you may be shooting every day, it is also important to take some time to develop your body through cross training activities. Keep in mind that you should avoid heavy strength training on days that you are doing a lot of shooting, or the day after. This is to give your muscles time to heal and develop properly. Instead, mix up your routine with a dance class, swimming, or another aerobic activity that you enjoy.
As you gain more awareness of your body and overall strength through cross training, you will find that utilizing the proper technique in archery is easier and you fatigue less quickly. This may allow you to explore more complex types of archery and equipment from companies like Wilcox Bait Tackle and begin competition shooting, if you desire.