Practicing archery impacts your life in several ways. First, it teaches you about discipline and responsibility, as you need to practice regularly to be able to carry and aim your bow and arrow accurately.
It also teaches you about setting goals and patience, improving your focus, and boosting self-confidence. But what about your body? What muscles does archery train?
Archery focuses on training your upper body and core muscles. These include the latissimus dorsi, levator scapulae, deltoid, rotator cuff, and triceps. You also need to work out the muscles in your chest and abdomen to be able to shoot your bow accurately.
Having powerful muscles in your lower back, legs, and feet to have a proper archery stance is also beneficial but not necessary. As a matter of fact, a lot of people with physical disabilities can practice and succeed at archery even though they can’t walk.
Learn more about the muscles that you use when you practice archery by reading my article.
Muscles affected by practicing archery
Most professional bows can weigh anything between 30 and 50 pounds, and increasing the weight is only possible if you improve your physical ability. When you pick a heavier bow, you should be able to carry it properly and hold it steady, so you can aim at your target.
Identifying the muscles affected in your body when you practice archery will help you prepare better for this sport. This way, you can stretch and work those muscles even before you begin your archery practice to have them ready for the effort that needs to be exerted until you’ve mastered your shots.
The main muscles affected by archery are located in your upper body. Both arms are used while you are carrying and aiming your bow, as one arm will stabilize the bow while the other will pull back the arrow.
The muscles in your chest, abdomen, and back are also affected, as you need to hold your bow, assume the correct stance, and stabilize your body until you release the arrow. Here are the most important muscles that are affected by archery.
1. Latissimus Dorsi
This muscle is probably the most important one that you should work out and train if you’re into archery. It’s a large triangular-shaped muscle that runs from your sides to the spine and helps to stabilize your back while you’re working out.
The lats, as this muscle is called for short, functions while you’re breathing, swimming, carrying heavy stuff, or doing any type of workout. This is why training and strengthening it is essential to avoid pain and injury.
When it’s well trained, your lats will help extend your shoulders without causing unnecessary pressure on the shoulder muscles. As a result, it assists in drawing the bow and pulling back the string to precisely shoot your arrow towards the target.
2. Levator Scapulae
This muscle group is located in your upper back and works with other muscles like the trapezius and rhomboids to support your body while you’re carrying the bow, stabilizing it, and pulling the arrow.
Upper back muscles help you maintain the correct posture and stance while drawing. They also guarantee that your body will stand still as you pull back the string to release the arrow towards your target.
When the muscles contract, they help move the shoulder blade up and towards the neck to help you remain steady while you’re pulling back the arrow. When you don’t work out this muscle group, you’re likely to experience pain in your shoulder blades, neck, and upper body after practicing archery.
This muscle group covers the shoulders themselves, and exercising these muscles is crucial when you’re practicing archery. Your anterior, posterior, and middle deltoids support the weight of the bow while you’re carrying it, stabilizing it, and pulling back the string.
Chronic pain and injuries are expected if you don’t train these muscles regularly to withstand the weight of the bow. You should also practice drawing the bow and stabilizing it without hurting your muscles.
Beginners usually suffer from shoulder injuries when they get too enthusiastic about carrying a heavier bow. However, you should stretch these muscles to avoid overworking them during archery practice.
4. Rotator cuff
This group of muscles and tendons surround the shoulders and allow them to move in various directions. The muscles stabilize your arm bones firmly into the shoulder socket as you exert an effort while working your arms and shoulders as you’re practicing archery.
The muscle group is made up of four different muscles that help stabilize your motion and keep your shoulder extended while you’re holding and drawing your bow. The main muscle is the Infraspinatus which enables you to extend your shoulders to their maximum range.
When you work out this muscle group, your shoulders will be able to move in 180 degrees smoothly. However, these muscles are more prone to injury compared to other muscles because most archers don’t stretch and work them out well.
The triceps muscles are located at the back of your upper arm, and their main job is to straighten the elbow. So when you’re stabilizing the bow, the elbows have to be extended and stabilized, so you can aim accurately at your shot.
These muscles also work with the biceps and brachioradialis while you’re drawing the arrow. Therefore, you need to train and strengthen these muscles to avoid pain after practicing archery.
Is archery a good form of exercise?
Archery is an excellent exercise for your core, shoulder, and arm muscles. In addition, it strengthens your back, chest, and abdomen and will make you fit.
Your core muscles have to flex and stabilize your body while maintaining tension when you’re holding your bow or aiming at your target. This guarantees that you can have the right posture and stance that allows you to hit your target accurately.
Practicing archery three or four times a week doesn’t make you lose weight as fast as cardio exercises, but it helps build your core muscles and strengthen your body. Archery sculpts your body and gives you strength, so you’re able to lift heavier weights and engage in more physically demanding activities.
Does archery affect your lower body muscles?
Archery also affects your lower body muscles, although they’re not directly involved in the process of holding and drawing your bow. You walk several steps while you’re maintaining the correct position to pull back and shoot your arrow, and you also need to stand steady to be able to shoot your arrow accurately.
If you’re bowhunting, you’ll also burn more calories and work out more muscles because you walk, crawl, and spend a lot of time waiting for your target animal.
Archery is good exercise
Archery helps sculpt your body by burning fats and strengthening your muscles. When you practice archery, you mainly work out your core and upper body muscles because these muscles help you carry and hold your bow and stabilize it until you’re able to shoot the arrow.
All muscle groups work together to ensure that you’re not missing your target, so you need to work them out to keep them in good shape for your next archery practice. If you want to learn more about improving your shots, press this link and read my article.