Archery is an excellent sport that requires a great deal of physical and mental preparedness. And like any sport, you might expect a lot of health benefits from practicing this sport.
But can archery make you fit? The simple answer to this question is yes! Archery can make you fit if you train daily, not only due to shooting arrows but also because of other outdoor activities that accompany the sport. For that reason, depending on your genetics you can burn fat and build muscles thanks to archery!
If you want to find out more about all the different ways that archery can make you fit, keep on reading this guide!
What Archery Does to Your Body
Archery has a huge impact on a wide range of areas in your body, whether it’s mentally or physically. Now that you know that archery can make you fit, here are some of the ways that this activity can have a positive impact on your body:
1. Helps You Build Muscles
The process of building muscles is known as “muscle hypertrophy”. In this process, the muscle fibers sustain a small amount of damage that the fibers repair by fusing these fibers back with amino acids. When that happens, the size of the muscles as well as their overall mass increases.
The magnitude of the increase will change depending on various factors, including genetics, whether you’re doing extra workouts, and certain hormones, such as testosterone, growth hormone as well as insulin growth factor (IGF-1).
2. Help You Lose Weight
Any activity that you do in your day can help you lose weight as long as you end up burning more calories than you consume.
On a typical archery session, some archers might end up shooting tens or even hundreds of arrows every day.
According to a chart by the Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), archery is the second highest sport in the Olympics in terms of calories, which end up burning around 1,084 during the tournament.
Of course, a regular archery session isn’t expected to burn the same number of calories as professionals and Olympians, but it’s good proof that you’ll be burning a lot of calories while practicing archery!
3. Improve Your Body Control and Balance
In addition to improving your physical state, shooting hundreds of arrows accurately requires a great deal of patience and control over your body and even your mind.
While shooting, archers need to learn how to ignore all kinds of distractions like noise and adjust their technique according to wind speed, distance, and more.
This also applies to hunters who shoot at moving targets, so they also have to watch their steps and wait for the right opportunity to hit their target.
Since it’s practically easy to learn archery but it takes a lot of time and experience to perfect your shot, the game can be frustrating at times. That’s why it can also help you stay patient and calm while repeating the same technique many times.
4. Strengthen Your Grip
Different bows have various levels of draw weights, which is the amount of force necessary to pull the bow string.
Since you’re going to pull your bow string back and remain in that position for quite some time, you’ll have to maintain a strong grip and avoid plucking the arrows.
While this might feel painful at first, your grip will be much strong with time thanks to that exercise.
5. Improve Your Hand-Eye Coordination
To make a good shot at archery, you need to combine a good stand and bow draw along with all the previously mentioned aspects, including:
- Focusing on the target
- Maintaining a strong grip
- Ignoring distractions
- Staying aware of wind and distance of the target
As you train your body to reach that state with little to no margin of error, your muscle memory and subconscious will integrate frequently and your body will have an excellent hand-eye coordination.
What Muscles Does Archery Work?
As previously mentioned, archery can actually help you strengthen some of your body muscles, whether directly or indirectly.
The most commonly affected muscles by archery workout are the shoulders, chest, arms, and back. Here’s a quick look at the main muscles and when they’re worked:
- Anterior deltoids: These are groups of muscles in your shoulder that are worked while holding the weight of the bow.
- Posterior deltoids and infraspinatus: Another group of muscles around the shoulder that are worked while drawing the bow and is affected by the draw weight of the bow strings
- Pectorals: front muscles in the chest that are worked by holding the weight of the bow
- Biceps and brachialis: These are muscles in the arm that are worked while drawing the bow
- Triceps and brachioradialis: the alternative group of arm muscles that are worked while holding the bow.
- Teres major and minor, lats, traps, and rhomboids: the most significant muscles of the back that are worked while drawing
How Can You Lose Weight By Practicing Archery?
As previously mentioned, holding, drawing, and shooting arrows using your bows can help you burn calories. In addition to the calories burned by working all these muscles, there are plenty of other ways that make archery a great sport if you want to stay fit while enjoying your time.
For starters, you should remember that, in most cases, archery is an outdoor activity. This means that you’ll need to prepare for your trip by gathering your equipment and either drive or walk to a spot where archery is allowed.
Not only that, but you’ll also move around a lot while practicing archery, whether to change your target or while walking around to retrieve your arrows.
All the will also contribute to your overall calolries burnt while shooting arrows. Moreover, there are some forms of bow and arrow maintenance that will also require some effort, such as waxing the bowstring, replacing the feathers, and much more.
Best Workouts to Increase Your Archery Capabilities
As you can see, another way that archery can actually help you stay fit is by encouraging you to work out and do exercises that can strengthen the muscles needed for practicing archery.
Ideally, archery in itself is a perfect exercise to train your body and work the muscles needed for improving your strength and grip while shooting.
However, if you want to take things up a notch. Here are some of the best exercises that can help you improve your archery capabilities:
- Planks and Side Planks
- Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise
- Turkish Get-Ups
However, you should keep in mind that strength alone isn’t going to cut it for archery, so you have to practice with bows and arrows as much as you can to improve quickly.
With that said, you now know that archery can help you stay fit. Remember that being fit also depends greatly on what you eat and the general level of activity, so you have to keep them in mind too.
Remember, training with a bow and arrow is by far all you need to improve in archery. However, if you want to make things a little easier, here’s a guide about using sights with recurve bows.