Get Bow Fit

The archery off-season is a great time to get physically fit for autumn's bow opener. Erik T. Nason, a board-certified athletic trainer and owner of Extreme Action Sports Medicine Services shares his insights for getting "bow fit."
"In bowhunting, the goal is not just strength, but also endurance. It's endurance that enables you to maintain form while at full draw, waiting for the perfect shot," Nason says. In order to build your endurance, concentrate on repetitions rather than maximizing weight. Each of these exercises should be held for five seconds, lowered on an eight-second count and repeated 15 times.
Don't get caught in the backcountry being out of shape. Archers today owe it to themselves to be properly trained, both technically and physically. Drawing the bow requires the use of upper-back muscles (rhomboids/latissimus dorsi), shoulder muscles (rear deltoids) and neck muscles (trapezius). Click ahead to see the specific exercise for getting "bow fit."
Horizontal Abduction: Lie on your stomach on a bench or bed, with your "draw" arm hanging off. Hold a dumbbell and life your arm out to the side until it is parallel with the ground, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Retraction: Start in the same position as you did for the horizontal abduction. Life the dumbbell by bending your elbow while raising the weight toward the ceiling. Hold these exercises for five seconds and then slowly lower on an eight-count. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Holding a drawn bow at arm's length while maintaining stability utilizes shoulder muscles (deltoids), chest muscles (pectoralis major) and arm muscles (triceps).
Shoulder Scaption: Hold a dumbbell at your side. Turn your hand thumb-out and slowly raise your arm, with the elbow straight, until it is parallel with the ground.
Protraction: While lying on your back on a flat surface, raise your arm straight up so your fist is aimed toward the ceiling. With a dumbbell in hand, press your fist toward the ceiling. Hold five seconds, then slowly lower on an eight-cunt. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Don't forget to be "heart smart." __Cardio counts. Perform some type of cardiovascular exercise two to three days a week for at least a month before hunting season. The Wowfit Archery Exerciser is a compact system designed to strengthen an archer's muscle groups. ($25; bowfit.com)