hi! I started archery and in my beginner course I realised that I'm really weak :'( My instructor recommended me to use a compound bow bc I'm fairly good at aiming while using it, but I crave the aesthetic of the recurve. Is it possible for me to build enough muscle so that I can aim well with a recurve? (Could you recommend me some exercises?) Also I'm planning on buying equipment within a month so would it be best for me to wait to build up strength before buying a bow? sorry for the essay!
hi hello GOSH I LOVE
ARROWS ARCHERY QUESTIONS
Okay so, just so we’re clear, I am for the moment gonna assume that when you say ‘weak’ you mean ‘what are sports? we just don’t know.’ –because bro!, that would be me!, I know that one. if you mean weak as part of a disability*, then bruh I can help with that too. one of the coaches at my range is on the US Paralympic Archery team and I would be glad to hassle him for advice.
*archery is for EVERYONE. there are archers in wheelchairs, there are blind archers, the world record for the longest accurate shot in archery is currently held by a gentleman who doesn’t have arms.
Moving on, okay, I am … side-eyeing your instructor just a little bit? do you happen to know what poundage (How hard to pull) the recurves you used were? at my range, a beginner archer of adult height gets a 66″ bow of either 12 or 16 pounds of draw weight (how much force it takes to pull the string back 28 inches.)
so, here’s the thing about pulling a bow. imagine a gallon of milk. or juice is okay if you prefer juice. imagine picking it up by the cap. yikes??? most people would find this very hard or impossible, and it’s not necessary. so, you pick it up by the handle. much easier! you can manage the weight. archery is just the same - the same amount of weight is either dang near impossible OR not too bad, and it’s all down to how you use your body to move that weight.
shooting a bow, your instructor should be showing you how to hook the string and pull with your back (much more muscle!) as you lower your front shoulder and push the bow away. push and pull, push AND pull. it’s awkward at first, but once you get the hang of it, if you are using a bow that’s appropriate for your skill level, it’s MUCH easier because you are using your muscles efficiently. and definitely don’t feel bad about feeling weak - literally every saturday i have people who are convinced they cannot do this, whole body shaking as they try to pull the bowstring back in an awkward way, and once they’ve had fifteen minutes of me poking at their elbows and back, saying ‘pull from here, elbow behind you, now push it away push push–’ they’re drawing the bow smoothly and making very nice shots!
tl;dr, it is totally possible to build up enough muscle to start a recurve! exercises, briefly:
1.) buy a stretchy band and pull it like it’s a bow. this one is… hrm.. I could explain it better with pictures. would you like pictures? i can try to do that tomorrow.
2.) less need of pictures, do plain old push-ups - i do them against the wall. place your hands against the wall, lean in (bending elbows, tummy firm, back STRAIGHT - if you let your back sag, it will hurt) until your nose touches the wall, then push off. repeat until tired, and it’s okay if that only takes five times. try to do six next time, then seven, then take a dang day off! when you can do like thirty, make it harder - back up further away from the wall - it will be harder to push off.
3.) lift things. lift a water bottle. lift the cat. hold the water bottle at your side, then lift it to shoulder height, arm fully extended - as you would lift a bow. hold it up for fifteen seconds (10 or 5 if you can’t do 15), then lower it. rest for the same amount of time you held it up, then repeat. if you can only do two of those at first, bruh! that’s fine. try to do three tomorrow, then four, then - take a day off!! lots of rest days are important - you WILL get sore, your muscles WILL need time to recover. starting out, swap the water bottle (or weight or cat) from arm to arm, so that one can rest while the other works. as you get stronger, use two weights and do both arms. extend your arms both straight to your side and straight in front of you - this is working on different parts of your shoulder.
WOW has this gotten long - and here you thought you wrote an essay!
Equipment: Nope, you don’t have to wait, as long as you buy ‘the right’ equipment. ‘Right equipment’ doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, it just needs to have limbs that can be taken off. Here is an example of the sort of bow I mean: LINK! We have tons of bows just like this one at my range. that one is metal, but plastic (like this) is also fine, and so is wood (like this.) See the black knobs at the top and bottom where the limbs (white bendy parts) meet the riser (the ‘body’ of the bow)? those are bolts, the limb can be easily taken off and swapped out for a lighter (easier to pull) or heavier (harder to pull) limb. limbs of the bolt-on type are very affordable, and a beginner bow of good quality is both tough and light weight.
the only point I will make on the purchase of the equipment is, do NOT let anyone tell you that it’s a ‘waste of money to buy limbs that are too light.’ that is dumb, people that ought to know better say it to archers all the time, and you know what happens? those new archers hurt their shoulders, aren’t having fun with a bow that’s a struggle to pull back, and the bow goes in the closet and we never see them again. :’( go ahead and get the lightest limbs available for your bow of choice - this is usually either 12 or 14 pounds. if you are over about 5′6″ tall, get the 12 pound limbs or even 10 if you can find them. If you are 5′6″ or under, 12 is still okay, but so is 14. this probably sounds backwards, but to put it bluntly:
the farther back you pull a recurve bow, the HARDER it gets. that’s what the recurve shape of the limb does, it makes the bow more powerful as it is pulled back more. so, if you’re tall, or have rather long arms, you’ll pull the bow back more - you want lighter limbs so that you don’t have to fight with them. if I draw a bow with 14 pound limbs, it will be 16 pounds - I am tall, my arms are long.
if you are short or have stumpy t-rex arms, your draw length will be short - you may only pull a pair of 14 pound limbs to 11 or 12 pounds, if not less.
MAN ok, this has been an info-dump, and I hope it helps; if you have any more questions let me know, and I will do my best! ENJOY. YOU CAN DO IT.