Bowhunting Strength and Conditioning Part 2

Bowhunting Strength and Conditioning Part 2

When it comes to a person’s strength in the field of archery it can be broken down into three key parts. Much like a bow. Your lats represent the riser of a bow, the strong backbone to the entire system.  Arms (biceps and triceps) are the limbs of the bow, they are what generate the force to shoot. Delts are like the string, the final key component to a killing machine.

Your biceps and triceps are probably the most noticeable and worked on muscle of your body. They are used everyday for almost every task you take on. I’m going to break down three muscle movements for both the bicep and triceps. These movements will immensely help improve your strength and stability when it comes to drawing your bow.

Focus on TUT – Time Under Tension

TUT – Time Under Tension; the most important thing you can know when you perform any lift. The goal is to isolate a muscle group and drive as much blood to the muscle during a lift as possible.  This will give you better workouts and better results.

bowhunting strength and conditioning part 2

Within your bicep there are actually two muscles called heads. First is the long head which is engaged when a lift is performed in front of the body. Second is the short head which is worked with the arms at the side of the body. A go to lift for the long head is a straight bar curl. Stand in front of a weighted bar. Place your pinky finger about two inches outside of shoulder width with and underhand grip. Set your shoulders back and push your chest out. When you curl the bar it needs to be slow and controlled yet the upward motion needs to be explosive. On the way back down focus on TUT and try for a minimum of 5 second decent.


Always Keep Your Thumbs Up When Doing Curls

Next we work on the short head of the bicep. An easy and efficient lift is the hammer curl. Grab a set of dumbells (at your desired weight) in each hand. While standing, shoulders back and chest up, turn the dumbells vertically so your thumbs are up. While curling always keep your thumbs up and do not rotate the dumbbell. You can choose to do both arms at once or one arm at a time. Focus on TUT and be explosive on the way up.

The final lift for the biceps is a reverse straight bar curl. It is the exact stance and process as a normal straight bar curl but instead you grip the bar overhand. This engages all the stabilizer muscles from your wrist to your elbow along with the bicep. Keep in mind when performing and standing bicep lift never to swing the bar or dumbells. It’s not about how much weight you can do but rather your technique.

Tricep Has Multiple Heads – Long, Medial & Lateral

bowhunting strength and conditioning part 2

Your tricep much like the bicep can be broken down into multiple heads. In fact the tricep has three heads; the Long, Medial and Lateral.  The lateral head is best worked with the arms at the sides with an overhand grip. A




favorite to focus on this muscle is the bench dip. Space two workout benches far enough apart to place your heals on one and the edge of your butt and hands on the other.  Place your feet on one bench and with an overhand grip raise your body off the opposite bench. Now with a slow and controlled motion lower your body down until your elbows bend at a 90 degree angle and then press yourself back up. This engages the tricep as well as some shoulder and chest stabilizer muscle’s.

Next we move to the long head. We are going to focus on a simple overhead one-arm dumbbell extension. Grab a dumbbell of your desired weight and sit down on a workout bench. Keep your back straight and core engaged. Now raise the dumbbell over your head and find a stable, comfortable position. Bend your arm at the elbow and lower the dumbbell slightly behind your head to 90 degrees. Raise it back to where your arm is straight. Keep this movement slow and controlled and focus on TUT.

Variation of Bench Press With Hands Closer Together

Finally, the medial head is a good lift to finish on. I like to use the close-grip bench as a finisher. Lie down on the bench press with your determined weight on the straight bar. This is a variation of the normal bench press except your hands are going to be spaced much closer together. Place your hands anywhere from 8 to 12 inches apart in the center of the bar. With an overhead grip raise the bar off the bench and lower it to your chest and press it back up. Go slow and controlled and again focus on TUT. Along with your triceps your chest will be slightly engaged as well as many stabilizer muscles throughout your entire upper body.

We will focus on the lats in the next installment.  How are your workouts coming?

Read the other articles in this series:  Bowhunting Strength and Conditioning Part 1 & Part 3

Like what you see here? If so, click here to read more great hunting, outdoor, and shooting articles by Jake Jones. 

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