List Of Bowhunting Workouts to Get You Ready for Your Next Hunt

Jeff
| Last Updated June 7, 2021

Bowhunting requires all kinds of physical fitness, and you’re not going to be prepared for a shoot without being ready for the toll it takes on your body.

You can get all kinds of practice from working with your bow, but if you want the extra edge in your strength and endurance, these regular bow hunting workouts should help you get fit and prepared.

7 Bow Hunting Workouts

It’s essential to have a very well-rounded workout, particularly when it comes to bowhunting. There are all kinds of things that each of these main activities will improve, and while it’s strongly recommended you do all of them, you can also focus on these specific workouts on their own if you have a particular part of your fitness that you’d like to improve.

Workout

Increases

Deadlift

Leg and Core Strength

Lat Pulldown

Back Strength

One-Arm and Bent-Over Rows

Arm Strength

Squats and Lunges

Balance

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Endurance

Pushups

Arm, Chest, and Core Stamina

Planks

Arm, Chest, and Core Stamina

Deadlift

Deadlifts are quite literal in terms of what you intend to accomplish. It essentially involves you lifting a heavy and unmoving load, which will, in turn, allow you to practice lifting with the right muscles and postures so as not to risk injury.

Targeted Muscles

  • Overall body
  • Thighs and core
  • Glutes and hamstrings

Targeted Bowhunting Skills

  • Lifting heavy equipment
  • Maintaining stable posture
  • Hiking to shooting locations

How to Do It

With a heavyweight, usually a wide bag or weight bar, crouch your legs while keeping a perfectly vertical posture so that you can reach the bag with your hands. While gripping onto the weight, lift it with your legs and core (rather than your back or arms) until you’re standing perfectly upright. Then, lower the weight by reversing and lowering your legs back into your starting position.

Photo credit: healthline.com

Lat Pulldown

One of the key factors in bow hunting workouts includes your upper body, particularly so that you can improve your draw weight, and so-called lateral pulldowns do this by giving you an upper weight to pull towards you. Pull-ups are a similar exercise, but this will usually give you a more precise amount of exertion since you’re using customized weight instead of your own body.

Targeted Muscles

  • Deltoids
  • Triceps
  • Traps

Targeted Bowhunting Skills

  • Draw weight
  • Lifting equipment
  • Firing stamina

How to Do It

You usually do lat pulldowns on a machine with a wide bar attached to several weights in front or behind you. Sit on the machine with a vertical posture and pull the bar down towards your chest or shoulders, depending on whether you’re facing the weights or facing away. Slowly return it upwards without fully releasing it, and then repeat the process.

One-Arm and Bent-Over Rows

Rows are some of the easiest and most necessary bowhunting exercises, as it directly affects your arms on a wide scale. This will not only improve your draw weight but even just your ability to hold your bow consistently, as it’ll be used to lifting and holding a steady weight (typically a barbell) without shaking.

Targeted Muscles

  • Biceps
  • Deltoids
  • Forearms

Photo credit: lifestylegeeky.com

Targeted Bowhunting Skills

  • Firing strength
  • Aim and accuracy
  • Draw weight

How to Do It

Bent-over rows usually require a wide weight, just like with deadlifts. Instead of lifting with your legs, though, you’ll be raising it using your upper arms and upper back, putting the weight as close to your chest as possible.

One-arm rows are quite similar, but they use smaller weights so that you can work one arm at a time. This is better for those not working at a gym since you can use a smaller weight or barbell. Simply lean forward with your non-lifting arm holding you steady while planted on a chair. With the lifting arm, pull your weight by lifting your elbow vertically, using your shoulder and upper arms to do most of the lifting.

Squats and Lunges

It might seem unnecessary to focus on your legs when preparing for a bowhunting shoot, but it’s just as important for your full body to be ready for the full process. This includes your legs, which are just as important to tone and stretch so that you can easily hold your balance when drawing your bow, and by stretching and contracting your legs you can help them be far more consistent and stable.

Targeted Muscles

  • Quadriceps
  • Side abs

Targeted Bowhunting Skills

  • Holding balance
  • Bow stability and aim
  • Hiking endurance

How to Do It

For squats, simply stand vertically upright or lean against a wall, and slowly lower yourself while keeping your back straight. You should feel pressure around your stomach and in your upper legs and a slight stretch near your heels. Hold this position for 15-20 seconds, then slowly raise your body upward again.

For lunges, keep your body straight and bend one knee forward at a 90-degree angle while keeping your other leg stretched straight while remaining steady on your toes. Hold this position, and you should feel a stretch in your straightened leg, and you may stand back up after about 15-20 seconds. Repeat for the other leg, and then keep alternating for about three intervals each.

Photo credit: workoutplan.org

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Unlike many of the other exercises in this list, HIIT isn’t so much a specific exercise as it is a form of general workouts. The idea is to do heavy surges of activity in a short period, primarily running or walking with increased speeds or inclines, and scaling the length of each interval to train your body into exerting itself for longer periods.

Targeted Muscles

  • Abs and core
  • Pectorals
  • Cardio

Targeted Bowhunting Skills

  • Hiking endurance
  • Firing stamina
  • Longer bowhunting sessions

How to Do It

When running outside or on a treadmill, start with a light jog for a set amount of time or distance, ideally about a minute or one city block. After this is complete, return to a jog for the same interval of time before entering another sprint interval, ideally at a higher speed or slightly longer length. Slowly increase your interval intensities until you reach your limit, and then cool down by reversing your interval speeds or distances until you return to your first interval intensity.

Pushups

Perhaps the most popular and well-known exercise out there, push-ups do all kinds of things that help general upper-body fitness. That said, it’s helpful for archery thanks to a great set of muscles that it targets and is easy to do thanks to the lack of necessary equipment.

Targeted Muscles

  • Triceps
  • Pectorals
  • Deltoids

Targeted Bowhunting Skills

  • Drawing your bow
  • Lifting equipment
  • Aiming arrows

Photo credit: thekuproject.com

How to Do It

Get into position by facing downward on the ground with your feet or knees planted. Hold yourself upright with your arms straight. Bend and lower your arms, keeping your back as horizontal as possible. Stop once you reach a 90-degree angle. Hold, and you should feel it in your upper arms and core. After a few seconds, lift yourself back to your resting position.

Planks

Planks are extremely similar to pull-ups but are much more about holding a pushup stance than actively moving your muscles. The idea is that you’re holding your body weight with just your upper arms and core, tensing your muscles to keep you still and steady.

Targeted Muscles

  • Deltoids
  • Abs and core
  • Side abs

Targeted Bowhunting Skills

  • Maintaining posture
  • Holding balance
  • Drawing your bow

How to Do It

Extend your legs outwards and face the ground, holding your body up with your forearms flat on the ground and toes bent holding your legs. Maintain this position with a flat back, tensing your core and stomach to help remain balanced. Hold for 20 seconds to a minute before lowering your knees onto the ground. Repeat for three or more intervals.

Importance of Workouts for Bowhunting

There are all kinds of things that workouts can do for your bowhunting skills, but most of them can be summed up as improving your ability to draw your bow and fire accurately. Many of these exercises will help you improve your draw weight and stamina, letting you hold your drawn bow longer while you aim and ensuring you can fire arrows with consistent strength during long hunts.

Having a strong and regular workout will also improve all the skills that surround bowhunting, particularly your hiking abilities. The stamina and flexibility exercises will not only improve your ability to hold all your bowhunting gear on the move but let you move further without it exhausting you before firing an arrow.

Lastly, workouts make it so bowhunting itself won’t be fully exhausting. If you plan on going on regular hunts, it’s easy to overexert yourself with the physical activity needed with each excursion. Working out regularly means that your bowhunting can become a fun and regular activity, rather than a rare one that pushes your body too far to do often.

When Should I Do Bowhunting Workouts?

You should generally aim to do bowhunting workouts year-round since your physical fitness can severely fall if you aren’t working out regularly for months at a time. You don’t necessarily have to be exerting yourself too hard during off-months, but so long as you’re exercising regularly, you should be able to be fit and ready for your ideal bowhunting season.

How Often Should I Workout?

For most physical fitness, it’s recommended that you exercise at least three days a week, but in practice, this can be quite difficult.

Between other life responsibilities and the physical challenge of actual bow practice, it can be hard to make this much time, so working out at least once or twice a week will give you the right amount of regular strength and endurance.

Conclusion

Photo credit: freemap.ca

It might seem exhausting or unnecessary to do workouts in addition to your bowhunting practice, but your physical fitness is going to give you the edge over your targets and opponents in any form of archery from shooting targets to proper bowhunting.

Whether you’re a casual or professional bowhunter, a regular and well-rounded workout routine will help you through a shoot.

People Also Ask

Alongside some tips for your general workout, there are a few questions that archers will often ask about how their workout directly affects their archery skills, and how to get the most out of their regular workouts.

How Do I Increase My Archery Strength?

Nearly any regular and well-rounded workout will improve your archery strength since you’re usually using your full body to ensure your stance and firing are both effective and efficient. That said, if you specifically want to improve your draw strength, you’ll likely want to aim primarily for pushups and planks, as these will help you improve all the muscles directly involved in pulling your drawstring and aiming your bow.

Photo credit: aceobows.com

What Muscles Does Archery Use?

The main muscles involved in aiming your bow and drawing arrows revolve around your arms and torso. This includes your chest muscles, biceps and triceps in your upper arms, and even your back muscles for maintaining a straight and solid posture.

Will Working Out Increase My Draw Weight?

You can increase your draw weight by working out, but a few specific exercises will improve your draw weight more than others. One of the best exercises for this that were not mentioned earlier includes pull-ups, which will let your arms lift in a way quite similar to how they would while drawing a bow.

Jeff

My name is Jeff and I have been hunting and fishing for over 40 years. I am an avid archery lover, bass fisherman, and all-around outdoorsman. Currently, I'm obsessed with elk hunting but I'm sure I'll move onto a different favorite soon. You gotta love hunting for that reason :) If you have any questions, or just want chat about your latest hunting score or big catch, you can reach me at admin@biggamelogic.com. Read more about Big Game Logic.