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What type of bow is best for weight training?



I want to get into archery because I heard it is good for building strength. What type of bow would you recommend for building muscle?

- Kyle J."


Hello Kyle!

I recommend longbows if you want to get into the really high poundages and build lots of muscle. Longbows can go up to really high poundages - whereas recurve bows only go up to a maximum of roughly 60 lbs. Compounds bows can go pretty high, but they have a let off and are not that good for weightlifting because the letoff reduces the poundage once it is at full draw. eg. A 60 lb compound bow with 75% letoff will feel like only 15 lbs at full draw.

Longbows and recurves don't have a letoff and thus are better for weightlifting, and if you want to get into the heavier poundages then longbows is definitely the way to go.

If you are looking to buy a longbow in Toronto you have many options.

Option 1. Buy a bow from Basically Bows Archery on Queen Street East. Tell Gary I said hello! Gary has the best selection of longbows in the GTA.

Option 2. Commission a longbow from Mike Meusel, a local bowyer in Toronto. He made my 36lb pyramid bow "Ramses" for me.

Option 3. Shop for a longbow online. eg. sells a variety of longbows. Expect to pay about $600, but they can also make really powerful (expensive) longbows too. For longbows over 75 lbs they charge an extra $2 per lb, and longbows over 100 lbs they charge an extra $5 - up to a maximum of 200 lbs. So if you are doing the math that is about $1150 for a super powerful longbow.

However I don't recommend you get yourself a super powerful longbow. You won't even be able to string it. You need to work your way up to that. If you are a big guy start with a bow that is between 30 and 40 lbs - make sure in the store you can draw it properly before purchasing - and practice with that bow 3 times (several hours each time) per week for 6 months.

Then get yourself another longbow that is 5 lbs heavier and practice with that one for 6 months.

If you start with a 35 lb bow and go up by 5 lb increments every 6 months (shooting even in the winter) then after 3 years you should be up to a 65 lb bow - or better, depending on your body type, adrenaline/testosterone levels (hormones that make you build muscles faster), the quality of your diet, and whether you are supplementing your exercise routine with a full body workout.

I strongly recommend archers adopt a full body workout that includes weightlifting, yoga, body weight exercises, balance exercises and even yogic breathing exercises. Such exercises will make you stronger, give you better balance, allow you to control your breathing during each shot - and better breathing gets more oxygen to your muscles.

Don't forget to stay hydrated. Water is best. Just plain old fashioned water. (I have determined energy drinks are a complete waste unless it is exceptionally hot outside and you are exercising a lot.)

Lastly I recommend drinking a whey protein shake after you return home from the archery range / after any weight lifting session.

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