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Six Exercises for Bowhunters

So you're thinking about becoming a bowhunter eh? Or maybe you are already into bowhunting, but want to get better at it by getting a physical edge? Note: If you are looking for compound bow archery lessons in Toronto, please contact me and I can help you out.

Well, lets get started.

#1. Push-Ups, builds the arms, shoulders, pectorals, back muscles and core muscles. A good overall exercise. Also goes well with sit-ups, chin-ups, jumping jacks and other old school exercises. The great thing about old school exercises is that require almost no equipment to do and rely on body weight instead of free weights or exercise machines.

#2. Rowing Machine, this specifically targets the back muscles, which is very beneficial for archery. Gives you a steadier pull and that increases accuracy when shooting.

To make your own rowing machine it isn't difficult, you really just need a metal bar, a rope and a suitably large weight on the end of the rope. You could easily accomplish this in the garage, over a tree limb in the backyard, in the basement, etc. You don't need a fancy set up like the illustration of a rowing machine shown on the right, you could accomplish the same thing with zero woodworking skills. A wire cable over a pulley can do the same job, although I do recommend making a wooden handle for pulling with.

I saw one once which used an old bicycle wheel (minus the tire and inner tube) as the pulley, a wire cable, a wooden handle, and old weights from a weightlifting set.

#3. Rock Climbing, beneficial for any bowhunter who wants to be climbing trees and setting up a tree stand. Tree stands are sadly one of the norms of hunting these days, so few people stalk or use ground blinds. However many hunters fall out of the tree due to having a lack of a safety harness, usually preceded by a comment something akin to "I don't need no stinking safety harness!" And then they fall and hurt themselves. So why not take up rock climbing and see just how easy it is to fall and why even experienced rock climbers always wear a safety harness.

Fortunately in Toronto there are many rock climbing gyms to choose from. A quick Google search will find you a local rock climbing gym not that far from where you live. "Wow. I didn't know there was one so close!" you might exclaim. Toronto is rife with them. Even if you don't like in Toronto chances are likely you can find a rock climbing gym or a rock climbing club in your area you can join.

#4. Hiking, beneficial for those bowhunters who enjoy stalking their prey. While do this I recommend doing several things:
  • Wear the boots you would normally wear while hunting in.
  • Carry a backpack with water / snacks in it to simulate the extra weight you would be carrying while hunting. Add additional water for weight even if you don't need it.
  • Bring binoculars or a camera. If you spot a deer or smaller critter try to get as close as possible and get a photo, this is your chance to hone those stalking skills.
  • Pay attention to the plants, tracks, droppings, smells, and wind. Learning extra woodsman skills are beneficially to hunting later.
  • Practice walking quietly. Try to make a habit of it. Avoid making loud noises that scare away animals.

#5. Jogging, for endurance. Oddly endurance is a big factor for hunters of all stripes, especially if you have to carry/drag a heavy dead animal out of the woods so you can eat it later. Jogging builds your lung muscles and increases your lung capacity. It also makes your heart stronger, able to pump more blood faster, which in turn gives you more energy.

#6. Cycling, again for endurance, but also handy to get deeper into the woods faster. If your chosen site for hunting in is really far into the woods having a bicycle means you can get there faster, and relatively quietly. Make sure your bicycle is in good working order and quiet before taking it into the deep woods. Tip: A good bicycle for the woods is one with thick tires, as these can handle bumps easier and gives better traction in muddy / dirty conditions. A road bicycle with skinny tires would be comparatively more likely to break.


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