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Showing posts with label Exercise Questions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Exercise Questions. Show all posts

Bowstring Flaying, should I worry about it?

Q

"My bowstring is flaying a bit on the tips. Should I be worried about it?"

A

Hello!

Not really. Bowstrings are designed to be multiple times stronger than the bow itself. A few strands flaying is not a big concern.

Individual strands have their own weight allowance. Eg. 20 to 40 lbs per strand. So if your bowstring has 16 strands and they can withstand 40 lbs per strand then its max weight is theoretically 640. Since strands can flay / snap it is desirable to have a max weight that is many multiples of the bow's weight.

If two strands flay the bowstring is still usable because it still has 560 left. If half of the strands flay it is probably time for a new bowstring.

The individual strength of strands can vary wildly between the type of material. Some materials might only be 20 lbs per strand, 25, 30, etc. So for example a particular brand might only be 20 lbs per strand, but might also be physically lighter, and/or more/less likely to stretch. With 16 strands that bowstring would be able to withstand 320 lbs, which is still abundantly more than the bow itself, but might have the advantages of less weight and stretching less.

Flemish Twist Bowstring
To save weight / add speed some archers will also make 14, 12 or 10 strand bowstrings. Thinner bowstrings means it will require more serving for the nocks.

Most archers prefer to have a robust bowstring that lasts a long time, hence why 14 and 16 strands are the most common. Some will even do 18 or 20 strands just to make the bowstring more robust and take the slower arrow speed as a trade off. (Crossbow bowstrings typically use between 24 and 30 strands, although the actual amount may vary on the crossbow manufacturer and model.)

You may also notice differences in sound, arrow flight accuracy, nock looseness/tightness, bowstring stretchiness effecting brace height, how easily strands flay, and differences between the types of materials you are using (dacron, fastflight, more traditional materials).

For those people who want to gain extra speed / accuracy they may want to consider learning how to make their own bowstrings using better quality materials so they can learn how to optimize speed by lowering the physical weight of the bowstring. If you do decide to do that, a good place to start is to learn how to make a Flemish Twist bowstring.

Happy Shooting!


How dangerous are crossbows?

My condolences go out to the families of the three people murdered in Scarborough around 1 PM today with a crossbow. For more details about that incident read Triple Crossbow Homicide in Scarborough.

I was contacted earlier today by the radio station Newstalk 1010, which had a number of questions about crossbows. The discussion sparked a number of frequently asked questions about crossbows, however the conversation was relatively short and I don't feel like we covered all the FAQ people would possibly like to know. To allay the concerns of my fellow Torontonians here are some frequently asked questions and the corresponding answers.

How dangerous are crossbows?
In short, very dangerous. Hunters in Ontario commonly use them for shooting black bears, elk, moose and large game. So they are very lethal.
How easy is it to buy a crossbow?
Very easy, provided you are over 18 years of age. They are available at most hunting/fishing stores, and can even be purchased at Canadian Tire or Walmart or similar stores. I doubt that some stores like Walmart even routinely check for ID when people are purchasing crossbows, because the staff working there may not know the laws about selling crossbows to minors.
How powerful are crossbows?
The minimum poundage for a hunting crossbow in Ontario, by law, is 150 lbs of force. Which is a lot of kinetic energy when you compare to other types of bows. For example if someone was shooting a normal bow (compound bow, recurve bow, longbow, etc) then the minimum legal requirement is 39.7 lbs when hunting deer or smaller game. For larger game like elk, moose and black bear the minimum is 48.5 lbs. So when you compare to normal bows, crossbows are incredibly powerful.

Anything smaller than 150 lbs is considered to be a "youth crossbow" and is illegal to hunt with. Some crossbows are exceptionally powerful, like the "Excalibur Matrix 405", which has a 290 lb draw weight and a speed of 405 feet per second when firing 350 grain crossbow bolts. Note, there is no legal limit on how powerful crossbows can be. Hypothetically a hunter could use a ballista to hunt deer.
How easy is it to make your own crossbow?
These days, very easy. If a person had a 3D printer they could print the stock needed to make the crossbow, and then they would just need to attach a bow of somekind to the front, made out of wood or high tensile steel or a steel alloy. (Modern crossbows are usually made out of metal.) Failing that a person could also just build their own out of wood and metal, total cost would be less than $50 for all the parts. The hardest part to make would be the trigger mechanism.
How fast or slow is it to load and reload a crossbow?
This is the Achilles heel of crossbows. Typically, they are VERY SLOW to reload. A typical modern crossbow in the hands of an experienced crossbow enthusiast could be reloaded perhaps twice per minute using a foot stirrup and a cocking rope. Three times per minute if it was a very light poundage crossbow and/or the person operating it was quite strong. A slower but easier method would be to use a windlass handcrank, in which case expect perhaps 1 shot per minute. Using a windlass crank is more common with any of the really heavy poundage crossbows, like the one shown below.

Excalibur Windlass Crank
How do crossbows compare to other kinds of weapons?
Due to their slowness, crossbows are not the greatest weapons. They are easy to use, as any person can basically purchase one, practice with it a few times and learn most of what they need to know to be able to competently shoot one. However due to their slow speed, they have historically done poorly when compared to other weapons. There are a number of historical battles during which large numbers of French crossbowmen were utterly decimated by a comparatively small number of English longbowmen simply because the longbows could be quickly reloaded and fired with ease, whereas the crossbows took a ridiculously long time to reload. You would think based on sheer numbers the French would have won those battles, but they underestimated how quickly English longbowmen could reload and how slow their own forces were at reloading.

A crossbow would be a very slow and inefficient weapon to use in close combat. Compared to other kinds of weapons, if being used in close combat, an axe, a sword or even a hatchet or dagger would be a more efficient weapon. For example, in January 1969 in Buffalo Narrows Saskatchewan 7 people were massacred with an axe. It is one of the largest massacres in Canadian history that didn't involve firearms. It makes you realize just how much firearms play a role in large massacres, such as the École Polytechnique massacre in 1989 which killed 15 people, using a semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife.

As a sniper weapon, the crossbow excels. It made Swiss crossbowman William Tell famous after he was forced to shoot an apple off of his son's head, and later escaped and used the same crossbow to assassinate the Austrian reeve Gessler - an act which sparked the Swiss rebellion and eventually the creation of the Swiss Confederation.
Should crossbows be restricted or banned or require a license to purchase?
They already face the restriction of age to purchase a crossbow, but it would be worthless to try and require a license for crossbows. It is difficult to estimate how many crossbows are in Ontario, but if perhaps 1% of people in Ontario owned a crossbow it would be 136,000 crossbows - and most of them are probably collecting dust in basements, closets, attics, garages, etc. Some people may have even forgotten they have one. That would be 100s of thousands of people for the province to try and regulate for a hunting tool that is mostly used only for hunting, and hunters typically are not fond of change and would protest strongly against any proposed restrictions, bans or licenses for crossbows.

European nobility tried to ban the crossbow during the Middle Ages, with little success. At the time it was considered to be too easy of a weapon to manufacture and thus also made it really easy to assassinate nobility, hence why they tried to ban it. Their attempts to do so didn't really work however and the popularity of crossbows later waned with the advent of firearms.

Ontario would face the same problem. Crossbows are simply far too easy to manufacture. Especially these days with 3D printers that could make the stock and then it just needs the bow and trigger mechanism. Trying to ban them would be useless as criminals with evil intent would always find a way to purchase or make their own weapons regardless, hence the current problem with 3D printed firearms.
Conclusions
Yes, crossbows are dangerous. But they are a bad choice to be used as a close quarters weapon and typically are very slow to reload when compared to firearms or even other kinds of bows. As details of today's massacre are revealed we learn that it took the murderer 5 minutes to load and reload and kill the three people in the garage and injure a fourth person by stabbing him. That lengthy time leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Why did the people not simply rush him while he was reloading? What other weapons did he have handy? Did he have a handgun on him too, but chose to use the crossbow because it was quieter? Why did none of the neighbours who heard the screaming come and investigate the cause of the screaming? Why did the murderer choose to use a crossbow when other weapons are faster and more efficient? What was their motive for committing the murders? Why did they also leave a suspicious package down at a condo at Queens Quay and what was inside the package? Explosives?

There are way too many unanswered questions at this time. We hope that police can release more details about this incident soon and that it is hopefully an isolated incident.

My condolences go out to the families of the three people murdered. All life is sacred.

Archery Question - Does the size of the bow matter at all?

Q

"Hey Charles,

Thank you so much for the [archery equipment] information and help, I'll start looking around based on the information that you provided and hopefully this week we'll be able to get our own equipment.

Does the size of the bow matter at all? I noticed that the sizes vary from 60' to 66', I'm not sure if the size matters as long as we get the proper poundage.

Regards,
Francis"

A

Hey Francis!
Yes, to some extent it does matter. Longer bows are known to be more forgiving accuracy wise, meaning you can make a small mistake and it won't be too far off. Shorter bows are generally less forgiving, so if you make a mistake it will often be a more dramatic difference.
Coincidentally this also applies to compound bows too, hence why many compound shooters like longer axle-to-axle compound bows because they are more forgiving of mistakes and thus more accurate. That said, it is a trade-off because some hunters prefer smaller bows which are more maneuverable through thick brush and weigh less.
Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Archery Question: Building Upper Back Strength

Q

A former archery student of mine sent me the following question today:

"I have a few sessions coming up with a personal trainer. Is there anything specific I should ask him to do to help with my back strength? I am keen to get beyond the 18 -20 lb kiddie strength mark.

Best,

Stephen"

A

Hey Stephen!
 
You should tell the personal trainer to pay extra attention to the following muscle groups:
  • Upper Back (Rhomboids and Trapezoids)
  • Shoulders (Deltoids)
  • Triceps
If you are shooting regularly (once or twice per week) you will be building muscle in those places and eventually 20 lbs will feel easy and you will feel the urge to move up to 25 lbs. If you are not shooting regularly however, exercises that target the above muscles will be beneficial.
I should also note that archers regularly benefit from all over exercise. A stronger heart and lungs allows an archer to be more relaxed about their breathing and they are pumping oxygen-rich blood more efficiently to the muscles.

Have a great August!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Archery Lesson Plan + How many lessons should you do?

Q
Good Afternoon,

I am interested in signing up for archery lessons. I was hoping to get some additional information about the lessons. From the site, I see that they are packages for 1,3,5 and 10 lessons. I was wondering if the multiple lessons have a sort of lesson plan, for example the first lesson deals with X and Lessons 2 and 3 deal with Y. Or if you have a recommendation of how many lessons a beginner like myself should start off with.

Thank you,
F.

A

Hello!
Yes, I do follow a lesson plan - although it does sometimes vary from client to client. eg. Some clients want to learn how to shoot longbow, shortbow, compound or have specific goals in mind, which changes how lessons unfold. Depending on wind conditions some lessons will also deal with how to adjust for the wind.
Below is a typical lesson plan.

Lesson 1 - Safety Lecture, Eye Dominance Test, Aiming Lecture, Form Lecture + Field Archery Practice (various distances), with a focus on form.
Lesson 2 - Target Practice at 60 feet. Focus is on developing quality form and getting rid of bad habits, may include learning how to adjust for the wind depending on wind conditions. The lesson may sometimes include a Field Archery element for fun.

Lesson 3 - Target Practice at 60 feet. Focus is on adjusting aim and doing an aiming exercise, while still working on quality form. May include different types of aiming exercises or one of the topics mentioned below.

Additional lessons beyond that can vary dramatically, but typical topics include:
  • Long Distance Shooting, either Field Archery or at 90 feet (possibly further depending on the relative skill of the student).
  • Adjusting for Wind at Longer Distances. 90 feet up to 300 feet.
  • Perfecting Form / Getting rid of any remaining bad habits, how to recognize bad habits.
  • Shooting at Moving Targets / How to Gap Shoot.
  • Precision Marksmanship at 60 feet - requires the student to have developed good form first.
  • Instinctive Archery - but only if the student requests to learn that style.
  • How to shoot while Kneeling + Alternative Stances.
  • Varying Distances, Adjusting Aim based on minor Distance changes.
Some lessons may also include a mini lecture and/or demonstrations on a topic such as arrow spine, arrowhead grain, how to wax a bowstring, how to string a bow using a bowstringer, how to string a longbow, etc. Mini lectures typically occur during the middle of a lesson, to give the student a bit of a brief break from shooting.

As to how many lessons, most people choose based on the following:
  • 1 lesson for people who want to just try archery.
  • 3 lessons for people who are thinking about getting their own equipment.
  • 5 lessons for people who definitely want to get into archery, and possibly are already shopping for equipment.
  • 10 lessons for people who want to get better at archery in a hurry and are definitely planning to purchase equipment.
If you have additional questions feel free to ask. Have a great day!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca


Statue of Archer

Ramsay's Archery Skills on Game of Thrones / National Post Article

I was recently asked a series of archery questions by a reporter from the National Post, a Canadian newspaper. The questions pertained to a recent episode of the popular television show "Game of Thrones", episode 9 of season 6 during which the character Ramsay Bolton (formerly Ramsay Snow) displayed his impressive archery skills.

SPOILER ALERT - If you have not seen the recent episodes of Game of Thrones you may want to watch the episode in question before reading any further.

Some of the questions I was asked included:
  • How far would Ramsay, the shooter, have to be to successfully target the victim? How far would be too far?
  • And how long would this shot typically take? How fast do you believe the arrow is moving? 
  • What style of arrow and method of shooting is Ramsay using, and do you think these are good choices considering what he is about to do?
  • Would the arrow continue moving in a straight path at this distance? Would his victim have been able to “zig-zag” and avoid it, in other words?
Ramsay Bolton with Penobscot Flatbow

Ah yes, the scene with the Penobscot bow. I was very happy when I saw that. The Penobscot are a Aboriginal American tribe who used "double limbed flatbows" which have extra cables attached to extra limbs on the bottom and top of the bow, which allows the archer to adjust their tiller and weight by shortening/lengthening the cables by twisting the cables to tighten or loosen the cables. The adjustability and added power makes the arrows go further with a longer arc, which ultimately leads to more accuracy at longer distances.

Normally Ramsay in the TV show is seen with a Hungarian style horsebow, a type of shortbow which is not known for its long range accuracy, but by switching to a Penobscot bow he gets added range and accuracy. As a fan of the Penobscot bow, it was very nice seeing it being used in the show.

Sample of a Penobscot Bow

Penobscot Woman with Penobscot Bow
Note - Torontonians interested in buying a Penobscot bow should contact Gary at Basically Bows at 940 Queen Street East. Address and hours are listed on http://www.archerytoronto.ca/Archery-Equipment-in-Toronto.html

How far would Ramsay, the shooter, have to be to successfully target the victim? How far would be too far?


Depending on the archer and the power (measured in poundage) of the bow, he could be pretty far away. Howard Hill once shot a bald eagle at 150 yards away, which is twice the distance modern Olympic archers shoot at. Rickon is a lot bigger than a bald eagle however, but I would estimate he was about 100-120 yards away when the fatal arrow hit him.

Ramsay showing off, deliberately missing.
Judging by Ramsay's previous skill shown in the TV show, this is not impossible. I would say Ramsay is likely "reasonable accurate" out to a distance of 120 yards when shooting at a man sized target. Ramsay's skill is quite good and he even shows off a bit by looking away during one shot and deliberately missing. Judging by the camera angles and the size of people in the distance I think the two opposing forces were about 200 to 250 yards apart.

[It is difficult to estimate the precise distances as camera angles will sometimes skew distances. I am basing my estimates on previous experience of seeing the sizes of people at known distances of 100 yards, 200 yards and 300 yards.]

And how long would this shot typically take? How fast do you believe the arrow is moving?


To nock, draw and aim - only a few seconds. You would not want to be holding it for a long time when aiming at a moving target, as the character Ramsay likely would have tuned to the Penobscot to his ideal poundage for the utmost accuracy and speed. The arrow was likely traveling between 200 to 250 feet per second (fps) on release.

Regarding the precise arrow speed I am basing that on the estimate that Ramsay might have tuned the Penobscot bow to approx. 80 lbs, the higher the poundage the more power and speed released initially. Based on Ramsay's physical size, his youth and the fact he has clearly been shooting a very long time, 80 lbs seems like a reasonable amount.

Historically any bow used for war would be a much higher poundage than any bow used for hunting or recreation.

To put this in context 80 lbs is the bare minimum for an English warbow, which is more powerful than the standard English longbow. Longbows for adults are *usually* in the range of 20 to 80 lbs. English Warbows are usually in the range of 80 to 200 lbs. For example Howard Hill once used a 173 lb now while hunting a bull elephant in Africa, which admittedly was overkill in terms of power.

A typical hunting bow in Ontario is between 40 to 70 lbs, stipulated because the minimum legal poundage for bowhunting deer is 39.7 lbs and for moose/elk/black bear the minimum is 48.5 lbs.
A bow that is only 20 - 30 lbs of draw weight in contrast would have a speed of approx. 100 to 125 fps. Only a fraction of what a Penobscot bow is capable of.

What style of arrow and method of shooting is Ramsay using, and do you think these are good choices considering what he is about to do?


Ramsay appears to be using a wooden arrow with long turkey feather fletching (for added accuracy on non-windy days, less accuracy on windy days). The arrowhead appears to be a moderately heavy traditional broadhead. He would not want an arrowhead that is too heavy as that would reduce his long distance accuracy, so he has chosen one that is relatively narrow and saves on weight.

Ramsay Bolton with Hungarian-style Bow
Ramsay is using a style of archery similar to the Howard Hill style of shooting (this is how famous Howard Hill is, he has an archery style named after him). Howard Hill would also lean forward and into the shot slightly, aligning his body with the angle of the bow. The style is popular with longbow and flatbow archers, and bears similarities to Mongolian, Persian, Turkish and Hungarian archery styles. The style involves deliberately canting (changing the angle) of the top limb of the bow to the side so you get a cleaner view of the target and it compensates for the sideways motion of the arrow - without the cant the arrow would tend to go further to the side, but the cant allows the archer to be able to compensate for the difference and makes it easier to aim at their target.

As longbow archery styles go, there are three common styles you may have seen previously: English Longbow Style (no cant, shooting long distance in volleys because of reduced accuracy), Japanese Kyudo (no cant, but with significant stylistic differences in form and release), and the Howard Hill style of shooting. Of these three styles, the Howard Hill style makes the most sense, plus since he has already been seen shooting Hungarian style horsebows, it is not so different from the style of shooting he does regularly.

So yes, a moderately weighted arrowhead with a long fletched arrow, using a Howard Hill style cant makes total sense to get the most accuracy.

Hungarian Bow

Would the arrow continue moving in a straight path at this distance? Would his victim have been able to “zig-zag” and avoid it, in other words?

The arrow would be traveling in a straight arc, so yes, it would be straight and arcing downwards. In theory, yes, Rickon would have been able to zig zag at that distance and dramatically reduce the chances of Ramsay hitting him, but Rickon clearly was not thinking that. He also did not think to run behind the burning crosses and let the heat rising from the crosses change the view of the target so that it was blurry and more difficult to aim at. So if he had thought to zig zag behind the crosses, his chances of survival would have shot way up.

I should note that in the TV show Stark children who have their wolf killed somehow have a tendency to die. Sansa is the only character who has had her wolf die a long time ago and has not yet died. She has so far bucked the trend, which makes me wonder if she is doomed. Rickon was clearly doomed the moment he got captured and his wolf was killed. Robb got separated from his wolf during the Red Wedding and it was locked in a kennel, thus signaling his death was imminent. Arya is fortunate that her wolf is still wandering the Riverlands. Bran only recently lost his wolf on the TV show (not in the books) so it will be interesting to see if he also dies sometime.



Additional Notes

Check out Ygritte's bow that she had. It is a recurved replica of the Meare Heath bow, which is a famous example of ancient bow designs.

Ygritte with her Meare Heath replica

Diagram of the Meare heath bow

Ramsay was taking his sweet time there between shots. He was in no rush. Had he wanted to he could have shot perhaps 10 times easily in the space of 1 minute, but instead he was patient and took his time about it.

Which I think is part of his character. He takes his time and enjoys his sadistic pleasures. In contrast when he realizes he is in danger he manages to get three shots off at Jon before he starts getting punched in the face. That scene was shorter but was a better example of fast shooting.


Got archery questions?

Send your questions to cardiotrek@gmail.com. More than happy to help answer questions.

Happy shooting!

Girl Pushups and More

The "Girl Pushup"
What is so bad about a "Girl Pushup" ?

It is exercise after all. And lets face it, some people cannot do normal pushups because they haven't reached that stage of athletic fitness - including some men.

It is not a "feminine thing" to be doing so-called "Girl Pushups". It is an "I am out of shape and cannot do a normal pushup yet style of pushup."

You will notice I underlined the word yet. That is the operative word. Do "Girl Pushups" often enough and you will eventually be able to do regular pushups.

Do regular pushups often enough and you will likely also try Incline Pushups or Decline Pushups. Or even One Hand Pushups.

Do various different styles of pushups often enough and you will eventually be able to do Handstand Pushups. Like the woman below is doing.


Clearly this means that Girl Pushups is just part of a gradual process of becoming better at pushups.


My point here is that you should never let embarrassment prevent you from doing exercises. Sometimes things are just names, and there is nothing wrong with doing a Girl Pushup - especially since people (men and women) do them all the time when they are rolling out of bed to get up in the morning.

When you do eventually get good enough to do regular pushups you will want to focus on the quality of your form. Keep your back straight and lower yourself so your chest is nearly touching the floor.

While it is more difficult to do proper form with a pushup, you get more benefits from doing the exercise properly.




Exercising and Dehydration Vs Over-Hydration

Is it possible to drink too much water while exercising?

The short answer is Yes.

It is rather difficult, but still possible. All that is really needed is for a person to think they are dehydrated, drink too much water, and keep drinking because they think the symptoms they are experiencing are from dehydration - when in fact the symptoms of over-hydration are remarkably similar to dehydration.

The long answer requires us to explain the effects of dehydration and over hydration, especially the symptoms.
Dehydration is caused by the excessive loss of water from the body, which causes a rise in blood sodium levels. Since dehydration is most often caused by excessive sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea, water loss is usually accompanied by a deficiency of electrolytes.
Mild to moderate dehydration symptoms
  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output
  • No wet diapers for three hours for infants
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheaded
Severe dehydration symptoms
  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
  • Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
  • Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be darker than normal
  • Sunken eyes
  • Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn't "bounce back" when pinched into a fold
  • In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby's head
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • No tears when crying
  • Fever
  • In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness
Over-Hydration is an excess of water in the body. People can develop over-hydration if they have a disorder that decreases the body's ability to excrete water or increases the body's tendency to retain water. Drinking too much water rarely causes over-hydration because normal kidneys easily excrete excess water.

Mild to moderate over-hydration symptoms
  • nausea and vomiting
  • headache
  • changes in mental state (confusion or disorientation)
 Severe over-hydration symptoms
  • dangerously low levels of sodium in the blood (hyponatremia)
  • muscle weakness, spasms or cramps
  • seizures
  • unconsciousness
  • coma

Preventing Over-Hydration

Endurance athletes such as long distance runners can reduce the risk of over-hydration by weighing themselves before and after a race to determine how much water they have lost and need to replenish.

Individuals exercising should avoid drinking more than one liter per hour of fluid. Drinking more fluids before and during a race or an intensive athletic exertion can also help you avoid the need to drink too much water afterwards. Sports beverages that contain the electrolytes sodium and potassium are also recommended, as both are lost in sweat.

If you have an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, or kidney problems, talk to your doctor about the best treatments for those conditions. If you experience excessive thirst or an overly strong urge to drink water, contact your doctor before you develop symptoms - it could indicate a problem that requires treatment and careful monitoring.

Drink healthy!

Three Unusual Questions about Archery

I have heard some of these questions before, and one of them (the last one) I have only encountered today. I thought the last question was rather odd, so I thought I would talk about the three questions in hopes of Busting some Myths.

Question #1: Do I need a license to do archery?

No.

You do not need a license to practice archery.

 You need a hunting license (H1 or H2) to go bowhunting, but you do not need any sort of license to practice archery for recreation or competitions. And even if you do have a hunting license, you can only hunt during specific hunting seasons, only for game allowed during that season, and only if you have any required tags for that specific animal. eg. deer tags for deer hunting season. You have to abide by all of the laws and regulations with respect to bowhunting, and not following those laws can result in the forfeiture of your hunting license, a large fine and even prison time.

For example: In 2014 a Peterborough man, Dave Sager, was fined $1,000 and had his hunting license suspended for a year for accidentally shooting his son with a crossbow bolt. He was trying to unload his crossbow incorrectly. He was allowed to get his hunting license back after a year and after retaking the hunter education training course.

There is also bowfishing, for which you need a fishing license, can only bowfish during carp bowfishing season, and must follow all laws and regulations regarding where and when you are allowed to fish.

Question #2: Do I need a hunting license to purchase a bow or crossbow?

No.

Like the above question, this is a frequently asked question. The answer is no. You only need a hunting license if you are intending to go hunting. Anyone can legally buy a bow or a crossbow and they don't need a hunting license or any other kind of license to do so. There is however a requirement that you don't have any kind of weapons ban (due to past criminal activity).

eg. I know of an individual in the GTA who was involved in an aggravated assault (he beat up someone who was abusing a kid) and as a result he spent some time in prison and ended up with a lifetime weapons ban. This resulted in him having to sell any weapons he owned, including his Excalibur crossbow. He is the only person I know of personally who is banned from owning any kind of archery equipment.

Also we should note that certain weapons are just plain prohibited in Canada. Hand Crossbows for example are illegal in Canada.

As long as you are not an ex-con and you are not trying to purchase a prohibited weapon, then you will be just fine.

Question #3: Do I need a certificate proving that I know how to do archery to join an archery club?

No.

Or at least none of the archery clubs that I know of, and I am the president of both the Toronto Archery Club and Archery Niagara. To my knowledge none of the other clubs require any sort of certificate either.

I found this last one rather odd. Someone had apparently told the individual that they needed a certificate in order to join various archery clubs in Toronto. Sadly they were given false information. As president of the Toronto Archery Club I have made a mental note to someday have a chat with the person giving out false information and let them know that, no, the Toronto Archery Club does not require any sort of certificate whatsoever.

I have never seen the need to offer any kind of certificate to archery students, with one exception: I do offer an Archery Instructor Certificate Program, designed for people who want to teach recreational archery (usually at summer camps, resorts, etc).

If you have additional archery related questions or if you wish to sign up for archery lessons in Toronto simply email cardiotrek@gmail.com to learn more.

Happy Shooting!

DIY Circuit Training Routine

Q

"Hey there,

I am wondering how much your services are for cardio circuit training for an hours work.

...rate of pay for an hour?


hope to hear from you soon.


Regards,

Adrian "

A

Hello Adrian!
I don't do circuit training. I shall explain why.

While it is a good way for personal trainers to make money, charging clients rates as low as $10 per hour and then getting bulk clients willing to shell out $10 each, the goal of the trainer is really to fit as many people into a single circuit training session as possible. eg. 10 to 15 clients, so that the trainer makes a quick $100 to $150. Some trainers might charge $20 and aim for 5 to 8 clients, but the end goal of the trainer is still to make money while doing very little actual work.

For the clients, yes, they do get a decent workout and they do get access to the personal trainer to ask questions, ask for advice/etc, but they could accomplish the same thing doing a DIY Circuit Training Routine and simply establishing an email relationship with a trainer, possibly paying the trainer for their time to answer emails if they have an excessive amount of questions or advice they are looking for. Ultimately circuit training with a personal trainer is a bit of a scam because the amount of time you have to talk to the personal trainer is actually quite small, especially if the group is crowded or time is constrained.

To Make your own DIY Circuit Training Routine

#1. Look around your home for whatever exercise equipment you already have available. It can be a mix of store bought goodies or even things you made yourself / substituted.

#2. Make a monthly budget for your exercise routines (eg. $10 to $20) to be spent on exercise equipment. Things like dumbbells, skipping rope, yoga mat, hand grips and other small items can be easily added to your routine over time. This allows your training circuit to evolve as the months go by and you collect an impressive collection of goodies to exercise with.

Note - If you don't have a lot of equipment you can even focus on frugal body-weight exercises that use almost no equipment. See the graphic on the right for examples.

#3. Clear a space in your living room or possibly your garage or basement where you exercise freely without bumping into things. If you have a backyard and you don't mind the weather, you now have an excuse to exercise outdoors and get some fresh air.

#4. Organize all of your exercise goodies according to high intensity exercises to low intensity exercises, and then alternate them in a circle starting with a low intensity exercise, then high intensity, then low, then high again, etc, only the circuit is complete. If you like a particular exercise more than others and want to focus on that exercise more you can even make it a Figure 8 design so the middle exercise is done twice during every full circuit.

#5. Schedule daily or weekly circuit training sessions for yourself. Make it part of your routine, possibly with a small reward for you to enjoy after each session (eg. playing Candy Crush for 30 minutes after you finish the routine, watching your favourite TV show, etc. The reward should never be sugary food, although healthy food is certainly acceptable.)
#6. During the scheduled time spend 1 minute on each exercise with up to a 30 second break between each exercise. If you are not tired after a particular exercise feel free to proceed to the next exercise with minimal rest.

Note - If you want to spend extra time on particular exercise you might also consider doing it for 90 seconds or 2 minutes instead of 1 minute.
#7. While exercising try to pay attention to the quality of your form. During a circuit training session with a personal trainer they SHOULD be watching your form and showing you how to correctly perform the exercise so you are maximizing results and minimizing the chances of sports injuries, however many personal trainers I have witnessed doing circuit training don't actually bother to try and warn their clients about the potential for sports injuries. Some of them even use the phrase "no pain no gain" when clients talk about the possibility of sports injuries, which is tantamount to asking for a lawsuit - which happened a few years ago to a New York personal trainer who ignored the complaints of pain from her male client and the man ended up with a permanent disability due to torn ligaments. My motto on the topic essentially is "if it really hurts, you are doing it wrong and you should stop". Stop and seek advice.
#8. If you have serious concerns about the quality of your form / sports injuries then schedule a session with a personal trainer who is an advocate of preventing sports injuries (me or someone equally adamant on the topic of prevention) for an one on one session and bring a list of questions to the session with you. If possible schedule the session at your home so you can show the trainer your routine, what exercises you are doing, and then they can see what you might be doing incorrectly and unsafely. If you email a personal trainer and they don't take your complaints seriously, find a different trainer for a second opinion. All else fails, stop doing exercise which is harming you and focus on exercises that don't hurt you. Some people, especially as they get older, get bad knees and other health problems which hinders their ability to exercise, in which case they should seek the advice of a personal trainer before attempting such exercises as a preventative measure. It is possible circuit training might not be their thing and they might want to consider swimming instead, which is more therapeutic for people with bad knees / joint problems.

I hope this helps!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

What is the Best Quiver?

Q

"Hello!

I saw on one of your older posts that you don't like quivers. Can you explain more about why you don't like them?

Lets say I really want a quiver anyway. Which ones would you recommend?

- Anna"

A

Hello Anna!

I am not completely against quivers. I still use them for transportation purposes, but I will list why I don't like them.

#1. Having to reach awkwardly behind your back to reach arrows that move around in the quiver. If it is a pain to reach, then it really isn't very good at being a quiver. Hence why some archers prefer back quivers that are easier to access or use hip quivers.

#2. Arrows rattle easily and spook deer / turkeys / small game. So a loose quiver means your arrows rattle a lot. A bow quiver however or a quiver with fixed spots for individual arrows solves the problem of rattling. Another old archers' trick is to roll up some fur and stick it lengthwise into the quiver and then add your arrows to it, this prevents them from rattling against each other.

#3. Arrows fall out of loose back quivers whenever you bend over to pick something up.

#4. Arrows fall out of loose hip quivers whenever you are jogging, walking too fast, or bend over.

#5. Ground quivers are handy to have, but are sometimes bulky depending on the design. On a 3D range you might as well leave that behind or get an "arrow caddy" instead. Or do what I do, carry the arrows in your bow hand and learn how to shoot that way.

Below are some interesting designs for quivers...

Below: A Bow Quiver that attaches to the side of the bow.


Below: A Traditional Floppy Back Quiver - Not my favourite.

Below: A Back Quiver that allows more ease of access.

Below: A Side Quiver with more easy access.

Below: A side quiver with fixed arrow slots so they don't rattle or fall out.
The one below also allows ease of access.

Archery Equipment in the Niagara Region

Q

"Hello!
 
I live in the Niagara area and I am going to start attending an archery range as the weather gets warmer. What stores do you recommend that are closer to my home? Also should I shop on Amazon to get things?

Do I need an archery glove? Is it really necessary?

- Y"

A

Hello Y!

Well let's see... there is:

Doc's Archery Sales and Services on the American side of the border, north of Buffalo. Mostly sells crossbows and compounds.

Erie Tracker, SW of Niagara, mostly a gun shop / fishing store but also sells archery equipment - mostly compounds.

The Archer's Nook in London Ontario, which is comparable to the Bow Shop below. Depending on who you talk to some people prefer Archer's Nook.


The Bow Shop in Waterloo Ontario, which is considered by many to be the best bow shop in all of Ontario. Their selection is good. I was a little disappointed the first time I went there because I was expecting it to be bigger.

And yes, an archery glove is pretty much a necessity. Some archers prefer thumb rings or tabs, but the basic concept is to protect the fingers. Not doing so causes permanent nerve damage to the fingers to people who shoot regularly and yet refuse to wear some kind of protection.

If you decide to buy online the store I would recommend is Three Rivers Archery, at 3riversarchery.com. Very similar to Amazon, but specializes in archery products.

Where to find Archery Camps in Toronto / GTA

Q

Hi

I am looking for an archery day camp for my son who is 11yrs old.  I found your website and it talks about day camps in Toronto by all the link and camp listed are overnight camps up north.

Is it possible to guide me where I can find a day camps in Toronto preferably around Bloor west village, Etobicoke (more west end and south).

If there is  a number I can called to discuss it will be great

Thanks in advance

Dominique

A

Hello Dominique!
Sadly I am unaware of any day camps or summer camps in the Bloor West Village area, or the region south-west of there, that does archery.
There are various day camps and summer camps in other parts of the city that do offer archery however, although they are probably less convenient to get to. ArcheryToronto.ca maintains a list of camps at http://www.archerytoronto.ca/Toronto-Archery-Camps.html

If you do manage to find a camp that is not on that list I recommend contacting ArcheryToronto.ca and letting them know about any other locations in Toronto or the GTA that do archery.
Another option would be for you to look into Boy Scouts of Canada. [Or Girl Guides of Canada for any parents reading this who want their daughter(s) to learn archery and other skills.] Some scout groups also do archery, so that is a possibility as well since your son is the right age for it. I first learned archery in Boy Scouts myself when I was 10, and speaking from personal experience I would say Boy Scouts is an excellent way to learn a variety of other woodcraft skills. The website http://greatertoronto.scouts.ca/ would be a great place to start.

Lastly I know of an instructor in Burlington who teaches kids / teenagers, private lessons only. If you are willing to go in that direction that is also an option.

Have a great summer!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

Note: If any parents are reading this and your kids are over 16 years of age and they are serious about learning archery, private lessons would be their best bet. In that case bring them to me.


The photo above is from Boy Scouts of Canada.

Why is it so hard for skinny people to shed the last few pounds?

Q

"Hello! I have lost a lot of weight over the past 3 years - over 50 lbs - and my friends now describe me as skinny. However I still don't have abs. I have checked out other websites and articles on this topic, but nobody seems to have a proper answer for why is it so hard for skinny people to shed the last few pounds so I can see my abs? These days when I lose weight I only seem to lose muscle weight instead of fat, so I am definitely doing something wrong.

- Anonymous"

A

Hey there!

Many people have the same problem you do. They get down close to their desired weight and then they have difficulty attaining the desired number and the feeling / look of physical perfection they were hoping for.

Often people lose weight due to a combination of healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle changes, but when they try to get something specific - like great looking abs, they find that everything they try doesn't seem to get rid of that last bit of fat layer on top of their abs. The stubborn fat that just won't leave.

Part of the problem is that your body composition has changed dramatically... and to explain this I am going to need to use an example:

Bob started off weighing 250 lbs and was overweight. He lost 50 lbs and now he weighs 200 lbs, but he still has some stubborn belly fat that he just cannot get rid of. He tries dieting, he tries jogging and other cardio activities, but the stubborn belly fat just won't leave. Indeed, he does lose weight during these attempts, but what he discovers is that he seems to be getting weaker, not thinner. His body is cannibalizing muscle tissue instead of using up his fat reserves.

This is because his body composition has reached a point where he has very little fat left to choose from but he has plenty of muscle his body can cannibalize for energy. Thus when Bob loses weight due to doing lots of cardio, he loses a lot of muscle weight and his body fat doesn't seem to change.

Bob also has it stuck in his head that he wants to weigh 180 lbs because he is 6'0" tall and he has consulted a BMI chart that states that being 200 lbs and 6'0" tall means that he is overweight because he has a BMI of 27.

So how should Bob fix this problem?

#1. Bob needs to stop worrying about his BMI and stop trying to weigh a specific amount. There is no "cruise control" for your weight. Everyone is different. Some people are not meant to weigh the amount they think they should weigh. Instead they need to change their focus to being healthier and worry less about the numbers.

#2. Bob needs to try a new way of exercising, one that won't decrease his muscle tissue. In Bob's case he should try weightlifting instead of cardio - and building muscle instead of trying to shed fat. He can do this one of three ways:

  1. Switch his cardio regimen to a purely weightlifting regimen.
  2. Split his exercise regimen to half cardio and half weightlifting.
  3. Gradually change from a cardio regimen to a weightlifting regimen, possibly 10% more weightlifting per week and gradually reduce the amount of cardio by 10% per week.
 By building muscle instead of trying to reduce fat, especially in combination with abdominal exercises if his goal is to have more pronounced abdominal muscles, Bob would end up building up muscle tissue and restricting his body to using ONLY fat stores for energy instead of using a combination of fat and muscle for energy. I recommend starting off with a gradual approach (eg. option 3 above) and focusing on core muscles (chest, abs, back muscles) first to build a strong foundation.

#3. It is possible Bob might also have a high cholesterol problem that is clogging arteries and preventing energy from being transferred in a healthy manner from fat tissue to his muscles during exercise. A low cholesterol diet might be beneficial to see if it helps make Bob more energetic, give him more endurance and change his blood sugar levels.

You can get those "six pack abs" you are looking for, but it will take extra time and effort to shed those stubborn last few lbs of fat - and it might mean you have to build up lbs of muscle during the process, just so you are not accidentally cannibalizing muscle tissue.

That means that in Bob's case he might actually put on weight and become a more muscular 220 lbs instead of his desired weight of 180 lbs and skinny. Maybe Bob is meant to look more like a muscular caveman than he was hoping for.

And this goes the same for the ladies out there. Many women have it stuck in their heads that women with muscles is unattractive. Absolute nonsense. Amazons are beautiful. Thus for women, sometimes the answer to shedding those last few lbs isn't more cardio. Maybe it is time to accept that you are an Amazon at heart and that your ideal body isn't a skinny mini, but a strong and beautiful Amazon.



What kind of bow should I purchase?

Q

"Hello! I am 5'8" tall and 180 lbs (a little chubby as I like to say). What kind of bow should I purchase since I am a beginner and new to archery? I am thinking recurve, but can you recommend a brand and how many pounds?

Also what other equipment should I get?"

- J.T. Turner.

A

I would recommend you get a 25 lb Samick Sage. You can get one at Tent City in North York, Basically Bows on Queen Street East or Bass Pro in Vaughan - prices vary by location, the most economical option is Tent City. There are other brands you could try, by the Samick Sage has very good reviews and is readily available. It was even recently shown on the cover of Ontario Out of Doors magazine.

Make sure you do the eye dominance test first so you know whether you should be getting a right handed or left handed bow.

I have an older post on this same topic you should read:

What is a good bow for an archery beginner?
Regarding other equipment you will need I recommend the following:

12 arrows with removable screw-in arrowheads. Do NOT get the glued-in arrowheads, they break too easily and once broken the whole arrow is basically garbage. If a screw-in arrowhead breaks, you unscrew it and then just screw in a new one. Note - 12 is a good number to start with.

Bowstringer so you can easily string your bow and not twist/damage the limbs of your bow using the leg method (which is meant for longbows, not for recurves).

Spare Bow String. In case your bow string ever breaks in the future, it is nice to have a spare.

Spring Loaded Arrow Rest
Arrow Rest. The Samick Sage is nice because it can be fitted with a traditional fur arrow rest, a cheap glue-on arrow rest or a more modern mechanical arrow rest. For beginners I recommend either the fur arrow rests or a spring loaded mechanical arrow rest like the one on the right. I am not a fan of the cheap plastic arrow rests because they break too easily.

For more advanced archers I recommend the Cavalier Super Flyte Arrow Rest (shown below). I find it is more accurate than many other styles of arrow rests, but it is a bit annoying to use because if you squeeze the arrow between your fingers then it slides off the arrow rest very easily. It is super accurate, but very annoying for beginners who tend to squeeze/bump the arrow too much.



Brass Nock Bead(s). Most people only use one nock bead, but sometimes people use two. When using one it goes above the arrow when nocked to prevent "stringwalking" up and down the bow string. Some people prefer to use two nock beads so the arrow cannot slide either up or down. Make sure the nock bead is installed properly, so when in doubt get an archery instructor or the sales rep in the store to do it for you.

Brass Nock Beads

Archery Finger Glove. I recommend Neet. I have reviewed many different archery finger gloves, tabs and mechanical releases (for compound shooters) but when it comes to finger gloves the company I find works best is Neet.

Neet Archery Finger Glove
Overall expect to be spending $300 to $400 on everything. Getting a quiver is optional. I personally find quivers annoying.

Form Techniques for Avoiding String Burn

Q

"I see a lot of folks get bow arm sometimes. A lot of huge bruises in some cases. It even happens to me sometimes. I also see a LOT of plucking. What are some ways to prevent bow arm from happening?"

- M.T.

A

I don't call it "bow arm", I prefer to call it "string burn" - similar to rope burn. String burn occurs when people accidentally hit their arm with the bow string while doing archery and it can leave a bruise, welt or even rip the skin off your arm if you are using a higher poundage bow (like a powerful compound bow).

Form Techniques for Avoiding String Burn

#1. Relax your arm and shoulder. (This is also better for increased accuracy.)

#2. Elbow should be facing sideways and not locked.

#3. Lean slightly into the shot for better shoulder alignment if you have difficulty relaxing your bow shoulder.

#4. Use a lightweight bow. Avoid any bow that causes you to over tense your bow arm.

#5. Plucking the string could still cause the string to oscillate and hit your arm, so for best results practice doing a "dead release". A dead release doesn't move, a live release does. Keep your thumb/hand on your face as you practice dead releases and keep track of any shot where your hand plucked to the side, backwards, forwards, up or down. If it keeps happening you may need to consult an archery instructor familiar with dead releases.

Brace Height
#6. If the bow string is hitting your wrist or hitting near your wrist, that is because your brace height is too low. Unstring the bow using a bowstringer, twist the string 10 or more times to make it tighter and then restring the bow. Check the brace height using the 'rule of thumb' to see if the string is touching your thumb. If it is not touching you should be fine, but if the string is still touching your thumb then you need to unstring your bow tighten another 10+ rotations and then restring your bow. Keep doing this until the string is no longer touching your thumb when you check using the 'rule of thumb' method.

Rule of Thumb

If you want to learn more on this topic or similar topics sign up archery lessons in Toronto from CardioTrek.ca. Have a great day and stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself.

;)

Q+A: Can I leave my longbow strung up?

Q

"Can I leave my longbow strung up all the time? I have heard that it damages the wood over time, but I have also heard of some manufacturers claiming that it is okay to leave their bows strung up all the time. What should I be doing?"

- James R.


A

Hello James!

No, I definitely do not recommend that you leave your longbow strung all the time. If left strung the pressure the bow is under while strung will cause the wood to slowly become weaker, making your bow less powerful - and less accurate - over time. Keeping a bow strung for long periods could also damage the wood permanently so that when it is finally used it could just snap.

This is also true for recurve bows - both traditional recurve bows and Olympic style - and it also true for shortbows / horsebows as well.

There are of course exceptions. eg. Compound bows have to be left strung up all the time. Many crossbows are also left strung up all the time too.

There is a company called "Primal Gear" that makes a metal folding longbow which can be left strung up all the time as well - it is made out of high tensile steel-alloy however. However since it is a folding bow, it kind of defeats the purpose if you left it strung up all the time. Unstring it and fold that puppy up.

When in doubt I strongly recommend keeping your bow unstrung whenever you are not using it. It lengthens the lifespan of the bow and keeps it strong.

When storing your bow(s) I recommend storing them either flat (on a table, shelf or rack) or using a vertical rack with pegs like the one shown below.




I even found you a video on YouTube that demonstrates just how much stress a strung bow is actually under when left strung. It is a surprising amount of power stored in a strung bow and that power will slowly weaken your bow if left strung for long periods of time.



Archery Question - Stacking, Wall and Let Off

Q

"Hello!

I see you teach archery and even though I don't live in Toronto I was hoping you might be able to answer a terminology question for me. Thanks in advance for helping me with this!

Anyway, my question relates to stack. Back in the Autumn I was in the backyard with a friend who has been doing archery a lot longer than me and he told me that my compound bow stacks a lot. I didn't want to look stupid at the time so I just sorta nodded and said "Yeah, it does." because stacking a lot sounded like a compliment to me.

However when I tried researching what stack means I came across a lot of references to longbows and shortbows, and nothing about compound bows. So my questions for you are: What is stack? What does it mean when he says my compound bow stacks a lot?

Thanks again for your help!
Michael A."

A

Hey Michael!

Your confusion regarding stack is very understandable, especially since your friend was using the wrong term.

The correct term for them to be using is Wall, sometimes referred to as a High Wall if it is particularly difficult to pull as it gets closed to the Wall. Compounds bows sometimes have a "Forgiving Wall" or a "smooth draw", which means it isn't as difficult to pull as you get closed to the Wall, but often means the bow in question loses a few fps in arrow speed on release. Your compound bow is apparently one of the High Wall / merciless designs, which are made for speed and not draw comfort.

Because compound bows have pulleys they cannot get stack.* (I will explain what stack is in a moment). Instead compound bows get harder and harder to pull back on until they reach what is known as the Wall, and once "over the Wall" you experience the Let Off when the compound bow suddenly becomes a lot easier to pull.

So for example if you have a 50 lb bow with 80% Let Off, the Wall will feel like you are pulling 50 lbs, but once you get past the Wall the left off kicks in and the bow feels like it is only 10 lbs pull.

I also applaud you for trying to research what Stack really means. You are correct, stack relates to longbows and shortbows.

Stack is the angle of the bowstring to the limb tip, which due to physics makes the bow's pull weight feel heavier than it really is. When the bow is relaxed, the string angle on a longbow is very narrow, but as you pull back the string angle widens dramatically. The wider it becomes the more a longbow will stack, making it feel harder than it really is.

Thus Stack and Wall does feel similar when you are pulling back on a bow, hence your friend's confusion of the two terms. I am guessing your friend is into longbows or shortbows, and thus learned of the term but didn't know what Stack actually means.

Shortbows stack more than longbows, due to sharper angle of the tips.

In the case of recurve bows or bows with reflexed or recurved tips, they still stack, but thanks to the recurved shape of the tip the angle of the string to the tip is reduced. Thus recurved bows still stack, but the amount of stack is reduced significantly depending on the bow.

This is why you will often see recurved bows with very dramatically curved limb tips that have been designed in order to maximize the amount of reduction in stack. (See the image further below.)

If you want to learn more about Stack and how it works (on a physics level) I recommend reading The Traditional Bowyer's Bible (Volume One) and read Chapter 3 on "Bow Design and Performance" by Tim Baker.

A Highly Recurved Limb Tip
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