Posts Tagged ‘Archery Strength’

An Archer with a strong core is an archer with a strong shot.

Fitness as a whole is important for competitive archers. Archers are athletes and it is important to act as such and to train as such. This includes incorporating aerobic, anaerobic and strength conditioning into an athletes training program.

One exceptionally important area of strength that an archer needs to develop is that of core strength. The core of an athlete provides stability for the archer. Archers with poor core conditioning will struggle to consistently achieve correct posture, or to remain stable in their shoot in adverse weather conditions (such as wind), and will fatigue much easier in multi day competitions.

What is the core
When people think core muscles they automatically think “abdominal muscles” but the core is much more diverse then that. It includes the four abdominal muscles (rectus and transverse abdominus, and internal and external obliques) but also includes your hip muscles (glute medius, maximus, minimus, and psoas) and your lumber spine muscles (erector spinia, Multifidus spinae, quadratus lumborum, lower lats). In very basic terms some people would go as far as to define the core as the muscles above your knee up to your chest!

Why the core is important to archery:
The core is the central system of your body, it stabilizes your posture, allows you to find and maintain a neutral “flat back” shooting position. Provides a base of strength and support on which the rest of your shooting form relies.

At what age should an athlete start core strength training:

As young as 8 archers are capable of beginning body weight core strengthening exercises  coupled with medicine ball work and Swiss ball work. Note: it is key at this age that young athletes have correct exercise technique demonstrated to them and reinforced.

We set aside time in training sessions once a week for body-weight conditioning archers 8-10. And from 11 on-wards we begin a program of 3 x a week body weight conditioning. From 15/16+ we will add gym based training to the program.

It honestly doesn’t take a lot of time to build and maintain strength, and to make it a habit for young archers. It only takes 15-20 minutes at the beginning of a session to a really efficient strength workout, and the benefits are so great there is no reason not to!

Key strength exercises:

Functional stabilization exercises are more useful then individual strength movements. Functional strength movements work to stabilize the core/trunk region as a unit working together as opposed to working individual muscles on their own. However there is a time and place for both functional and individual training and whilst we prefer functional we do use both.

Some of our club favorites are as follows:

ImageHand walks:

Stand straight, with your legs together. Bend over until both hands are flat on the ground. “Walk” with your hands forward until your back is almost extended. Keeping your legs straight, inch your feet toward your hands, then walk your hands forward again.

 

 

 

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Bridge: A great exercise to train young archers to activate their core:

Lie on your back  with knees bent and feet together. Place a towel between the knees and squeeze.  Lift the hips toward the ceiling, . Keep the lifted part of the body in a straight line from the knees to the hips to the shoulders.

 

 

 

Partner Medicine ball sit ups:

ImageThis is always a favorite with our juniors. Ensure that you use an appropriate medicine ball weight. Partner A starts with medicine ball, both partners sit up, Partner A passes medicine ball to Partner B and they lower to ground. Repeat 10-20x

 

Oblique/Russian Twists:
ImageStart seated on the floor with your knees bent and heels in contact with the ground. Lean back until you feel the abs engage to stabilize your body, Lift heels of ground. Holding a medicine ball, rotate as far as possible to your right and touch the ball to the ground. Make sure you rotate your entire torso and are not just reaching around with your arms. Wherever the weight goes, your shoulders and eyes should go as well. After touching, change direction and move the load to the other side (without pausing).

Note: This can be done solely with body weight if needed,  touching hands to ground.

 

 

 

Hanging leg raises:
This is seriously one of the most effective Core exercises a person could do.

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To execute find a bar or tree branch, In a dead hang position, ensuring shoulders are engaged, raise your knees directly up engaging your abdominal s. Lower slowly and repeat.

 

 

ImageSquats:
Squats are one of the base exercises of  almost every workout. They are wonderful strengthening the legs, hips, and core. When executing squats ensure the following:
Ensure knees remain over toes.
Chest is lifted, and shoulders are down and back.
Back remains neutral not arched.
Abdominal muscles are engaged throughout.

 

 

 

Making it fun:
For the young athletes it is important to make strength training fun, one way to do this is through games and competition. For example:

Set Excercise Shoot: Archers shoot an arrow, the ring that they hit (1-10) is the number of that particular excercise they must do. Archers who do the most of the set excercise by the end of the specified number of arrows shot (depending on age, ability, etc) wins.

Relay RaceA great way to appeal to the competitive side of junior archers. Set up a relay with 3-4 different stops. Team the archer up. Have first person sprint to first stop preform a set number of a certain exercise, then sprint to second stop with a different set of exercises, continuing through the 4 stops and 4 different exercises, then have them sprint back to the beginning where second person begins. First team to complete the relay with good form wins.

That’s all from us on this Fit Friday (posted late due to internet issues). Feel free to share with us your favorite core strengthening exercises, or ideas you have to keep strength training fun for young (or old) archers 🙂