Building Up to Heavy Bows
- I don't know the whole situation for Carl, but this does remind me of
Each person has a different draw weight tollerance. By this I mean,
the maximum current draw weight they can fire comfortably. To increase
this, you must shhot often, and increase the draw weights of the bows
you are using in steps. If you are comfortable using a 40lb bow, but
own a 75lb longbow, you will need to build your body up to it. Most
experts will tell you to do so in increments of 5 pounds. However,
there are other ways. Excercising and weight training can help a great
deal, but rarely simulates the narrow strings. So when you pick up and
draw a heavy a bow after the training, you can injure a finger or
nerve, as well as the body not being ready for the shock of the release.
The Technique I have used, and still use, seems to work well.
Warm up you muscles by using a bow you are comfortable with, but
limit the number of arrows you shoot to less than half. Fire a few
arrows (no more than 12 to start) from a heavier bow, possibly 10 to
15 pounds heavier than the previous bow. Then return to your lighter
bow. Start increasing the number of arrows you fire from the heavier
bow untill work up to half the total number of arrows you normaly use
in your practicing. In the following practices use just the heavier
bow untill you reach the normal number of arrows again. You may follow
this progression up quite a ways. I used it to reach the ability to
fire a 96lb longbow. It only took about a month. Of course, that was
with practicing twice daily. One practice was skills (and my normal
target bow), the other was weight conditioning.
If you shoot untill you have trouble hitting the target, or your arms
quivers more then normal (if it quivers), you have fired too many
arrows. STOP. To continue shooting more during that practice or event
is fruitless. You may well injure yourself. Even if no injury takes
place, you have not helped your skill any. It can lead to poor body
memory, and bad habits.
Large jumps can lead to injuries. I have injured myself everytime I
took a large jump in draw weights.
Carl reminded me of some painful mistakes I have made. In returning
to SCA archery, I nearly went out with my 50lb target bow. I have been
doing ALOT of high-end fighting, and thought nothing of the bow.
However, as it needed a new string, I borrowed a couple of bows. I
discovered a 40lb bow was rather painful after a few dozen arrows.
Fancy that. Stronger than ever, yet weaker as well.
Yes, I continued the shoot. Yes, I injured my right hand ring finger.
Yes, my fighting suffered, much to my dismay.
THL Cain Saethydd