How To Deal With Archery Fatigue in 5 Steps


You will learn how archery fatigue happens and how to deal with it. So, if you ever had to stop shooting arrows because your muscles were tired, then you are at the right place.

We will discuss what archery fatigue is, why it happens, how to avoid it and why it’s really dangerous.

So, let us begin with 5 ways you can quickly fix archery fatigue.

Here are 5 ways you can deal with Archery fatigue:

  1. Maintain proper form while shooting a bow
  2. Use a bow with a lower draw weight
  3. Use proper protection for the fingers of your dominant hand
  4. Increase your muscle mass
  5. Stay hydrated while shooting a bow

There is also a surprising tool that helps combat archery fatigue, as you will see in a moment.

But, let’s start from the beginning with an explanation of what archery fatigue is.

What Is Archery Fatigue?

Archery fatigue describes the condition where the archer’s muscles get tired from overshooting. The tiredness of the muscles causes the archer’s groupings to widen and his form to become sloppy. Continuing to shoot while experiencing archer fatigue can lead to a long-term decrease in the quality of the archer’s form and physical injury to the archery.

Archery fatigue happens when you experience soreness and fatigue in the muscles of your bow arms or the arm with which you’re drawing the bow. This most often happens with archers that have not been shooting for a longer period of time.

Most often you will experience soreness and fatigue in your left or right shoulder muscles. Where you should! That is to be expected. The issue is if you start feeling fatigued elsewhere. If your arm muscles get fatigued much sooner than your shoulder muscles then you should be checking your form.

The fatigue has the effect of messing your groupings up.

Why Archery Fatigue Can Be Dangerous

Fatigue of the muscles in itself is not that much of a bad thing. The problem arises in the archer’s ego.

You feel fatigued and you keep going because you want to “push yourself” or you don’t listen to your body and you refuse to take a break from archery in order to let your body recover and heal.

Or “there is nothing wrong with my form”. Sure, buddy. You keep believing that.

If you ignore the signals your body is sending you and you ignore the important element of rest time you will likely pay the price down the line.

Fatigue can be dangerous because if your muscles lose power the resulting drop in your form will likely transfer undue force to your tendons.

That’s the problem.

Most of the big muscles in your body will heal and recover rather quickly if you allow them to rest. Tendons on the other hand take way longer.

As a person who had tendonitis, it ain’t a walk in the park. It will knock you out of the game for a long period of time.

Archery fatigue means your muscles lose their power which in turn means tendons in your elbow and shoulder will suffer more since your form becomes sloppy.

Tendonitis is the major cause of injury in archery. For a complete list of archery injuries that can occur (some from overuse or fatigue) then click here.

Now you hopefully get why fatigue can be dangerous. So, now let us continue to the section titled … drumroll, please.

How To Improve Your Endurance As An Archery And Delay Archery Fatigue As A Result

Now we will take a look at some ways to improve your endurance in a safe and responsible way. Let us begin with the most important factor.

1. Your form

Your form is designed to keep you safe, enable you to shoot better and of course, make you last for longer.

You know the old saying “put your back into it”?

Well, as you well know this goes the same for archery. Back muscles are a major part of drawing the bow.

They should play a key role in drawing the bow. If you rely on your back muscles instead of your arm muscles you will last longer. And get fatigued much less often.

Assuming your bow is well-tuned and your draw length is perfectly matched for you you should be feeling your back muscles tense when drawing the bow and when you are at full draw.

The back muscles are larger and are designed to take more load than your arm muscles. So use them!

From researchgate.net

A lot of muscles are being used when drawing the bow. By relying on these large muscle groups you will get fatigued less.

2. Lower Your Draw Weight

If you feel your form needs work then I suggest you drop your draw weight and work on the basics first. And if you wish you can always shift back to a bow with a bigger draw weight.

3. Having Good Finger Protection

Fatigue can happen not only in your muscles but in your fingers as well. There is no need for that to ever happen. Get yourself a decent finger tab. Protect your fingers and your nerve endings.

You can get your pick of top-quality finger tabs if you go here. It will take you to Amazon where you can take your pick.

If you want to see if a finger tab or an archery glove is a better way to protect your fingers then check this article out.

4. Build Your Muscles Up

This will sound obvious but yes, bigger muscles will get tired less quickly than smaller ones. And no this does not mean you should be starting the bodybuilding regiment. You can start to slowly build out muscles related to archery.

This means, you slowly increase the number of arrows you shoot. But I do mean slowly. I discussed already how often you should shoot here.

But the overall principle is you start slowly and build from there. I would recommend you start with more than 1 hour a week.

You record how many arrows you shoot every session and then slowly start adding 2 more arrows next week in the same time period.

Once your progress to shooting twice a week, you should jump from one session of one hour to two sessions of two-hour shooting.

It’s best to split it into two 40-minute sessions and see how your body responds. If you are a weekend shooter there are still things you can do during the week to become a better archer.

Resistance Bands Are Awesome!

Take a few resistance bands and attach one to your foot and pull it upwards with your bow arm. This is the closes way to simulate the weight of the bow without actually picking up the bow.

So, the next time you are watching your favorite show on Netflix or youtube, simply pause what you are watching and stretch out the resistance band for 3 minutes with 10-second intervals.

Start with the low-resistance ones and if you do that one day for 3 to 5 minutes it will help the muscles adapt and grow.

The alternative is simply to pick up a bow and hold it in front of you for 10 seconds then lowering it for 20 or 30 seconds then repeat.

The goal here is to help your muscle grow so don’t overdo this one. If you combine this tip with the rest the number of arrows you shoot should go up.

The one tip I did not mention was going with a compound bow. The let-off effect in the compound bow will help you shoot more arrows.

5. Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water. Now the weird part of this tip is that dehydration does not actually affect performance in elite archers. There was an actual government study done on the effects of hydration on archers’ performance which you can read fully here.

To sum up their findings:

In the current study, it was shown that dehydration induced psychological and physiological strain but did not alter shooting performance of national level archers during a competition simulation in hot environment. Specifically, the results of the current study indicate that archery score was not affected by dehydration.

Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology

This study was done on elite archers. So for the rest of us mortals the hydration rule still applies. Get plenty of water while shooting to make sure your muscles are well hydrated and they will serve you better as a result.

Surprising Way To Help With Archery Fatigue

Archery lube. By rubbing your arrows with lube you will find it easier to pull them out of your archery targets. Less effort is needed to pull your arrows out of the target the less tired you will get.

I know what the fellows reading this might be thinking “if the target was really into you you wouldn’t need to lube up your shaft”. I was so waiting to use that dad joke.

Test it out, in my opinion, they are worth the investment.

In Conclusion

Hopefully, you found this article helpful. Keep in mind you should gradually work to improve your muscle endurance. And you can do that by using proper form and gradually increasing the number of arrows you shoot with the draw weight that is best suited to you.

Take care

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