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Fitness Guide to Archery for Beginners

By , SparkPeople Blogger

The most common sports in high school are usually football, basketball and track, but although those might be popular, there are plenty of other interesting sports with which you could get involved. Archery, for instance, is relatively easy to learn and excel at, and who doesn't like the idea of shooting things with arrows like Robin Hood or Katniss Everdeen? Archery has been around for thousands of years, first as a practical method of hunting or warfare and then as a competitive sport. And while it might not appear to be that athletic at first, archery does require you to keep in good shape, just like other sports.

Archery and Physical Demands

Although archery may not seem like a very physical sport, it does require a certain amount of physical strength and can even lead to sports injuries. People who practice archery should have aerobic endurance and good muscular strength, particularly in their back, shoulders and arms. It's important that archers properly stretch for flexibility and engage in both cardio exercise and strength training for strong core muscles. Stretching is especially important before competitions, training or any bow-related activities. Without the proper strength, use of good form and training, the repetition and strain of archery can begin to take its toll on the body, resulting in pain or serious injury.

The act of holding and drawing a bow places a strain on the muscles of the neck, shoulder or back. A tear of the muscles that connect the shoulder joint may also occur. This is the rotator cuff, and other injuries to it may include dislocation due to repetitive stress, known as archer's shoulder, irritation or swelling. Tendinitis is another problem associated with archery. This is an inflammation of the tendons that can happen in your wrist, shoulder, or elbow.

Types of Archery

There are several types of archery, and to find the best style for you, you'll need to know what the differences between them are. The most common in the United States are target, field, 3D, bowhunting and traditional. As the name suggests, traditional archery relies on using simple bows and arrows that do not have modern modifications or accessories to shoot indoor or outdoor targets. Bowhunting involves hunting for game such as deer or elk. An offshoot of bowhunting combines archery and fishing and is called bowfishing. With 3D archery, you'll shoot at three-dimensional, non-living targets that are shaped like wildlife and usually placed outdoors to simulate a true hunting environment.

With field archery, you'll shoot at bullseye targets instead of animals or animal forms. Like with 3D archery, the bullseye targets are set at different distances and in landscapes. Field archery can be done indoors or outdoors on a roving course for more range. Target archery is similar to field archery in that it involves shooting at a flat target and can be either an indoor or outdoor sport. What makes it different is that all of the targets are set at the same distance. This is the type of archery in the Olympics and is also popular with beginners.

  • Types of Archery: Visit the Discover Archery website for a list of different types of archery along with links to what they mean.
  • Styles of Archery: Go to the European Members of Archery Association website for information about the five different styles of archery.
  • Target Archery: Target archery involves shooting at flat targets set at a consistent distance.
  • 3D Archery: It's Not Archery With Fancy Glasses: The CBC explains 3D archery here, including its scoring system and its similarity to hunting.
  • Target Archery: The most widely known form of archery is target archery.
  • What Is Field Archery: Learn about field archery on the English Field Archery Association website.
  • Types of Archery: Archery GB offers their own definitions of archery styles here.
  • Types of Archery: Target and Field: Read about target and field archery as well as less common styles here.
  • Intro to Archery: On this page, beginning archers will find information about the different archery types and bow types.
  • Bowhunting 101: Click this link to read information about popular species to pursue in bowhunting and the common types of bows used.

Types of Bows

Before you can start your new sport, it's important that you have the right accessories. The most important thing you'll need is the right bow. The most common types of bows are recurve, compound, longbows and crossbows. In the Olympics, the only authorized style of bow is the recurve bow. A recurve bow is often used for target archery as well as 3D and field archery and sometimes bowhunting. A traditional recurve bow is one solid piece, but a takedown recurve bow can be broken down into three pieces when unstrung for convenience and ease of transportation. Meanwhile, longbows, also known as traditional bows, are basic, single-curve bows typically made from wood or a combination of wood and fiberglass and used in any type of archery.

A compound bow is used in bowhunting and target, field and 3D archery. It has multiple strings and cams at each end that pull the limbs of the bow. This allows the archer to hold less weight when drawing the bow, which allows you to aim longer at a target. And crossbows are perhaps the most high-tech kind of bow, somewhat resembling guns and usually fired using a trigger. They are used for target, 3D and field archery, and because of their accuracy and their long firing range, they are also popular with bowhunters.

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