Sunday, May 08, 2022

A Simple Total Archery Muscle Workout

How I’m Addressing Archery Strength As a Dialysis Patient

By Derek Benoit, February 2nd, 2022

ALWAYS consult your physician, specialist, or appropriate exercise professional before beginning ANY exercise or treatment plan. This content is for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE MEDICAL ADVICE. By accessing this content, you agree to hold harmless and Benoit Outdoor Media LLC for any injury, death, or damage to private property that results from performing any exercise, therapeutic exercise, or in receiving medical treatment.

A Simple total archery muscle workout is saving my ability to participate in archery, period. Undoubtedly, you’ve seen something similar if not identical elsewhere in archery land (online). This is how I perform the exercise, using simple resistance bands.

Keep Your Dialysis Strength Training for Archery Simple

  • I’m using one all-archery-muscle encompassing move with lots of reps… strength will come back!
  • The less protein spillage after exercise, the easier the dialysis will offset
  • Like any strength routine, you need to increase protein beyond the increases for dialysis
  • Don’t overlook cardio-walking, light in-house stairs, or walking a hill nearby all help

A Word About Max Draw Weights

You know it’s coming: focus on building to a draw weight that’s shootable, comfortable, and is merciful towards your shoulders and rotator cuff. To put it simply (see what I did there?) less is more. Should you be tempted to set a personal record for draw weight, think bout these questions.

  • Will you shoot as high a draw weight in frigid conditions in idea ones?
  • Will you be sitting while shooting or in a “less-than-perfect” bow stance?
  • Should you push the DW and get hurt, will you recover at the same pace, or slower pace as before dialysis?
  • Do you absolutely, positively NEED hero limb, cam, or draw poundage to accomplish your goals?

You already know the answers to these questions. Put your pride aside like I did, and be conservative.

Resistance Bands for Dialysis Strength Training for Archery:

I’m currently using the resistance bands made by Lifeline. This company offers an accessory which I also use: a set of handles designed to accept up to three of the company’s bands. This comes in very handy to if you want simulate a handheld release during this exercise. Even more so will they be when I move on the full body strength exercises!

Checkout these and more from Lifeline Fitness at

A selection of Lifeline Fitness Bands. Photo by Derek Benoit

The Dialysis Strength Training for Archery Warmup

Before you start the archery exercise proper I find it helpful to do a little mild cardio to get the blood flowing throughout the body. I’m looking 5 to 10 minutes should be sufficient, as long as you feel a light sweat develop.

For the archery-specific movement, I’m looking for 15-20 repetittions of a bow drawing motion with an excercise band about 1/2 or so the weight as I will use for 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions. Be deliberate in how you figure this warm up resistance. You want to feel the muscles literally warm an fill with blood. This is not a “development” set.

The Dialysis Strength Training for Archery Progression

  • 5-10 minutes cardio body warm up
  • Stretch your shoulders & back
  • 1 set 15-20 repetitions for a warm up weight
  • 3 sets 10-12 repetitions 50% increased over warm up weight
  • 3 more sets of 15 reps, same weight; OR 3 sets of 10-12 higher weight
  • Be sure to stretch shoulders shoulders & back after your done

Perform with BOTH right hand and left hand drawing!

If it Weren’t Obvious

You should NOT fee pain at any point during any of these movements. If it hurts STOP. It’s okay for you to feel the muscles build up some lactic acid, and for the movements to get increasingly difficult, but be smart… pain is NO BUENO!

The Movement Itself

A Frew Notes About These Photos

  • Sorry about the ostomy bag if it makes you squeamish. I’m so used to I’m not shy at all.
  • My form isn’t great in these photos. My head and neck should be more vertical
  • I’m setup with my body aligned 30 degrees offset to the “target line”

What I feel: “Open the door” with muscles between your shoulder blades and let the shoulders ride

  • Take your set position with the bow arm extended but not ramrod straight
  • Grip the band with you draw hand approximately at same distance from your bow hand as your hand would be positioned relative to the release
  • Start pulling the band back with the back muscles between your shoulder blades-contract the blades together
  • Shoulders are assisting, not doing all the work
  • “Swing the door,” that is the back of your upper draw arm, about the shoulder joint like you’re closing a door
  • Finish with your draw hand in the same position as at your anchor point
  • GRADUALLY allow the band to contract, reversing the order of the pulling motion
  • The muscles between the shoulder blades should be the last thing to release back to the draw position

Starting position from the front. Sorry about the ostomy bag. By Derek Benoit

Full draw position. The head should be vertical on the neck! By Derek Benoit
Start position from the back (at least no ostomy). By Derek Benoit

Full draw from the back. Again, my head and neck should be straight up an down. By Derek Benoit

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