Archery Exercises: Squats
If you plan to participate in a Hunger Games-like contest and you want to use archery as your main weapon, you’ll need more than just a strong upper body. When an archer takes a stance to aim and fire, the legs are supposed to be firm with weight distributed evenly. If the leg muscles are weak, they can’t stay firm for long.
Learn how to use squats as an archery exercise to develop those leg muscles! Squats are sometimes considered the perfect exercise because they can be modified to target your quadriceps (upper front leg muscles), the hamstrings (upper back leg muscles), glutes (your butt) and calf muscles (lower back of the leg).
The Basic Squat
The best approach is to progressively make your squats difficult. Start with a basic body squat. Spread your legs to be shoulder width apart. Stand with your back against a wall. Stick your arms out in front of you. Then, with a five-count, lower your body until your upper legs are parallel to the ground. Pause for a second, and then take a five-count to stand back up again. That’s a basic squat!
Start by doing 10 to 20 of those in one set. When 20 becomes pretty easy, add some difficulty by raising one heel while you squat. Switch heels to even it out.
You can get a good archery exercise out of squats by adding weights. Instead of standing against the wall, grab a dumbbell in each hand. Do the five-count while holding the weights just outside of your thighs. The weights should almost touch the ground before you come back up. If you don’t have dumbbells, a couple gallons of milk will do. Here’s an example of the dumbbell squat:
Fitness Ball Squats
This is the ultimate in squat training as an archery exercise. You get a fitness ball and put it between your back and a wall. Slowly roll your back down the ball until your legs are parallel to the ground and then come back up. You’ll notice your whole body is shaking trying to keep the ball in place. That’s because your core muscles- the lower back and abdominals- are also working! Want to make it even more fun? Grab those weights again while you squat. This isn’t the easiest exercise, but once you master the form, it produces strong leg muscles and core muscles quickly, making you a more stable archer.
Squats are just one exercise. If you have bad knees, don’t go for the weighted squats. If you have chronic knee pain, you could try some tips from Beast Mode fitness expert Andy Mychal. If you want to get totally fit for archery, don’t forget to add a push-up routine as well.