It doesn’t take a a few sessions in the gauntlet to get fit for archery.

“My muscles are strained so tightly, they feel they might snap at any moment.”

Katniss’ was not a very muscular girl. She was a slender and fast character, which helped her survive all the Hunger Games. Although she didn’t wield a sword, she still needed a level of strength to accurately fire her arrows into the frightened hearts of squirrels, Careers and that poor apple from the pig’s mouth.

To be a good archer, you don’t need a lot of strength. However, there are some elements of fitness you should improve in. It helps to do exercises that strengthen your torso, forearms, triceps and even your core. The best exercise to accomplish all of this? The push up.

Until Katniss entered the Training Center in The Hunger Games or Catching Fire, she didn’t have much access to weight training equipment. If you want to “rough it” and get in basic archery shape, use these push up techniques.

Push up position. Military style push ups start with your hands underneath your shoulders and your toes on the ground no more than 12 inches apart. Push up from your body until your shoulders, butt and heels are in line. To test this, you can have a friend put a broom handle (or bow if you already own one) on your back until all three points are touching.

Push up variations.  If you plan to do a lot of running and shooting, you can use the push up position to improve your cardiovascular endurance by combining it with a squat thrust and a clean press. Here’s a demonstration with dumbells:




For core strength, try the plank position. It’s like the push up’s “up” position, except you are stabilizing yourself with your forearms instead of your hands. This will cause your core to quiver. See how long you can stay in this position before collapsing.

Push up equipment. You don’t really need any equipment to do push ups, but you can grip a pair of dumbbells while doing push ups or squat thrusts. Just make sure the dumbbell surfaces are square to keep them from moving. You can use a stability ball to increase the push up difficulty. If you put your feet on the ball while doing the push up, it forces you to activate more muscle groups just to keep your balance.

Doing these push up routines will hurt at first if you aren’t used to general exercise. Yet it will pay off when you can draw with stronger bows or hold your arrow longer without getting fatigued.  Try doing these variations every other day. Besides, push ups can’t be any worse than going through the Training Center’s gauntlet!