Fit to Kill: 3 Exercises for Bowhunters

Sure, we all have the best of summer intentions: Practice every day. Cart our bow and arrows to the beach house. Find a range near the lake. We have great plans to stay tuned up and in shape without a break all the way till the deer opener, but then summer sloth gets in the way. And most hotels aren’t too keen on you firing away at portable targets hidden behind the dumpster.

So here are three ways to keep your bow-pulling strength in condition, even when you’re hours away from the nearest range. They use milk jugs, soccer balls, and resistance bands. Working out like this will make you feel a little goofy, there’s no way around that. But the payoff will be a rock-solid sight picture in front of your pins, and arrows that make their mark.

1) Milk Jug Circles
Fill 2 one-gallon milk containers with water to create hand-held weights of just over 8 pounds each. Stand up straight, pick up the milk container, and hold arms straight out and parallel to the floor. Perform arm circles of 1-foot in diameter for 10 seconds. Reverse direction for another 10 seconds. As strength increases, add repetitions.

2) Wall Ball
Stand an arm's length from a wall. Hold a soccer ball or volleyball against the wall with the palm of your hand. Using your arm—no finger or wrist movement—move the ball in a figure 8 for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other arm. To increase resistance, use heavier 6-, 8-, and 10-pound exercise balls.

3) Scarecrow Pulls
Loop a resistance band around a column at shoulder height. Bend knees slightly, and firmly grasp loops or handles at the ends of the band. Pull elbows back to slightly past a 90-degree angle, as if you were drawing a bow. Next, raise hands upwards and overhead, keeping the upper arms parallel to the floor. Return hands to a bench press position and straighten arms. That completes one repetition.