Ben Humphrys

  • Warm Up Misconceptions for Archers

    All too often when I am either at training or attending competitions I witness many archers, of all different ages, performing little or no warm up whatsoever. This can be very detrimental to performance for numerous reasons. One of the main reasons for this lack of warm up is that I am yet to find any good resources in the sport that offer the insight into how archers should warm up correctly. Now, some of you may read that and think, well I have read plenty of books and articles from ex archers/coaches discussing how to warm up properly. The problem with those resources is that they are now out-dated and I believe, for the most part, the information is now incorrect with what we know from today’s current research. On a side note, I also believe that it is not the responsibility of a coach to provide insights into how to warm up and train for the sport. That responsibility lies with a Strength and Conditioning Coach.

    Now, I am not blaming anyone for writing what they have in the past as that was the “correct” information back then, the problem now, however, is that it is the only resource people use today. And, as we know now, ideas and theories behind enhancing performance has surpassed what it was previously. The whole premise of static stretching before competition or training is incorrect and needs to be put to bed. All you are doing with static stretching is decreasing the ability for your muscles to work optimally as many studies have shown that static stretching prior to exercise decreases strength, reaction time, power output and so on.

    Why should we warm up?

    Before discussing the warm up routine, maybe I should clarify what a warm up is and why we should do it. By definition, a warm up prepares us for the activity or sport we are going to participate in. Therefore, we should warm up because, on a physiological level, we will increase heart rate, blood flow and core body temperature which all enables for greater muscle contractions as warm muscles can contract at a faster rate than cold muscles. Furthermore, following a warm up routine prior to exercise, has shown increases in rate of force development, power, strength and reaction time. All sounds great, right? Right, so why are people still not warming up?

    Failure to warm up may not result in short term injury, like many people have been told, but will almost certainly result in an accumulation of injury risk and performance decrements.

    I believe, and always have, that a warm up should be viewed and treated as a crucial part of one’s preparation for competition and not something done half heartedly, or not at all, just so you can get onto the shooting.

    Example of a warm up routine

    Instead of just explaining why you should warm up I thought it would be best to leave you with an example. Below is a sample warm up routine you can follow prior to your training or competition. The idea with this warm up is not to fatigue you but merely get you ready for the task ahead, which is shooting your bow. The warm up should take between 5-10 minutes to complete and the more often you complete it, the quicker it should become, as you will be more fluent with the exercises and sequence. You can also add or take away sets of an exercise depending on how you’re feeling on a certain day. For example, you may feel really achy in your mid back so you may want to perform an extra set or two of the first exercise (bent over thoracic rotations) or your chest may feel tight so you can perform extra sets of exercise two (shoulder dislocations). You can completely customise this warm up to fit your needs. I am simply just laying down the starting point for you.

    Equipment needed

    Yourself and a light resistance band (theraband or tubing).

    Side note on band tension:

    Typically with resistance bands the colours go from light to heavy in the following order: Yellow, Green, Red, Blue, Black. I would advise you to usethe yellow or green.

    Warm Up Routine: 

    Exercise Sets Reps

    Rest (sec)

    A: Bent over thoracic rotations 

    1 8 e/s 15

    B: Shoulder dislocations (band)

    2

    10 - 12

    15

    C: Wall slides/floor angels

    1

    8

    15

    D: Y handcuffs

    1

    6 – 8

    15

    E: Banded external rotations

    2

    12

    15

    F: Band pull-aparts 2 12 - 15

    30

    Key: E/S = each side. The rest time is either between sets if there are more than 1 being performed or the time you have to rest before starting the next.

    For a FREE downloadable PDF of exercise demonstrations and descriptions please click here.

    Summing it all up

    So there you have it, a really good starting point for your own warm up routine designed to prepare you for archery training and competition (applies to all bow types). I hope you have enjoyed my post on this topic and hopefully I have been able to open your eyes to new ways of preparing your body for competition. Please feel free to contact me via my social media links below if you have any questions.

    Till next time,

    Ben

     

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