T Nation

Anyone thought of LongBow

Hello Everyone. Its 5 am right now Im getting ready to go to Vegas so excuse my miss spelling and what not. Im tired. Well I was watching a few days ago the show conquest on the history channel. They where talking about the exceptional strength required to use a Long bow in the middle ages. That got me thinking. Wouldn’t the use of a LongBow or some kind of heavy bow (minus the arrows) would be a good use of a strength tool. Could be used as a GGP tool. I remember when I was young trying to pull a heavy bow. I never got it fully pulled. Well Im just throwing the idea out there. I think it would do great for your arms, chest, and upper & lower back.

I’ve hunted with a recurve bow before and worked in an archery shop in college, so maybe I can help out.

Poundages vary among bows of course. Some are very light, while some are very heavy. When someone first starts pulling a bow, his strength gain in the movement is pretty quick. “Newbie gains” I guess you could call it. The average guy who uses a bow isn’t a weight trainer and probably hasn’t used those muscles much, so he adapts quickly. That said, after working in the archery shop for over a year, I never saw anyone get noticeably bigger pulling bows, although I’m sure there was some local hypertrophy. But, shooting a bow requires no eccentric movement, therefore little to no hypertrophy. I suppose you could pull a dry bow and lower the string slowly, but that’s pretty tough with a heavy poundage.

Some of the bow hunting magazines sold a device to get you stronger, which looked like a stretchy band tied to a vertical pole. I’m sure any band (like Westside uses) would work for this, so no need to go buy a good bow (several hundred bucks at least) to simulate it, unless you just want to shoot.

You could also simulate the movement with a one arm row, only use a grip where the palm faces your feet and the DB is brought to the neck/face area. This will look like a cross between a one arm row and a rear delt fly.

Another note with bows, some non-compound bow users pull back to their mouth area, then release at the contact point instantly. (Some call this instinctive shooting.) Some hold it there for a while and “aim”. That would add an isometric portion (but not with a compound bow.)

In short, if you want to hunt or target shoot, go for it. Both are great. If you just want to work your muscles, there’s no need to go out and buy a bow.

I’ve really enjoyed my archery experience and I agree that it takes a certain amount of strength, but I’ve got to agree with Chris that there are better strength training and GPP methods out there.

With the bow you will:

1. Only develop the strength needed to pull and hold the bow.

2. Develop strength in a very specific ROM.

Overall, I think there are better options out there.

I’ve read that the English longbow typically had a pull force of 100 lbs. Of course that is at the end of the pull, I’m sure. Also, using a bow for a workout would result in assymetrical development, unless you switched it around.

Just make sure that you don’t shoot your PE teacher…