Bowhunting isn't just about drawing an arrow and letting it fly. It's a test of precision, patience, and power. The wilderness doesn't offer second chances, and neither does the elusive game you're tracking.
This is where stabilization comes into play. The ability to hold your bow steady, draw with consistent force, and release with precision is the difference between mission accomplished and a missed opportunity.
Enter MTNTOUGH. With a deep-rooted philosophy in building both physical and mental strength, and a never-ending fascination with the outdoors, we understand the unique challenges of bowhunting. This shows in our tailored exercises and workouts for bowhunting, built from real-life hunting scenarios and scientific evidence.
In this guide we’ll dive into actionable ways to elevate your bow stability. From understanding the mechanics involved to exercises and tips; by the end of this read you’ll have a roadmap to the steadiest shot in the backcountry.
- The Power of Stabilization: Understand why stabilization is a game-changer in bowhunting and how it can drastically improve your accuracy.
- MTNTOUGH's Unique Approach: Dive deep into our philosophy and the science behind the exercises we recommend for bowhuntermets.
- Actionable Exercises: Two powerful stabilization exercises tailored for bowhunters, designed to build strength and endurance where it matters most.
- Unlocking Bowhunting Potential: Tips and insights to further enhance your bowhunting skills, from flexibility to breathwork.
Here’s Why Stabilization Matters to Bowhunters
In the field every movement counts. A shaky hand or an unsteady stance is certain to throw off your shot. Your ability to be precise comes down to control and calculation.
It’s a reflection of whether you can move your body and bow as you intend while simultaneously calculating distance, wind, and trajectory.
All of this requires a stable foundation and a focused mind.
With the right training, you can build the physical strength, mental toughness, and determination to get it right, every single time. The following exercises will give you the sturdy foundation needed to get there.
Stabilization Exercises Every Bowhunter Should Try
We've developed two exercises specifically built for bowhunters. They uniquely add strength and stability to the muscles you rely on the most while holding and drawing your bow.
Both concentrate on the core muscles as well as different zones of your upper body. In other words, the muscles that keep your body stable the the muscles that keep your bow steady.
You’ll need every ounce of both when holding and patiently waiting for the perfect moment to release your arrow.
The best part is how they complement more commonly practiced exercises in the sport, like rows. Rows are great for building muscles in the center of your back.
But when you’re holding the power of a fully-drawn bow, you need strength around the stabilizing muscles of your shoulder. You’ll get that in the following.
A quick note on the names of the following exercises: If the names seem a bit unusual, just remember that they’re designed to mimic the demands of holding a bow steady. One arm simulates the strain of holding a bow steady, the other the strain of drawing it. Each arms movement is reflected in the title of the exercise.
Let’s get into it.
Exercise 1: Static Anterior Delt Fly + Dumbbell Shoulder Raise
This exercise combines a static anterior delt fly using a band with a dumbbell shoulder raise.
One arm performs the static hold with the band while the other arm raises a dumbbell at a 45-degree angle and lowers.
This combination mimics the asymmetrical action of drawing and holding a bow, targeting the stabilizers around the shoulder and the core.
The exercise is designed to strengthen the stabilizers around the shoulder, helping maintain their posture and aim for extended periods without fatigue.
- Step 1. Adjust the band to about shoulder height.
- Step 2. Stand facing away from the band's anchor point, holding the band with one hand, ensuring it's challenging but not too heavy.
- Step 3. With the other hand, hold a dumbbell by your side.
- Step 4. Press the band straight out with one arm, engaging the bicep, shoulder, and chest.
- Step 5. Simultaneously, raise the dumbbell with the other arm at a 45-degree angle from your hip pocket.
- Step 6. Engage your core and glutes throughout the movement. You should feel tension in your abs.
- Step 7. Hold the positions for a moment, then relax and repeat.
Primary Muscles Worked:
Anterior deltoid (front shoulder), biceps, core (abdominals), and chest.
Exercise 2: Static Rear Delt Fly + Dumbbell Shoulder Raise
Similar to the first, this exercise includes a dumbbell shoulder raise, but this time, it merges a static rear delt fly using a resistance band.
Bowhunters will find this exercise invaluable as it fortifies the muscles in your posterior deltoid and rotator cuff - essential for drawing the bow.
While both exercises hit your shoulders and core, the clearest difference between the two is this one works the back of your shoulder whereas the first exercise focuses more on the front. By enhancing the balance between the anterior and posterior shoulder muscles, bowhunters can achieve a more stable and controlled draw and hold.
And just like its forward facing counterpart, this exercise also challenges your core.
- Step 1. Set the band at approximately shoulder level.
- Step 2. Position yourself facing the band's anchor, placing the band behind your palm.
- Step 3. With your opposite hand, grip a dumbbell at your side.
- Step 4. Extend one arm outward in a static rear delt fly, activating the rear deltoid.
- Step 5. Concurrently, with the other arm, elevate the dumbbell.
- Step 6. Engage your core throughout to maintain balance and stability.
- Step 7. Pause briefly in the extended positions, then return to the starting position and repeat.
Rear deltoid (back of the shoulder), rotator cuff, core muscles, and biceps.
Modifications for Both Exercises:
Too difficult? Too easy? Try any of the modifications below to make the challenge just right for you.
- Easier: Opt for a band with less resistance or a lighter dumbbell.
- More Challenging: Choose a band with increased resistance or a heavier dumbbell, or prolong the static hold duration.
3 Tips to Unlock Your Bowhunting Potential
It’s a safe bet that anyone reading about ways to improve their bow stability is dedicated to gaining an edge over hunting season. So while we have you, consider adding the following techniques into your prep:
Tip 1: Expand Your Mobility
Bowhunters need to adapt fast. Terrain's rough and shots aren't always clear. Boosting your flexibility and mobility helps you get into position, no matter where the hunt takes you.
Mobility training, such as yoga, can help with balance and core strength - the influencers over stability when your bow is drawn.
- Action: Mix in mobility exercises. For specialized training, check out MTN MVMNT 2.0. This MTNTOUGH program will lead you to greater agility, more lean muscle mass, and a heavy dose of mental focus and relaxation. You’ll need all-the-above while waiting for the right angle to open up for your kill shot.
Tip 2: Tighten Your Grip
Your grip's your connection to the bow; better make it solid. A stronger grip means more control, less shake.
- Action: The best way to build grip strength for bowhunting is of course the most functional. Practice holding your bow for extended periods with the goal of increasing this duration over time. Soon enough, you’ll have the right grip strength and greater familiarity with your bow. When your bow isn’t accessible you can still work on your grip. Simple exercises with grip trainers and stress balls can help you build or at least maintain your strength in a pinch.
Tip 3: Focus on Your Breath
Your shot's moment of truth? It's in the breath. Control it. Steady your aim. Release on the exhale. With the right training you have the ability to turn breathing into a tool that can instantly relax and focus your attention.
- Action: Practice deep breathing - consider breathwork training from the MTNTOUGH MTN MVMT 2.0 program or try something like meditation to calm and center your mind and body on the present.
Aim True, Stay Steady
Bowhunting isn't for the faint of heart. It's raw, it's challenging, and it demands your all.
We've laid out the groundwork - stabilization exercises, mechanics, even some tips you probably didn’t expect. It's on you to put in the work. Train hard, practice relentlessly, and when you're out there, let every ounce of that effort drive your shot.
We think you’ve got what it takes. But if you want to prove it to yourself, dig into the MTNTOUGH 14-day free trial and try out the Backcountry Hunter programs. With the free trial, you’ll gain full access to every MTNTOUGH program and workout for two weeks, you might choose to see what MTN MVMT 2.0 is all about.
Wherever you land, we’re confident you’ll find our training pays off during your next hunt. But only if you’re ready to part with shortcuts and excuses and commit to pure grit and determination.So, are you up for it?
Gear up, aim true, and show the wilderness what you're made of.