Drawing a compound bow that is too heavy for you is usually the leading cause why you can’t pull back your compound bow. Therefore, it is best to use a lighter compound bow first and work hard to develop your muscles to draw back heavier compound bows.
There are various reasons one can think of in terms of being unable to pull back a bow. It could be that you are not using the correct technique or have a shoulder-related injury that hinders you from pulling your bow back.
Especially when you are a newbie in archery, there are many reasons why this happens. For compound bows, it usually has to do with incorrect poundage. Thus, knowing why you cannot pull back your bow is essential to help you resolve this issue.
Regarding archery, you must know that not all poundages apply to everyone. Like other bows, compound bows are also available in different poundages. Therefore, choosing a compound bow is not a walk in the park.
Purchasing a compound bow with draw weight and draw length that is not fit for you can result in issues you have to resolve. You may face troubles such as finding it tiring to draw your compound bow after a couple of shots, or worse; you can’t pull it back.
Below are the common errors that lead archers to purchase a compound bow that’s too heavy for them:
- Seems easier to pull than traditional bows
- Thinking having an athletic body is enough.
One of the common errors archers experience is that they are lead to believe that compound bows are easier to pull than recurve bows and longbows.
At some point, compound bows are more accessible to draw than other bows because of their let-off function. However, you must know that the compound bow’s let-off function only happens in the middle of the pull.
For instance, between a 50-pound recurve and a 50-pound compound bow, it requires the same effort to pull it back, but the climax of action doesn’t happen simultaneously.
In recurve bows, the climax of effort occurs when the archer prepares to release the arrow. In contrast, it happens in the middle of the pull with the compound bow.
As a result, the draw weight may be much lower when the archer has fully pulled back the string. If he has a 75% left-off, he only holds 12.5 pounds.
Even if the compound bow has a let-off function, it is still useless if you can’t pull back the string.
Another one is the compound bow’s pulley system. Although the compound bow has a pulley system that makes it easy to know when you have pulled it back to its peak capacity, it doesn’t make it easier to draw than other bows.
Therefore, it is unacceptable to randomly select a compound bow because it appears more straightforward to pull than a traditional bow.
Remember that your capability to pull your compound bow depends on how heavy it is for you.
Another error archers experience is purchasing a heavier compound bow because they think they have a toned body or are athletic enough to pull any compound bow.
Archery requires a different set of muscles that you should work on compared to weightlifting or other sports. For example, lifting a 50-pound dumbbell doesn’t mean it’s the same as drawing a 50-pound compound bow.
Therefore, even if you think you are strong or athletic enough to draw a heavy compound bow, you should pause and rethink your decision.
Instead, strengthen the muscles you need to work on until you can pull back a heavier compound bow if you are eager to immediately shoot with a heavier compound bow than working your way up, starting with lighter compound bows.
If you are a newbie in archery, always remember not to draw a compound bow that is too heavy for you. Choosing a heavier compound bow compromises your shooting accuracy or inability to pull your bow back. It can also lead to injuries resulting from strained muscles.
Hence, starting with lightweight compound bows first would be best, do necessary strength training, and work your way up until you can pull back heavier compound bows easily.
Moreover, you can also ask your local archery shop to help you select which compound bow is the right one for you. They can assist you in determining the correct draw weight and length so you won’t waste money.
It may take months, but it is better than putting yourself at risk of sustaining strained muscles that will take more time to heal.
How to pull back a compound bow correctly?
By shooting a compound bow correctly, you can shoot for an extended period and focus more on aiming. To do this, you must know which muscle groups to strengthen and practice the proper form.
In archery, it isn’t as simple as pulling the strings and aiming the target without knowing the basics. Lacking the knowledge on how to pull back your bow will lead to inaccurately hitting the mark or increase the chance of injuries.
Let’s say that you were able to purchase the right compound bow for you. Next is to practice how to pull it back correctly. To help you, refer to the steps enumerated below:
- Start with your hands about at nose height. Identify which is your grip hand and release hand. Your grip hand is the one that supports the compound bow; meanwhile, your release hand is the one hooked to the D-loop and holds the release aid.
- Extend your release hand and grip hand in front of you, and line with the target.
- Keep your grip hand at nose height while you pull the bowstring towards your face with your release hand.
- As soon as the string comes back, begin inhaling.
- As the compound bowstring moves farther back, your release hand should move downward toward your face, and your back shoulder should rotate into your back.
- While this happens, you will feel the muscles in your back other than your arm working as you pull the compound bow. It is an indication that you are drawing your compound bow correctly.
While drawing your compound bow, note that you must not use your triceps or biceps while pulling the bowstring because this can lead to arm and shoulder tension and increase your chance of getting injured.
In drawing your compound bow, it is safer to lead with your elbow and then continue moving your shoulder in an angular direction until you can feel it hit its “wall.”
Once the bow reaches a natural stopping point, your hand should rest lightly on your lower jaw. Once the compound bow hits its solid “wall, ” you get the full draw.
You can now find your anchor point by bringing your hand close to your jawline. The anchor point pertains to where you’ll pull the string towards every time you shoot.
By the time you are comfortable drawing your compound bow, you are now ready to start shooting. Remember that this doesn’t happen overnight, so you must continuously practice drawing your compound bow by following the correct form enumerated above.
While practicing, never release the string without an arrow because it can lead to a dry fire that damages your compound bow and injures you. You can use resistance bands instead.
By practicing the correct way of pulling a compound bow, you will be more consistent with your shoot and strengthen your muscles needed for archery.
Talking about muscles, here are the following easy exercises to try to help you pull your compound bow:
- Muscle strengthening
- Arm spreaders
- Drawing the resistance band repeatedly
First, choose a location where you can sit down, then place the resistance band under your legs. After doing so, start grabbing each end of the resistance band and slowly lift both arms upward, then slowly lower them once you’ve reached the maximum height.
While grabbing both ends, bring the resistance band in front of your cheeks. Pulling outward on the resistance band will squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Then, release it slowly, then bring both hands back together, resulting in an outward-inward motion that will tone your muscles.
You can do this exercise by folding the resistance band in half and then grabbing it with each hand. Pull your resistance band, at the same time pulling your shoulder blades towards the middle.
Keep your left arm extended while you continue to draw the string to your face with your other hand. Repeat the process and swap positions by keeping your muscles in balance.
By doing planking exercises, you build your core muscles more robust and improve your archery skills.
By diligently performing the exercises above and practicing the correct form of pulling your compound bow, you can now shoot at more extended periods and hold the compound bow at full draw without getting tired.
Additionally, you will be able to focus more on your aim and be more consistent with your shooting with less worry about muscle strains or injuries.
How to choose the right weight for your compound bow?
Your age and weight can be an excellent reference to help you choose the right weight for your compound bow. However, it is still best to consult with your local archery shop or a professional and try it first before purchasing to be sure.
As mentioned above, to pull your compound bow correctly, your arm must be at equal height with your nose while you draw it back. There are signs to look for to help you determine that you are using the incorrect compound bow:
- If you noticed that you could not hold the compound bow straight and have trouble keeping your arms straight in this form, you are pulling a compound bow heavier than what you can sustain.
- Another obvious sign is you are drawing the compound bow down toward your feet, and aiming higher than you should mean that the draw weight is not fit and is too heavy for you.
- Shaking of the arms also means that there is an unbalance between your strength and draw weight.
Let’s say you can maintain the correct form while pulling back the bowstring; however, your arms begin to shake while attempting to maintain full draw length. It is a sign that the compound bow is likely too heavy for you to shoot.
- Unclustered and scattered shots also indicate that you need to use a compound bow ten pounds lighter than the one you are currently using.
In contrast, closely spaced shots mean that you are shooting comfortably and are using a compound bow with the right weight resulting in consistent accuracy.
When choosing the weight of your compound bow, you may wonder if you made the right choice and looking for references to help you decide better. For compound bows, your age and weight are excellent references you can use to help you select the correct poundage.
Below are the average draw weights you can follow based on the classifications:
|Average Draw Weight
|Up to 8 years old
|45 to 65 lbs
|10 to 20 lbs
|8 to 13 years old
|65 to 95 lbs
|20 to 35 lbs
|13 to 18 years old
|95 to 125 lbs
|35 to 45 lbs
|13 to 18 years old
|95 to 145 lbs
|35 to 55 lbs
|18 years old and up
|95 to 145 lbs
|35 to 55 lbs
|18 years old and up
|145 to 175 lbs
|40 to 65 lbs
On the other hand, muscular men can use compound bows with a draw weight ranging from 60 to 70 lbs, while muscular barbarians’ recommended compound bow draw weight is 70 to 100 lbs.
The draw weights listed above are only average, which does not always apply to everyone. That’s why it is always better to consult a professional archer or ask for assistance from your trusted local archery shop to ensure you buy the right compound bow.
In addition, don’t hesitate to ask if you can test it first before deciding to buy it and look for the alarming signs.
The compound bow differs in poundages like other bows. Some are too heavy, while some are lightweight. Thus, knowing which poundage fits you best is always important to avoid wasting your money.
At worst, you will not be able to pull it back because it is too heavy for you, and pushing yourself too far will only lead to muscle strains that could last long.