Increase Draw Weight for Bowhunters

Katie Scott // June 19

As childbearing powerhouses, our center of gravity rests in our middle section. While there are many physiological advantages to our structure, our male counterparts’ center of gravity makes it a LOT easier to pull more weight when drawing back a bow. Many states have minimum poundage laws for bowhunters, and I know many women (especially those with shorter draw lengths) who struggle to meet those requirements. To make an ethical kill, we not only need to be good marksmen, but we also need to send it with force. Higher velocity arrows = greater accuracy and more penetration.

Looking to increase your draw weight?

Increasing your upper body strength and core will not only help you draw more weight, but will also ensure a steady body at full draw, and increase your ability to stay at full draw longer. Other added bonuses include being able to pack out or drag your harvest out…without help.

Disclaimer: I’m not a physical trainer or educated whatsoever (outside of the occasional Beachbody or YouTube video) on physical fitness. I grew up a gymnast and coach, and have remained healthy and active my entire life – these are just some exercises that have helped me keep up my bow strength.

Exercises to Increase Your Draw Weight

For most, start with 5 reps of 10 using low weight, then increase your weight and reps as you gain strength.

Chest Press

Using 5 lb weights or an exercise band, stand up tall and set your feet at shoulder width. Bringing your elbows up to shoulder height and at a 90-degree angle, push your weights forward, and then back. If you’re struggling, you can also do this exercise laying down on a yoga mat. Be sure your knees are up and your feet and back are flat on the mat (squeeze that core).

Shoulder Press

Same stance as above, but this time push the weight up above your head. Keep that 90-degree angle at rest, and don’t forget to engage your core.

Bent Over Row

Kneel to the ground and have a 5-10 lb weight ready. Using one arm on the ground to stabilize, pull the weight up to your chest.

Increase Draw Weight for Bowhunters

Shoulder Shrugs

Using 5-10 lbs per arm, let your arms dangle at your sides. Using your shoulders, lift up, hold for 5 seconds, then slowly release your arms down.

Punch Across

I’ve found this exercise to be super helpful – and it’s fun if you’re jamming out to some tunes. Using 5 lb weights in each hand, punch across your body, engaging your core, alternating sides. Be careful not to punch so hard that you lock your elbows. Set your timer for one minute, take a 30-second break, then repeat (as many times as you can!).

Miss Pursuit Increase Draw Weight
Read More: Stay Ahead of the Game: Off-Season Prep for the Bowhunter


“Lady push-ups” (on your knees) are totally acceptable. Set your timer for one minute and get in as many as you can. Take a 30-second break

And yes… planks.

I like to get a couple of these guys in for each circuit. Start with a 30-second hold at the beginning of your workout, then end with a 60-second hold.

Miss Pursuit Increase Draw Weight

About a month prior to bow season, I’ll work my core and upper body strength several times per week. In addition, I mix in some cardio to get in the habit of shooting with an elevated heart rate. I also recommend ensuring your diet compliments your lifestyle.

Our household consumes mostly wild game, veggies and fruit – with the least amount of gluten possible (although I do love my occasional Italian dishes). You’d be surprised how quickly you’re able to increase your draw weight with a upper body focused exercise regimen and balanced diet.

How do you stay in bowhunting shape in the off-season? What tips do you have to increase draw weight?

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About the Author

Katie Scott

Having spent her entire life enjoying the outdoors, Katie took up hunting after working in content marketing and public relations for a number of industry-leading archery, hunting, and outdoor companies. Hunting soon became a passion and way of life that she now shares with her boyfriend and two sons - and hopes to share with the growing force of women entering the industry and sport. Combining her passion for the outdoors, archery, fitness, wild game feasting, raising boys, and writing, Katie hopes to share her growing knowledge so others may enjoy the benefits of everything the outdoors has to offer.