How to Draw Recurve Bows Using Your Back Muscles

Written by dan harkins
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How to Draw Recurve Bows Using Your Back Muscles
Properly using a recurve bow requires arm and back muscles. (archery boy five image by Paul Moore from

If you have a recurve bow, the most traditional weapon in archery, you have few parts to adjust before shooting. However, due to a greater average draw weight, pulling back a recurve bow string will require more strength and practice than with a modern compound bow. When learning how to draw a recurve bow, the key is using your back muscles to pull your arrow back and not just your fingers and forearms.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Use the right type of bow for your size and strength. Consult the Archery Exchange link in the Resources section to make sure you're trying to shoot with the right kind of bow. Adult males will use pull weights of 18.1kg. and up. Children, by contrast, will be more comfortable with pull weights of around 9.07kg.

  2. 2

    Stand correctly in half-profile to your target with your feet spaced at shoulder width. Face the target and hold your bow with a fully extended arm.

  3. 3

    Grab your string halfway up the bow with your first three fingers, where your arrow is hooked on, then lift your elbow on the same arm as high as possible.

  4. 4

    Pull back on your string until taut, using your back and shoulder muscles more than just your fingers, then release the string and arrow toward your target. Not lifting your elbow will require much more finger and forearm work.

  5. 5

    Practice using your back muscles when pulling your arrows back for more control during aiming and release.

Tips and warnings

  • Never release an arrow downrange when other shooters are nearby.

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