Archery | Choosing Draw Weight
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Archery | Choosing Draw Weight

August 15, 2019

Although getting a bow may seem complex It really comes down to making several important decisions such as how much you want to spend and what you want to use your bow for. One of the most important things you have to consider is what draw weight you want to get. Draw weight, in simple terms, is a measurement
of how strong the bow is in pounds. This isn’t to be confused with bow weight,
which is the mass of the bow. Draw weight is measured to an industry standard of a 28 inch draw. That means if your bow is rated at 30 pounds,
that means at 28 inches it is exactly 30 pounds. There are some variables. Having a longer draw length means that the
actual draw weight on your fingers will be a little higher. Likewise, having a shorter draw length will mean that you aren’t drawing to the rated
poundage. There’s nothing bad about either of these
situations. This simply means that the draw weight on
your fingers isn’t the same as what’s printed on your limbs. The bow length is also a factor. If you’re buying a standalone bow like the
Samick Sage, that draw weight is more or less measured
for that particular setup. If you’re putting together an ILF bow like
an Olympic-style takedown you can start mixing and matching things like
short, medium and long risers and limbs. Typically speaking, for a given poundage,
a longer bow will have a lower draw weight because the limbs aren’t efficiently loaded. Basically, if you have longer arms or a shorter
bow the draw weight will be higher than what it
says. So you may want to consider that when choosing
your draw weight. Many ILF risers also allow small adjustments
on the limb pocket which changes the way the limb sits in the
riser which in turn can change the draw weight by
5-10%. Okay, technical stuff aside. What draw weight should you pick? The biggest variable is how fit you are. Naturally, if you are stronger, you can use
a heavier bow. If you aren’t very strong, you can use a lighter
bow. But there are some things you have to consider. The first is that archery uses muscles that
most people typically haven’t developed. We’re looking at back muscles and even shoulder
muscles. So even if you consider yourself to be strong you may still struggle with a heavy bow. I’ve worked with this huge biker guy with
bulging arms and he was shaking with a 20lb bow. And while many teenagers can easily handle
a 18lb bow Some adults can’t. I’ve worked with men and women who couldn’t
draw a bow without their bodies crumpling like paper. That’s no fun. Not everyone is made equal. So it’s important to pick the right weight
for you if you want to get the maximum enjoyment. The figures I’ve giving you are very rough. For teenagers, for your first bow you may be looking between 12 pounds and 24
pounds depending on your age and your fitness. For adults, many choose between 18 and 34
pounds. And again, when in doubt go for a lower draw
weight. If you’re having trouble visualising what
the poundage feels like imagine carrying shopping bags. If you’re shooting a 40 pound bow, think of
it this way. Can you lift two 20 pound shopping bags comfortably? Remember, you’ll be shooting for hours at
a time. So you need the strength and endurance. This isn’t the best analogy, but it should
give you a rough idea. You also have to learn proper technique which is immensely difficult if the bow is
too heavy. Having worked with a few archers with new
equipment I’ll say that starting on too high a draw
weight can ruin your archery career. It’s a hard thing to say, but many people
pick up bad habits by starting on a heavy draw weight and they are very hard to unlearn. You may never reach the point where you can
physically and comfortably shoot your bow. If you’re really overbowed, you do risk injury. Yes, some people start on a 40 pound pr a
45 pound bow and some people can handle it, but not everyone. I’ve rarely seen someone who started on a
high poundage bow actually shoot well. Don’t feel like a wimp for starting on a 20
pound bow. A lot of people do. And it’s a lot easier to learn with a light
bow and then move up to a heavier draw weight. Buy new limbs and move up in five pound increments
or more if you feel like you can handle it. I should note that in many jurisdictions, there is a minimum draw weight for hunting. This can be 40, maybe 45 pounds depending
on your area. Many people will buy a 45 pound hunting bow
for this purpose. But again, you don’t have to start on a high
poundage. And if you’re that new, you probably shouldn’t
be hunting yet. And I have to put out an important disclaimer. Many people who shoot compound bows will use
much higher poundages. This is because compound bows have a function
called a let-off. What this means is that once you draw past
a certain point the mechanism holds a portion of the weight. So at full draw, you are only effectively
holding a portion of the actual draw weight. For example, if you’re shooting a 50 pound
compound bow you may only be holding 15 pounds at your
full draw. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for first-time
compound shooters to buy a 40 or 50 pound compound. That said, it isn’t always a good idea to
start with a high poundage even with a compound bow. You still have to be able to draw the bow and overbowed archers can develop bad technique while trying to use the bow. In summary pick your draw weight based on your fitness. If you’re not sure, common wisdom is pick
the lighter draw weight and then move up as you develop good form. You don’t need a high-powered bow. Even a 30 pound recurve can shoot competitive
distances. Anyway, this is NUSensei. Hope this was helpful. Thanks for watching.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. I've been shooting a 28lbs bow for about six months now and I'd like to increase my weight into the 30's. How much of a jump up in weight would you say is safe? +4, 6, 10lbs?

  2. I currently shoot 30lbs (have the bow one and a half year now), but recently I found myself having trouble with the last inch of draw. I wanted to go up a little with a new bow. Should I just stay at 30lbs for now?

  3. Lol im 14 and shooting a 45 pound bow and i have no problems, i started at age 13 and am loving archery:)

  4. I lift 20kg soil bags for a few hours at a time I'm 12 turning 13 next month i think there's about 2 pounds per kilo (roughly)

  5. I enjoy backpacking, and because of some personally hobbies and my line of work I have a very developed strength. I am looking for a bow I can use for backpacking so I can hunt with my group I go out with and use what I have on my back to stay in the wilderness for upwards of two weeks hopefully. Yes I do know hunting is not the most reliable food source but I am skilled at fishing and trapping (essentially hunting I guess), and some of my friends that go camping with me are good at identifying wild edibles. To get to the point I have about 150-200 dollars I want to spend on a brake down bow, do you have any suggestions on brands or draw weight?

  6. After shooting for awhile and working up to a #50, I went blind and had to stop for 2 years. It's been a bit difficult adjusting to such a heavy draw. But I spent a lot of money on my bow and they don't produce them anymore. Its a bit annoying.

  7. I train for strongman and 17 years old. Deadlift 350lb, row 180 for reps. My back is quite strong. Can I start with a high draw weight bow like 60lbs?

  8. are there any pro shops where they could customize your draw weight on your compound bow to let's say 90-100#?

  9. 29.5" draw length, long limbed 6'1" @ 155lbs.  pretty athletic.  I can easily pull 55-60# recurves and use properly, but I prefer 35-45# the most.  even my 25# Bear ranger from being a kid is still a lot of fun.  being macho and yanking on a 60#+ recurve bow isn't enjoyable for a day of shooting for me, after about 15-20 shots at that draw weight with my frame I start getting visions of an Epsom salt bath later that day.

  10. Hmm I was more interested in learning what kinds of weights I should use for competition… I have a 32 pound bow at the moment (fairly beginner combo of a Samick Agulla and Samick Athlete limbs) and am looking to upgrade to a competitive bow (budget of around $1100 CAD.
    I was thinking going up to 36 pounds. Is that what pros use?

    I want to shoot 200 arrows every other day to practice. So I want a good weight for distance but not too high to kill my arm endurance.

  11. shooting indoors starting 25 years ago — mainly 300 round… I started at 55lbs because I was used to hunting only and got in a league to improve my shooting … I learned after a few months from the veterans that it was way to heavy for indoor if I planned on becoming a consistent 290's finger shooter…. I got a new bow @ 35 lb's and over 5 years got up to 48# as my sweet spot.. I found the slightly heavier tension at full stretch gave me a cleaner release though I can still do a 900 round as well and not be toast afterwards!

  12. Nice video. I just recently got a bow that had 20~29 lbs draw weight, and I was worried that got something too small for myself. Originally I was going to go for a 30~39 lbs draw weight bow but it was sold out. So I figure the 20~29 lbs would be good and I would be able to move up to heavier draw weight.

    The whole point of this bow was to develop good fundamentals and techniques. It good to know that I didn't just set myself up for a hard time.

  13. A bit of upper body workout does help as well, I was at first a little shakey, but not anymore and no more shoulder aches :o)

  14. My shoulders and back are ripped… No clue how, just a lot of heavy yard work I suppose… At a shooting range I have shot a 20 recurve I believe, that was easy… Let's see using my shoulder and back muscles I have pushed and pulled a minivan on a bet once… I would like high penetration at about 150-200 meters… Can you get one at about 150 draw weight recurve bow I feel I could handle that for about 100 shots in a row (I really don't like compound bows)

  15. You didn't say what the significance is between e.g. using a 30 pound bow and a 60 pound bow. Why would someone use a 60 pound bow when a 30 pound bow can get the job done and be easier on the muscles?

  16. I am watching all your videos and need to say are the most informative i have found on youtube. I will start next month go to archery school and need say ..thank you for share your knowledges with us
    Hope to see new videos from you.

  17. im 5'9 and was able to pull 50 pounds but couldnt hold it for long, i was thinking of getting a 30-35 pound recurve bow, and im very new to archery only shot a bow twice

  18. Is their a way to drop your draw weight on your bow? I have a longbow without with limbs I can take off and it's around 48 pound standard but I twist the string and have a long draw weight which I believe may knock it up a little bit, I got this because I started with a 65 pound compound that I had no trouble pulling back at the time but now having less time to go out as I'm getting older I'm not as shoulder strong as I use to be and shooting a compound I didn't have to hold the weight for more than half a second to draw while out hunting and I want to be more comfortable shooting it without having to spend money hopefully.

  19. If you're in the UK (and probably other countries), some archery retailers will offer a limb exchange program, where you buy a set of limbs, and within six months, you can exchange for a higher or lower weight at no extra cost, then you can exchange again within another six months as many times as needed. The tradeoff is you are getting limbs that are used, but they're generally in good shape. Overall, you can get 4+ sets of used limbs over a year or two for about £70. Think of it like a rent-to-buy scheme. When you finally settle on the right weight for you, they're yours to keep.

  20. I want to buy a bow about 32 lbs because I probably wont have money to buy a heavier bow in some time. Im quite fit and strong but I dont know if that draw weight wont result in problems with my technique… What would you advise for me?

  21. So, if you're using your bow for hunting, what bow is recommended? I like a bow that would be similar to Native bows. Like hand carved, or something like that. Also, can you use a bow as a weapon if you're robbed? Like, keep it as protection?

  22. I'm 15 right now, I started with #30 at the age of 11. It was a compound bow, and it took me a few weeks to get used the draw weight as an 11yr old (I literally drew it, slowly let it back down a bunch of times). It was a compound though, which made it easier. I'm now shooting #45 recurve, being a teenager, it didn't take me too long to get used to it, developing my back muscles for like a week before being relatively comfortable with it. I'm 5' 7", 120lbs, so i'm pretty light with a relatively athletic build though.

  23. OR ?

  24. Real talk on draw weight big dawg. Humble up and shoot comfortably all day while practicing/learning. Develop muscles while staying in the game and finish strong. Great break down nu sensei

  25. I started archery when I was 4 with a recurve bow at a draw weight of about 20 pounds.
    I've had 6 years of daily practice, but fell out when my family moved.

    The only bow I have access to at the moment my mom's, which is a roughly 60" recurve bow, made from denser wood than mine was. There is no indication of draw weight anywhere on it and my mom doesn't know what it is.

    The bow is intimidating to look at- it's dark green, about equal to me in height (roughly 62" long) and has celtic knotwork on it. It's also handmade- one of my mom's friends made it for her years ago.

    I've never fired it because I'm sort of scared of it. It's a work of art on it's own and it means a lot to my mom as a reminder to her friend, who died a little before I was born. I've never even seen her fire it.

    It's a well-maintained bow despite that, and my mom's willing to let me use it to get back into archery. I think she wants me to keep it.I'm still scared of firing a bow when I have no clue about the draw weight.

    Do you think I should try? And is there any way to reduce draw weight without hurting the bow?

  26. I have a question my first bow is a bear archery cruzer lite and it's draw weight goes from 5lbs to 45lbs is this a good choice for a compound bow?

  27. Hello Sensei.. simple and plain language for beginners like me.. this is great.. i have a question.. draw length is 26.6 inches (wingspan of 66.5) .. purpose – target shooting.. looking at SWA Spyder (Sage 2 as some call it).. 62 inch bow.. (looking at 35lbs draw weight.. i am ok strong).. issue– its caliberated at 28 inch draw.. should i but a 40lbs draw weight to compensate for my shorter draw length?
    Your response will be of help.

  28. I'm an adult, I trained boxing for 3 years now and I recently started archery and bought a 30-35lbs recurve bow for my starter bow but my God when I draw the strings, my shoulders are shaking and I can't hold it for more than 2 seconds caused it burns my stamina so fast and messing with my "aim"… 'guess eventho I used to punch a 150-200lbs punching bag for 2 hours per day, it doesn't mean you'd always automatically be strong for a bow…

    I guess I'll get 15-18 lbs bow for my starter bow, and re-learn my form.

    Thx for the tips, sensei.

  29. So, I’m thinking about getting a bow for Christmas… I don’t know what draw weight to have. Looking at the comments really helps, because you guys give great tips on what draw weight is right for beginners. But I do find that online the bows with lighter draw weight, tend to be more expensive.

  30. Being new to all this Robin Hood stuff, I'm really glad I watched this video.
    Your anology, comparing shopping bags, really brought it home to me what draw weight actually means.
    My own approach to archery is from the cheaper, survivalist angle (homemade, using pvc), nevertheless, your video still applies, so my grateful thanks!

  31. today is my first archery club day. i was given 22 lbs recurve. feels heavy at first, and the worst is my right fingers feels burn after 1 hour practice because the club doesnt give me finger protection :/ well i think i want to try the 20lbs one latter, i hope they have it. nice explanation btw, it's scary to think that i used to see 30lbs+ bow for my first bow before i know this info woahh

  32. Can you recommend gym exercises designed to increase the drawing weight one can handle in case one is going to eventually hunt with their bow?

  33. If you're a beginner buy a cheap breakdown recurve with multiple sets of limbs. It's like lifting weights, low weight – high repetitions, high weight – for power and strength. When you go to the gym they have a huge range of weights, you don't start off with 100 lb dumbells and expect to have good form and finish a full set…

  34. Hi guys, I couldn’t find an archery forum that allowed me to make new post(funny isn’t it?) so I guess I’ll just ask here; I want to get a bow, I have never practiced archery before, complete newb here; so I’m 5.38 feet tall, my length from arm to arm is 66 inches; So ive looked at the charts, and a 64 inch bow would do; but I’m struggling to find the proper draw weight, I lift weights, I can press 100 lbs overhead for reps, I can do farmers carry with about 100 lbs per hand pretty easily, but I haven’t done any archery; I don’t want to buy a low lbs bow and then have to buy another more powerful bow after a couple of weeks, because I don’t have the money to invest in so much; but, at the same time, I don’t want to buy too strong of a bow and learn crappy technique either; the people from the site from were I want to buy the bow said that a draw weight of 28 should be more than enough, but it seem to weak for me thou, I personally would go for a 34 lbs; what do you guys think, I like the idea of small increases of 5 lbs, thats my training mentality when it comes to weight training, but I can’t afford to buy another bow every time I become a stronger archer; what do you guys think? Thanks!

  35. I was able to shoot a 52lb recurve as a complete beginner. Holding the draw wasn't too difficult. If you're a stout guy and you're worried about buying an overweight bow then don't stress about it too bad. Go ahead and get the 40 lb bro, the 30 will feel like a junior bow if you have the power to hold a 50lb bow. Grown men should be able to handle 40 to start with.

  36. get rid of the auscam mate i'm genuinely not kidding you will get named and shamed on FB pages

    sincerely- digger from an infantry regiment

  37. I am 17 years old and use a 45 pound bow my draw length is 29-30" so it is a bit more than 45 pounds. I started using a 35 pound bow when i was 10-12 year old.
    I started at 8 years old with what i now call a toy bow. Maybe 12 pound dont know.
    I actually could handle a 60 pound bow but i could find a bow with that draw weight of which i liked the looks. Well i could but those cost about £850 pounds.
    And that iscover €1000,= and that is a little bit a lot over what i can spend on a bow right now.
    Although i am planning on getting such a bow in the future.

  38. I just ordered my first compound bow at 30 to55#, I was nervous cause all the hunting videos I watch they use 70# or higher. But now on glad I got this bow. Thank you, all your videos are perfect and very helpful

  39. Ah this helps, though I am not looking into really getting into archery that much. I came about a free bow that had a 40lb draw at 30" and it was pretty tiring to use after a couple shots at full draw and I didnt really know what is considered heavy or light in archery terms. So thank you, now I dont feel like a total wimp lol

  40. Hello from Sweden here, I am a compound guy that shoots every day at 57 pounds and averages about 25x at 18 meters, I am now thinking of trying Recurve and I am wondering what poundage limbs I should get? Any ideas 38 pounds? I have never shot a recurve bow by the way.

  41. I can handle a 45lb bow with ease, and hold full draw for 30 seconds without shaking. But I still shoot more accurately with my wife's 25lb bow ?

  42. I had a 65lbs compound. Begore I bought my new horsebow, I shot the 35lbs longbow of my buddy. Then I decided that 45lbs would be alright. It is if I pull with three fibgers, but I can't draw it with my thumb ._.

  43. Hi NUSensei Im new to the channel but maybe you can do an arrow penetration video with the different draw weights so that people can see the difference. I think its obvious you will get more distance but the target piercing power of the different poundages and the target distribution can show better the difference between them.

  44. First bow was a 30 pound bow, no problem. Bought some 35 pound limbs no problem. Bought some 55 pound limbs no problem…after 15 shots something popped in my shoulder…partial rotator cuff tear and might take up to a year to heal. Five months after the injury I am back to shooting 30 pound bow but think I will stop at 35 pounds.

  45. Does the draw weight make a difference in hunting? If so what would be the minimum draw weight for a hunting recurve bow?

  46. started with my 55 pound , luckily i have a job where i lift heavy things constantly ? , the issue is that i dont have any gloves ., pulling it is okay i can cope with it, it just cuts into my fingers

  47. I'm 13 and I use a 25 IB bow its compound but still I want to go up to 50 or 60 but I dont have the space only about 100 yards of space

  48. Im a new archer and Im a big guy. I find 30 pound effortless and I'm usually pretty consistent. Would a move to 40 pound be ok?

  49. If I regularly lift upwards of 300 lbs in most of my upper back exercises for reps. Is it OK to start with a heavy recurve? Also…..I'm finding it very difficult to even find target recurves above 50-60lbs.

  50. Thanks, I was about to buy a 40lbs bow… The problem ain't my strength, it's just there I've never try archery before, and really need some advice before waste my try on something I'll have to train to use.

    Start low to develop technique. That's sound more intelligent that I was about to do.

  51. to increase draw weight if we use longbow..? some people say to shorter the limb..but some people say use tape in the limb. what do you think..? Thanks

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