Archery | Stabiliser Balance & Weight
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Archery | Stabiliser Balance & Weight

August 11, 2019

[arrow thunk] Hey guys, This is NUSensei. A while ago
I made a video covering differences between stabilizers. “A more expensive stabilizer is more stable.” So it might have been a little vague…
Many people are still confused over exactly how to set up their stabilizers, and this is a very
good point. In archery, a lot of things are driven by preference, but if you’re a
beginner you don’t really have a concept as to what preference means because you
haven’t established the things that you like and don’t like or don’t feel right
in your archery experience. It’s very hard to say “preference” and actually have any
meaning. So the goal of this video is to provide some more guidance as to what to look
for when setting up your stabilizers. As a disclaimer, this is the sort of thing
where you have differing opinions from everyone. Every athlete and every coach
will have a slightly different setup and a slightly different preference. You can
have three different coaches and four different opinions! So I’m not going to
prescribe the one way to do things. Instead, I’ll show you what people are
doing and why it’s done. Firstly, why do we need stabilizers?
If you take a look at a typical barebow then you’ll note that it’s light and simple and easy to use.
You just pull back and bang you’re on target. However, the light weight of the bow
also makes it more difficult to stay on target. It tends to float around a bit more,
and you are more prone to errors. This will be more pronounced if you’re
shooting a heavier draw weight, and you’re actually trying to hit a small target. Stabilizers change
the mass and balance so that it’s much easier to keep a stable shooting
platform. Additionally, the barebow does have a tendency to lift up when you are
aiming and shooting. There are several reasons why. The first reason is
the mass of the bow changes [moves] when you draw it back. The limbs will bend backwards
so there is more weight toward the back of the bow. The second reason, and the more
pronounced reason, is the grip is not in line with where you are drawing the string,
and that means there’s a natural imbalance where you’re calling slightly
above the grip and that means it will naturally lift upwards. This is a
normal part of shooting barebow. You have to compensate for that by pulling it down,
but that’s where stabilizers come in. By adding weight towards the front of the bow, it
makes the bow front-heavy when you are holding it here, but when you’re at full draw it
balances out, and that means that it’s much easier to keep the bow on target.
Stabilizers also help in controlling vibration especially if you use rubber
dampers at the end of your rods. Without stabilizers and dampers you may find
that you have a lot more hand shock when you let go of the string. Now of course
if you’re hunting or you are doing 3D shooting or otherwise walking around
the woods, a long stabilizer isn’t really going to work because there are
too many things in the way. You smack down branches and bushes, so you can get short
stabilizers. I don’t have them with me right now, but the principles are very similar.
The short stabilizer is a very compact weight. It’s very short which means that you
can’t bring it out far enough to really bring the bow down, but it does add mass
to the bow and having more mass means it’s going to be more stable. It’s slightly
far forward so there might just be enough to tilt the bow forward when you’re pulling
it back, and it also helps with vibration. It’s not the same as a long stabilizer
rod, but you can have more control over where the balance will be, but if you’re
limited for space, especially, again, if you’re hunting or 3D shooting, then you might
find that a short stabilizer is good enough for what you need it for.
Generally speaking, a bow with a short stabilizer should be easier to handle
than a bow without a stabilizer. For target shooters this is what your playing with.
The point of the long stabilizers is to balance your bow. For you engineers out there, you
might recognize these as pitch, roll, and yaw. So your bow can move this way,
it can move this way, and it can move this way. Now, the stabilizers can help in controlling this
movement and this movement. The other way, which is “yaw” in engineering terms,
is mostly controlled by your hand. So the stabilizers can help make it more steady,
but it’s not directly going to help you keep it under control, and that’s not really
the main cause of most of your problems. This is where the questions frequently pop up.
“How exactly do I choose the right stabilizers?” “How long should the rods be?”
“How much weight should I put on the end?” “What angle should the side rods be?”
Again, there are so many different ways to do this. People will experiment, coaches will
test things, and, in the end, a lot of things will work, and some people will swear by
certain setups. I’m not going to go through that argument. I’m simply going to explain
why people set up the way they do. Remember, the goal of the stabilizer is
to bring the weight slightly forward so that it brings the bow level when you
are shooting it. Additionally, adding mass will also increase the stability of the bow.
Those are the two fundamentals you need to know when choosing how to
set up your stabilizers. As I mentioned earlier, what you’re aiming for with a
stabilizer is to move the weight slightly forward. Why slightly forward of the grip and not in the grip? Remember, when you’re pulling the bow string back,
the limbs will bend back. That will shift some of the weight towards the grip.
So you’re trying to maintain balance at full draw, not when you’re holding in
your hand like this. Exactly how far it should be in front of the riser is where
people will disagree. Now, a lot of tuning manuals will recommend around
four inches in front of the grip. So around here. Other coaches will say it
should only be an inch in front of the grip, and the result is that while the
further you are from the grip, the further the center of balance will be when
you’re at full draw, and this is where people will differ. So, some people
want the bow perfectly balanced in their hand at full draw. Others might
feel more comfortable in having the weight slightly more forward so that it
pulls the bow down a bit more. So if you’re an archer who knows that you have
a tendency to slip upwards then having the weight further forward might be a good
thing, whereas certain others might have a lot more control over their draw and
shot process so they dont need that extra compensation. That’s what you try to
balance out and experiment. So how do we measure the center of balance?
Do consider your bow when it’s fully set up. That includes all your stabilizers, any
other mini stabilizers or dampeners, or weights, and the sight itself. All these
things will add weight to your bow and change the way it’s balanced.
There are two planes you need to measure. There’s the vertical plane and the horizontal plane.
Let’s do the vertical one first. To find the balance on the vertical plane turn the
bow sideways and suspend it from a single point. If you have a hook
this is easier, but you can do it with your hands. It just moves around a bit.
So what you need to do is to hold the string in a way where the bow is perfectly balanced.
If it tips over then you move your fingers to where it will be stable. That is where
the center of balance is. In my case my bow is configured correctly. I do have the weight on the
center of the bow where the grip is. That’s pretty much where I think it should be.
If you find that it goes this way or that way, it will indicate that your bow is
bottom heavy or top-heavy, and that might need to change. To find the balance on the horizontal plane, same thing, you suspend it from a point where the bow is upright.
A lot of people use the sight bar or the stabilizer rod if you have one.
You need to hold it here and find out where it’s balancing.
See where my hand is. We draw a straight line down. It’s just in front of the riser.
Okay, if I hold it up here at the front of sight, it will tip backwards.
That not where the center of balance is. It’s much closer to…there. I’m not holding
the bow. I’m just letting it rest there, and it’s about…there, which is where I want it to be.
If the center of balance is not where I want it to be, that’s when I change things around.
Now, for the most part your standard stabilizer set that you get
when you begin, whether it’s a single long rod or basic long rod and
v-bars and side rods — That’s usually enough to keep a bow in balance.
So you don’t need to tinker around a lot, but the shift of a few grams either way
can make a big difference once you get to a level where you can feel the difference. So, how do I know that I have the right length?
Remember there is no one correct length. Just understand that the longer the rod, the more the weight will pull it down. That’s just a basic explanation of
the physics behind it. So, if you have a longer rod and you have the same amount of
weight compared to a shorter rod, the long longer rod has more of that downward pull.
This applies to all the rods — long rod and side rods. So basically, if you need to push the weight further forward, you can get a longer rod to fulfill that purpose. Some people will also use an extender, which is an extra
bit between the v-bar and the riser that will give you that extra length. There is an
interesting caveat when it comes to using an extender. If you’re using the
extender to push the weight forward but then add extra weight on the back to
counterbalance the extender — don’t use the extender! That just makes sense!
A lot of people will get the extender as part of a package, or they think they need one, but
really if you feel more comfortable with the center of balance slightly towards
the riser then you don’t need the extender. The extender is only there to give you the
extra length that your rod doesn’t have. This could be an extra eight inches on
top of the 28 or 30 inch rod. Generally, the longer rod gives you more control.
It’s easier to fine-tune the weight and balance with a longer rod because it
gives you a larger range of options in terms of how many weights you use, and so on.
It doesn’t mean that a shorter rod is useless. Basically you just have to
compensate for the length and the weight. So, if you’re using a shorter rod but
you still want a point forward of the grip as the center of balance, you need to
put in more weight. That’s simply it. The physics will equal out in the end.
A short stabilizer means more weight at the end, whereas a long stabilizer means
less weight on the end for the same effect. If you’re not sure, just go for the
middle option. You can get a 28 inch stabilizer and you have more than enough control
for what you need it for. You can buy 10 inch side rods, and you’re okay. You can
get long ones, but I think that, if you’re starting out, start in the middle and
start experimenting with longer or shorter rods based on what you feel needs to change.
Regarding the angle of the v-bars — you can get straight v-bars,
you can get angled v-bars, or
you can get adjustable v-bars. So in terms of exactly where to put
the angle, again, experimentation and trial and error. What you need to
consider is that by moving the angle downwards, you’re moving the weight
downwards. Which is good if you have a top-heavy bow. So the riser design might
be more heavy on this [top] side so you want more weight on the bottom to compensate
and balance it out. In my case I do have a top mini stabilizer, so it makes sense
for me to move the weight slightly lower to get that perfect balance which I want.
I could remove this and have a straight stabilizer, and that make sense as well,
but for me I like to see it, it kind of looks cool, plus it adds some
more mass and more vibration control. So, I may have to move this downwards to get
that balance that I need. Do be aware that if you’re moving the weight downwards
by changing the angle then it will shift the weight forward slightly, as well.
So that might mean you have to change the other angle this way, or change the
weight on the front to compensate. Regarding the horizontal angle coming
this way — remember that the narrower it is, the easier it is to cant your bow
because it has less effect on the outside. If you swing it all the way out it’s
more stable but again it brings the weight further forward plus having like a giant
cross guard for your stabilizer might interfere with the people next to you. You might have come across swinging weights.
These are narrow rods with weight at the end, and it dangles off the bow, and you might be wondering
what’s that used for? The problem with a solid rod is that it’s a static weight.
You can’t change it when you are shooting. That’s fine when you are shooting at a flat target range,
and you’re shooting at a target at a set distance, but if you’re shooting in a field environment
where there might be slopes or uneven ground, suddenly this balance is
something you fight against. If you’re shooting at a high angle upwards or
you’re aiming at a very low target, this weight will pull you down
that way. So, this swinging weight counteracts that, because it always gets pulled down due to
gravity, it will change its angle based on your own angle. So if we go high the weight
will swing [backward] if you’re going low the legend swing [forward] because
that’s where the gravity is pulling downwards. It doesn’t matter where you’re aiming, it’s always going
to be dangling down this way, and that helps you maintain balance in an uneven
environment. It can be used in target situations, though most archers are fine with
calibrating solid rods for that purpose. Regarding how much weight you put on the end,
there’s a simple rule: the more weight you have
the more stable your bow will be. Simply, a heavier bow will be less likely to move around
loosely, and this can be especially useful in windy conditions. That’s why barebow shooters in
competition general prefer heavier risers. They can add weight on the riser to add
more mass (within a certain diameter), but apart from that they can’t use long
rods to do the same thing a freestyle shooter can. So, if more weight is a good
thing why shouldn’t we put as much weight as possible? There is an upper limit, and that’s you! Remember that you have to lift this bow and pull it back
a hundred times or more in a session. You might be doing competition.
You might have 150 shots in total, or you might be in a training session where you wind up
doing 200-300 arrows. This, after a hundred reps, will suddenly
become a lot heavier. So, you have to consider your endurance. So, if you can
lift this easily then, yeah, use heavier weights. As long as you balance out the
distribution, the balance should not change so that can be a good thing, but if
you’re not going to lift this up easily after 50-100 shots, then you might
consider having a lighter weight setup, and, honestly, a lot of people who start with this,
and transition to this, will find that the weight is way too tiring for the
shoulder and arm, so take it easy to begin with. Once you’ve established some
conditioning and know what feels right then add more weight. The reason why this is
really important is that if the weight of the bow affects your form,
then you’re not going to shoot well. This includes both your draw weight and the
weight of the bow itself. This is often overlooked. What tends to happen is for a normal shot there’s a very fine control. From start to finish, you have control of the shoulder
alignment, the bow position, and where you anchor. And that’s practiced thousands of times. If you find your
bow is too heavy, you’ll be struggling to lift it up. You’ll be struggling to get your
shoulder alignment right because it’s just way too heavy for you. You come up, and you
just really struggle. So if this is creating a barrier for you for good
shooting then reduce the weight. Again, don’t think about it as your first
shot. Think about it as your final shot. If you’re having trouble with your final
shot then something needs to change. Interestingly, there is an upper limit as
to how much weight you can put on, and that’s determined by the structural
integrity of your rod. Now, for this I’m going to pull an anecdote from Mikey.
Mikey is one of my viewers, and he’s shot with me quite a few times, and he had a very
interesting … gaffe, I guess. So when he shot with us, and I saw his bow, he had a lot
of weight on his long rod. It was like seven blocks or something. There was a
lot of weight, and it was very front heavy. Again, that’s not necessarily a problem
we can work around that, but he wanted the extra weight to shoot in the wind, and
that makes a lot of sense, but what happened, and he didn’t really notice this to begin
with, but he began to realize that each time he shot, the rod would wobble a lot from
the extra weight in the front, and eventually the rod cracked. Wobbling is
normal. That is, after all, how the rod controls the vibration, and in this case it was quite
excessive, and that caused the rod to crack. I guess in some way this is
where you have a difference between a cheap stabilizer and an expensive stabilizer.
You find that the more expensive ones, apart from the fancy brand name, they might be structurally better for handling heavier weights.
This isn’t general across the board, but the cheap stabilizers are cheap for a reason.
This doesn’t mean they’re bad. They’re usually good enough for a beginner or an
intermediate shooter, but that’s one of the limitations that Mikey came across. So, in summary, the goal of your stabilizer setup is to bring the weight slightly
forward of your grip so that when you are at full draw the balance is either in
the grip or slightly in front giving you the most stability during your shot process.
This center of balance can be changed by how much weight you put on, how long the rods
are, and the angles the rods are set at. In general, having stabilizers will give
you an edge over a barebow shooter. You will have more stability and control and
therefore more accuracy once you get used to the stabilizers. Most beginners don’t need to
worry that much about the exact placement of the stabilizers.
As long as they have a set, they should see an improvement, and again, once you get past
that phase where they’re getting used to the weight of the bow and the stabilizers, they should be okay.
Now the exact fine-tuning may be more important for a competitive advanced shooter,
where having a few millimeters of difference may cost them points at the other end.
As with many things in archery, getting the exact balance and weight
distribution is a matter of experimentation, trial and error,
and personal preference. Hopefully, after watching this video you have a better
understanding as to what that means. This is NUSensei. Thanks for watching,
and I’ll see you next time.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Nice video! This answered a lot of questions I had from before. However, one question still remains. At full draw, shooting the top target at 18m, my bow arms tends to drop. Is this something that is remedied best with balancing the bow towards the rear with the siderods and removing the extender bar, tightening the top tiller, and/or something else? I went up in weight by 4 pounds (which is the extent of how much weight I can increase without totally ruining my form) to get a flatter trajectory, but I still experience this problem.

  2. Can you please add 10 more extra seconds to your videos to allow me the time to click the like button? THANKS!

  3. Just a small correction for 2:15 : The mass of your bow does not change, that would be awesome but it will not happen 😉 The center of gravity will travel closer to your face when you draw the bow, but mass will stay the same.

  4. This is a great video. Very well explained for what is a very hard topic. I had to play around with lengths and weights quite a bit before I found something that felt right to me. In my case I found I liked quite a positive bow drop forward after release which required a longer extender and a little more weight. If you can, borrow other club members kit and experiment 🙂

  5. 18:20 This is exactly why I took some of my weights off my bow last night.
    Sadly, I realised this halfway through a Portsmouth round, so although it improved my scores, I probably could have done better if I'd done it before I started!

  6. At first glance archery looks pretty simple, but when you take a closer look, it starts looking far more complicated.

  7. I've been watching you're vids for a couple of years now and you've help loads with the learning curve of getting into archery. I'm now getting results that's even challenging the best archers in my club. Keep it up! You're advice is really making a difference and is very much appreciated. Cheers…..

  8. Again, I will have to disagree with NUSensei on the use of stabilisers. The views presented here are nothing new, they are pretty popular and prevalent, but most of it really do not clearly explain themselves very well.

  9. I disagree that your 1st vid on this topic was left a tad wanting.
    Your earlier video still has it use, even today (in view of this far more comprehensive "EXTRAS" vid)

  10. At time 10:43 you arrive at the Extender.
    The concept of adding extra rear weights &/or farther back rear weight being necessary to UNDO / CORRECT the [now] excessive forward balance CREATED DUE TO the presence of Extender, is a popular and a commonly repeated claim. Of itself, this claim seems to make good horse sense. . . . . . . . . And surely this claim is a valid one. . . . . . . . . . but I cannot believe that this is the only change and effect brought about by the presence of Extender. . . . I believe at least two other changes / effects are brought about due to presence of Extender. . . .
    . . .
    The point I wish to add is
    If the bow is torqued, then that rotation will [normally] be about the virtual fulcrum.
    Now if the physical connection point of the V-Bar, with its associated two Rear rods, attaches
    out – the – end
    of a newly installed Extender, where all balance has been 'corrected' / restored to PRE-EXTENDER balance,
    I believe there MUST BE some resistance / deviation to the virtual rotation axis.

    Surely the presence of installed Extender will to some degree "mess up" / "meddle with"
    free rotation exactly at the virtual fulcrum. {Due to offset attachment points going in differing spatial directions.

    I would like much comment on this issue I have raised.
    If I am wrong, why am I wrong / where is my thinking off-track ??????

    Unrelated to my concerns raised, please note some people prefer to leave their V-Bar permanently bolted to an Extender.
    When they therefore unscrew their Extender, to pack up their bow at day's end, the Extender + V-Bar + i Bolt all detatch as a single unit. This is a convenience which won't be there when V-Bar is bolted directly to riser. But this is not a point of concern in my archery.

  11. what is your honest opinion on beiter centralizers? I used to have one years ago and now getting back into archery I wondered if people still use them. many thanks

  12. I wish you had taught me math in school. You are concise logical and detailed, thank you sir for sharing your hard earned knowledge.

  13. hi ,just wanted to ask you if it matters if I have different brands of stabilizers on my bow ie doinker long rod and mybo short rod. keep up the great videos.

  14. Do you have an opinion on the Beiter Centralizer?

    I've started archery almost a year ago and have been using it for quite a while without extra weight and find it very comfortable.

    Despite the fact I at first thought a stabilizer was supposed to minimize hand shock until I was told this won't affect the arrow it keeps the bow stable during the drawing process due to the long front rod I use.
    Thanks to this video I now know the true purpose of this piece of equipment.
    I will check the center of balance and add some weight if necessary.

  15. What about barebow weights….. I know there are limits to their size in comparison to my riser. It all has to fit within a 120mm Radius circle unstrung… But I'm still waiting for something, anythingsi from you on them….

  16. I put a long rod on my Hoyt Ultra Elite target compound. Every time I thought I flubbed my release, the arrows flew straight anyway! That rig was so accurate, it took all the fun out of shooting. Now I shoot a traditional Korean bow with a thumb release and almost never hit the target. Its way more satisfying and fun

  17. Hi sensei! I noticed the small stab and damper on the upper part of your riser….. What is it for? how does it help?

  18. Dear Nu,
    I was a keen archer some 26 years ago (I am now 53) and I have decided to start shooting again. I always suffered from being a front anchor (now working on it) BUT the major defect I have is the lifting of the bow arm shoulder. This makes me lean back and shortens my draw. Can it becaused because my bow is too heavy? (Bow is a Hoyt TD4 Gold Medallist)
    George (Malta)

  19. Ehhh, I find stabilizers useless in the means of any improvement in your accuracy. They are just an excuse for people to avoid fine tuning their muscles and they lower the level of skill it requires to be a decent archer.

  20. Thank you for all your excellent videos NUSensei. I am starting out in archery and your videos have helped tremendously.
    1 point about stabilizers that may help to clarify the physics. Like the way we stretch out our arms when trying to keep our balance, or a tight rope walker using a long stick, the stabilization effect is not simply adding weight, but spreading the weights out from center, thus increasing angular momentum. In other words, having weights at the ends of the extended rods makes it harder to pivot the bow in any direction quickly.
    So in order not to make the whole setup too heavy, I think it is better to have a lighter bow and use the stabilizers with proper weights.

  21. Hi is the top damper the Cartel Midas 101 Damper? I bought the Cartel Midas Weight Damper. I am just wondering how useful are dampers and are short or long ones better?

  22. If your bow lifts upward while drawing then you need to adjust the tiller to compensate for the unequal grip. Thats what it's for!! This has nothing to do with stabilisation.
    The balance point, or centre of mass, moving as you describe when drawing is minimal and is easily overcome by the forces being held on the fingers to the point where you won't feel a thing, Nor will it affect the shot as this point returns to its original position when the string is released.
    Stabilisers help to control pitch and Yaw. side rods help to controll roll or "cant". Putting weight in front of the bow will also help the bow to roll forward on the shot and if the mass of the bow is moved back on the draw what does putting weight on the short rods do if not put weight behind the riser thus counteracting the long-rod weight?
    The amount of weight depends on personal preference and what you like the feel of in your hand and on the shot and this is reached by experimentation. This makes the point of balance almost irrelevant as those who prefer more weight on the long rod will have a point of balance further in front of those who prefer less and each set-up will have a different point of balance.
    Therefore there is no 'perfect' set-up other than what works for you…
    Your theory on what does what is flawed!

  23. Get the most high-end stabilizers, look after them, they'll last you a lifetime. No point getting anything at entry or intermediate level, you'll need to sell them when upgrade, which will costing more money and time than just a set of top-end stuff.

  24. Hi Nu, i recently got a vbar but i noticed it doesn't come with a washer, but the side rod and longs rods do, i think they are nylon, do you need a washer for the riser to vbar or riser to extender? Or just put it on without the washer?

  25. 11:24 I am not convinced by your explanation regarding Extender function / Extender role.
    It is not that difficult to source & buy a 36" Long Rod on its own:- Moving weight out FAR FORWARD can be taken care of by Long Rod selection alone. I suspect that the true role that the Extender plays, is in modifying the Virtual Fulcrum's location in relation to the true Physical connection point (after fitting a new Extender). Thus better defeating "fast-movement" around axis

  26. If I'm going to use a bow in real life, it's going to be against prey or (in an RPG application or self defense situation) people. These gadgets would only get in the way.

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