Archery | Using Low Draw Weights?
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Archery | Using Low Draw Weights?

August 11, 2019

[shhh-thunk] Hey guys, this is NUSensei. Today we have a quick video response to
a question from a viewer, Arvid, who asked me about a particular complaint about light
draw weights, and that it’s harder to get a good release or clean release from a
light draw weight, because the string doesn’t fly off the fingers as quickly. The video that he linked to actually
belongs to “3D Archery”, now if you haven’t checked out 3D Archery’s channel,
definitely check it out. I do love how he goes around to all the
different 3D courses and has genuine fun. There’s a lot of engagement and fun facts
involved, so definitely check it out. But the the video he linked to involved
a “20 pound challenge”, where all the participants use 20-ish pound bows, and
there was some banter at the beginning of the video, and they said a few things actually.
One of them was that the 20-pound bow “well, you can throw an arrow faster
than a 20 pound bow.” No, that’s just an exaggeration. We say that all the time to make fun of
low draw weights. The second thing that was mentioned was the difference in draw weight,
and how having a low poundage bow can make it feel harder to get a good release. Now, I actually do have two bows here.
My 45 pound Samick Sage and my 25 pound OMP Adventure 2.0. So these are two
drastically different draw weights. So I’ll shoot both, and you can perhaps see for yourself if there’s any noticeable difference in my release. We’ll start with the 45 pound Sage. And now the 25 pound Adventure. So was there a difference between the
25 pound bow and the 45 pound bow? There kind of was, but it’s kind of hard to explain
exactly what it is. It’s a very highly subjective feeling a lot of veteran
shooters who use high poundage bows will report that when going to a
low poundage bow they can’t get it to feel right, and this
makes sense. Your body memorizes a certain physicality, a certain physical
feeling when you shoot, so when you come to your full draw there is a certain
balance in your push and pull. Now when you go from a heavy bow to a
light bow, the feeling is wrong because your body knows it should feel
a certain way, but it doesn’t. So someone using a lighter bow may
find that they torque the bow much easier because there’s less resistance.
That what I’m talking about. The bow needs to have a certain
amount of resistance to feel like you’re shooting right, and a light bow doesn’t
give the same feedback as a heavy bow. That might be the main reasoning behind why people find it harder to shoot light bows. As for making the release harder on a
lighter bow, I’m not sure about that.
I think it’s very subjective. Some people feel a big difference, others wont.
The more important thing, in my opinion, is that you have control of the entire
shot process. While I did struggle a bit more with the 45 pound bow, it wasn’t really the
release that was causing me problems. It was the control of the draw weight, and a
25 pound bow is much easier to pull back and much easier to expand and release. Now does the string come off as quickly?
Well, no, it doesn’t, but it shouldn’t be that much of a factor.
It is only a split second. So I’m still of the opinion that there
aren’t that many disadvantages to shooting a light bow. You can shoot for longer. You control the shot presses much better.
You can get form right. The 45 pound bow, or higher draw weights in
general, do reward you with a great physical feeling of punching the target,
but I don’t think it necessarily gives you an advantage in giving you a better
release. You have to work harder for it, but it doesn’t inherently make you shoot better. However, higher draw weights
can punish you if you shoot poorly. You pretty much have to have good
control and good form to use a heavier bow properly without fatiguing, without
shooting arrows everywhere. You just have to be able to control the
weight of the bow. Does it make shooting easier? No.
I think some people have the mentality of “because I have to shoot well, the heavier
draw weight is right for me,” and, look, I can’t say that’s wrong. I mean that’s a
valid opinion and some people do have a positive, constructive growth mentality
when it comes to picking up harder equipment and trying to use them, but
I don’t think it’s a hard and fast rule. I think that for some people who already
have a good foundation, then yes, it’s a good idea to go higher sooner, but for most people, the average
person, I think the light bow doesn’t punish you. It will help you learn good foundations,
and the release isn’t really a problem. It’s going to come off regardless of
what you do. To sum up, I don’t think there is a
definitive difference between light and heavy bows, at least for the release part.
Some people will feel it, others wont. I think the difference is
mostly in the overall shot process, and the control of the weight in relation to
your experience and strength as an archer. One of the analogies I use for
this would be, in a computer-sense, mouse sensitivity. As a gamer, and as a power user, I prefer a high sensitivity mouse. I like
the ability to move the cursor around the screen really quickly and precisely
with minimal hand motion. Now my colleagues, the other teachers,
they have trouble using my mouse settings because it’s just way too sensitive. They push it once, and it flies off the
screen, and they can’t get it to move in the right place, and it’s actually quite
painful to watch them try do so, and vice versa. When I use their mouse settings, I can’t use the mouse because it’s just
way too slow and heavy. It takes, like, 10 swipes across the mouse pad to go across the screen. I think that’s the difference. As with some
people, some people prefer the lighter feel, others before the heavier feel.
Experienced archers will be more familiar with the heavy weight and the heavy
resistance the bow offers. Whereas, the light bow kind of throws them off, but it’s more
friendly to beginners. So why is it a challenge for these
experienced 3D archers to shoot 20 pound bows? Well, there are several reasons. The main
governing factor is slower velocity. There’s less energy in a 20 pound bow compared
to a 45 pound bow, so it won’t go as fast, and there are several implications. The first one is that you have to
compensate more for distance. Because there’s less energy and speed, the
arrow will drop much sooner, and you have to arc it higher to get onto
the target, and that means, especially if you’re shooting bare bow, you have to deviate much more than what
you normally would. The problem is that especially, again with
barebow, there’s much more room for error, and this is a general bare bow factor. Another reason is because it’s slower, it
will take more time to get to the target, and that means it spends more time being
affected by crosswinds. The third disadvantage is that you simply don’t
have the range. A 20-pound bow will start to really
struggle at around 40m to 50m, and while you still can hit the target, again, it’s just really hard to make that
distance, and if you’re shooting competitively, then a 20 pound bow simply wont cut it.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you should be getting a high draw weight bow right away.
I still think that, as a beginner, you should be starting low because distance
isn’t really a factor when you’re practicing starting out. You can shoot
three meters in your backyard. I shoot three meters my back yard, and
that’s completely fine. All you can work on is form, but when you
start thinking about shooting longer distance, like you want to compete or
you want to hunt, that’s when you start thinking about
getting higher draw weights, but apart from that, there aren’t any real disadvantages
to using a light bow. I think the main argument against the
light draw weight, for those who are picking between heavy or light, is that it feels
too light. This is especially the case if you’re an athletic person. You’re going to the
gym, and you lift weights, and you’re really strong, and you feel like the light bow is
way too easy. That’s a fair statement. I think that’s a
valid and legitimate reason to go for a heavier bow, but just bear in mind that
you still have to shoot well. Archery isn’t about strength.
Archery is about technique, and technique is better learnt with light gear not
heavy gear. So just because you can hold a 40
pound bow for a minute doesn’t mean you shoot well with it.
So take the time to learn the basics. Don’t rush into it because making the
wrong choice can delay your development by months, if not years. Anyway, this is NUSensei.
Thank you for watching, and I’ll see you next time.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. I've heard that a light bow is more sensitive for a bad release compared to a heavier one. If you have a habit of twisting the string, not anchoring close to you face, not releasing straight back, etc it will be more visible on a lighter bow as the arrow has more time to be affected by the bad habits. It sounds reasonable but I am not sure that is true

  2. Fangasm! And also wow you pronounced my name correctly, that's a first. I'm really satisfied with the 10 minute answer! Absolutely love your videos thanks so much for responding.

  3. A heavier bow will be more forgiving of a poor release naturally since it's not the speed at which it want's to come off your fingers but the resistance that is pulling hard to come off your fingers.

    Think about holding an empty cup with three fingers in it and trying to get it to drop to the floor by opening your fingers versus doing the same thing with a gallon of water. The gallon of water just wan'ts to drop straight down no matter what whereas the lighter cup is more likely to go left or right when releasing which in archery can cause more left/right miss issues since your release has to be more delicate and fine tuned.

    I noticed a large difference in the way the string behaved when you shot each bow after the release. The lighter bow string wobbled since it's not as stout where as the 45# bow nearly stopped dead after the arrow was off the string because it's very stout with a much higher resistance than the lighter bow.

    Also, heavier limbs give the advantage in that they are much harder to torque and therefore more forgiving and less critical of your release. You also get a bunch of other benefits such as flatter trajectory and it's just all around more forgiving.

    I guess it's all subjective but I would not consider a 45# draw weight a heavier draw weight, I personally reserve that for anything 60# and greater.

    There's no reason why someone can't build there body up to the point where they can shoot a 60# bow (or greater) all day with little to no fatigue.

  4. Jeff Kavanagh also made a video a few years back that encouraged practice using lower draw weights. Basically, light draw weights are great for practicing a smooth release because they really force you to relax those fingers and any faults you may have are easily amplified.

  5. the biggest difference is range. I have heard you want the lightest bow to get your arrow to the target. with a heavier bow you can tyre quicker. that can mess up your grouping.

  6. I think it may have an effect on the release, in relation to compound, coach prefers less let off on compounds. This is because he believes the higher weight is more forgiving as he believes it makes the bow less susceptible to inconsistencies resulting in better accuracy.

  7. ok..
    heavy draw weight= years of gradually increasing poundage whilst practicing proper technique (biomechanically repeatable shot sequence)

  8. For me it's totally fine for my students to use light drawweights even it does not suitable for the user.
    Because it depends on your preferences and what you gonna use for it. As long as you don't need to be know it all guy, just go out and do archery because me myself love using low poundage and still fine to me.
    Why using low? My arm is injured and i still need to teach people archery..what i mean is..
    What good even tho you have higher poundage but did not have the strength to pull it. If you can it's fine…its your bow anyway
    Just have fun lol

    Again for some info..


  9. Even a person who goes to the gym often and can lift heavy weights might still want to start off with a lower draw weight to build up strength in the fingers. Lifting weights does improve finger strength but not so much that you would find it really easy to shoot a 45 lb bow for a few hours and not have aching fingers the next day if you aren't used to it

  10. there was a drastic audible difference between the two bows. if I were to hear anything like I heard with the 25lbs bow, I would instantly assume I didn't achieve a clean release.

    judging by your technique however, it's quite possible that this twangy sound is unavoidable in lower draw weights.

    in the end however you should always use a draw weight that's comfortable and for beginners, this is usually between the 20 – 30 lbs range

    work your way up to the weight and always warm up, or risk injury. it's as simple as that.

    if you are set on buying a powerful bow however, you can usually find a perfect condition second hand one being sold due to back injury.

  11. Is it common to not take time to aim with a recurve? When you draw your 45lb you release before event reaching your anchor points. With the 25lb you take a second on the first, which is what I would expect, then after a few shots it goes back to releasing before you get back to your original anchor points.

  12. NUsensei, How do you think about  your bow grip so you can hold arrows in left
    hand while shooting and not affect your aim by giving angled pressure while
    holding the arrow against handle ?

  13. I think your arrows were a little stiff when you were throwing them :-). Keep up the good work and thank you. Alan

  14. Debilinside, back muscles aren't hard to train in the gym in the least, its just not generally the focus of those who frequent gyms for fitness. Strength DOES mean proper control of the muscles unless the person in question has only lifted on isolation/nautilus type equipment, which doesn't strengthen stabilizing muscles like free weights do. As someone who started off on Halloween of this year shooting a 45# recurve to currently,(week before Christmas) shooting a 60# almost exclusively, and almost able to full draw my 80#,(I can get her to my chin, just not my anchor of middle finger to corner of my mouth,) I can definitively say strength has everything to do with moving to higher draw weights if that is your goal. You can have the best technique in the world but without the core strength to go with it you won't be able to draw the bow, period. For a little physed back ground, I'm 6'4" at 250# with a 31.5 draw. I was a crossfit coach and local competitor for five years and have done olympic style lifting on and off since high school. I started off shooting for 1-3 hours 3 to 5 times a week to almost every day by the end of the first month for a minimum two hours per shoot sometimes twice a day. It is for sure a different motion and there certainly is a learning curve to putting the movements together, but without that base strength and flexibility there's no way I'd be shooting the bows I do in such a short time.

    I'm fortunate enough to have the experience and training to know how to work the muscles used in drawing a bow. Working with dumbells and kettlebells to continue to strengthen my core and grip. So on days I don't shoot, I'm working on those muscle groups to improve my form, flexibility, increase my draw strength and steady my bow arm.

    BTW young eng, I use a regular thickness 3 finger glove made by neet when shooting my 45/60 and just add a mechanix glove over it when shooting the 60/80. Tried a tab, didn't like the lack of tactile feedback but I keep it handy in case I feel I need it. It's not about being a badass, its about what you're willing or able to condition your body to.

    Dave, It's not necessarily the lack of strength in the fingers as them not being used to that type of repetitive sharp pressure depending on where you hold the string. Rock climbers condition their fingers with grip and fingerboards along with other strengthening exercises which I'm sure would benefit any archer at any level IMO along with getting out there and shooting.

    In the end, shoot how you feel you should, these are just my experiences and opinions. I am by no means an expert, this is what worked/is working for me.

    I really enjoy the videos NU puts out and have learned things I'd never have thought of. Remember everyone is different and not everyone can just pick up a 45# bow and shoot it for hours. There's NO shame in low poundage bows and everyone shoots for different reasons. I plan on big game hunting out of country in the next few years, someone else just might want to target shoot, for fitness, 3d, hunt, or just do it for fun at a club. You do you but most importantly BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF.

    Regardless, enjoy, be safe, and happy holidays.

  15. I think whether you are a novice or an advanced user for basic aims and a good the lighter weights are used as a training device I pretty much think the higher you go the better skill set you have..

    If you have a muscle memory mind set because you started at 40lbs or higher ofcourse you are going to feel a difference in distance and shot power..

  16. Shooting a light draw weight bow is like shooting a .22 LR rifle, in that it can be an excellent training device for beginners, as well as those who might need to refine their technique. To remind you of the fundamentals, or discover a flinch for example.

  17. With my 20 pound PSE Razorback, sometimes my arrows bounce off my Stinger target. Doesn't happen with 25 pounds or higher pull bows. Other than that diff, I feel like a giant pulling, holding and aiming my 20 pounder. A kick, for sure.

  18. I weigh 124 pounds and have no physical strength at all, whenever i try to shoot something heavier than 28 pounds i start to visibly shake. Anyway, my goal is to achieve consistency even when shooting for hours, so i picked up a 22 pounds barebow and i'm perfectly fine with it.

  19. The place where you hand came to rest after the shot was consistent with the 45 and changed a lot with the 25.

  20. initially I wanted to increase draw weight…….so I bought a 45, 50 and 55 pound recurves.
    Months later I realized that I want to consistently hit the target and that is all about Form……..I'm loving my 30 and 35 pound bows and try to shoot daily. Thanks for the lessons, I am learning. : )

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