Archery vs. Rifle: What Muscles to Target

Archery vs. Rifle: What Muscles to Target

September 21, 2020

By: Jeremy Koerber, Fit2Hunt

There is a growing trend among hunters as many in our community are now training to maximize performance and enjoyment of their outdoor adventures. From Crossfit to cardio, fitness is now a part of the preparation process for almost every type of hunt imaginable, but is there a difference in how you should train depending on the type of hunting you enjoy? Here is a list of muscle groups to target for both archery and rifle hunters.


Arguably the most physically taxing with regards to execution, archery hunters depend on their physicality to fire their weapon. A quick Internet search showed the average age of bowhunters to be approximately 46 years old. Poor physical fitness and shoulder injuries could be a reason some hunters retire their compound in favor of a crossbow. If you want to continue flinging arrows well into your later years or maximize performance today, focus on these muscle groups:

Rhomboids, Levator Scapulae and Trapezius: Known as the back-tension group, these muscles are responsible for holding your bow steady when you draw.

Deltoids: Helps to initiate drawing your bow to full draw and to hold it steady.

Latissimus Dorsi (The Lats): On the drawing side, the lats help the deltoids in the drawing motion. On your bow arm, they team up with the deltoids to create stability.

Rotator Cuffs: A term used for the group of muscles responsible for helping you rotate your arm in multiple directions and stabilizing the shoulder joint. It is also an area that is the result of many injuries due to weak, deconditioned muscles.

Exercises to consider:



Rifle hunters may not require the same physicality to operate their weapons, but there is still a need for physical fitness to shoulder, carry and fire their weapon. Here are some muscles to target for rifle hunters and shooting enthusiasts:

Core: Say core and most people think about their abs, but the core muscles comprise the abdominals, low back, and gluteus maximus muscle groups.  The core’s job is to provide stabilization as you raise and aim your weapon.

Legs: Improving strength and endurance in your quadriceps and hamstrings is important for creating a strong, balanced, and steady foundation.

Rotator Cuffs: The rotator cuffs help stabilize the rifle when in a raised position. 

Exercises to consider:


To perform in the field and maintain a high level of health and fitness, it important to focus on an exercise program that works all major muscle groups, but depending on the type of hunter you are, use these exercise above to strengthen your game.

For more info on how to get and stay #FitToHunt, visit us at


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