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The 'Green Light System' for increasing shooting poundage...

At some stage, every archer has to go through a phase of increasing bow poundage. This may be to increase effective shooting distance, or to improve scores at longer distances and in the wind.

With that in mind, a big jump in bow poundage or increasing poundage too soon can lead to the archer being 'overbowed', and a myriad of consequential technique issues...

When is the correct time to increase bow poundage?

I have developed a simple, effective and quantifiable test to ensure that archers can safely increase their shooting poundage. This ensures that when the poundage is cranked up, no crappy technique appears!

I use three separate SPT challenges as metrics to asses whether an archer is ready to increase drawing weight. These challenges assess the archer against each of the following criteria:

  1. Holding Strength

  2. Drawing Strength

  3. Bow Endurance

Each test is scored on a simple traffic light system that works as follows:

Fail: Bow poundage is too heavy and should be decreased

Pass: Bow poundage is ok, but more work is needed

Graduate: The archer is ready to increase draw weight!


  • If an archer fails even one test, they should lower their draw weight to something more appropriate and work up again with a sound technical base.

  • Each test must be completed with strict technique. Any compromise in form is considered a failure.

  • Archers are allowed 5 minutes rest between completing each test.

  • The tests should be completed in the order outlined below.

  • For an archer to increase shooting poundage, they should get the 'Green Light' on all three tests!

Assessment 1: 'Long Hold' (Holding strength)

Rules: The first test is simple, the archer must be able to hold at full draw with correct technique.

Fail: Holds less than 40s

Pass: Holds over 40s, but less than 60s

Graduate: Holds for 60s or more

Assessment 2: 'Max Tech Pumps' (Drawing Strength)

Rules: For the second test, the archer completes as many sequential tech-pumps as possible whilst maintaining correct drawing technique. A tech-pump is performed by drawing from your pre-draw position to full draw, then letting down into pre-draw before repeating.

Fail: Less than 6 tech pumps

Pass: More than 6, but less than 10 tech pumps

Graduate: 10 or more tech pumps

Assessment 3: '20 Seconds to Failure' (Bow Endurance)

Rules: The final test is often perceived as the most difficult. The archer must draw and hold for 20s, followed by a 20s rest period, then repeat until failure (muscular failure, not technique failure). The short rest period stress tests the archers endurance.

Fail: Completes less than 6 holds successfully

Pass: Completes more than 6, but less than 10 holds successfully

Graduate: Completes more than 10 holds successfully

Closing Comments:

This system takes the guesswork out of when to increase bow poundage, and has the added benefit of allowing you to plot SPT strength over time. Once I implemented this system, I also saw a surge in SPT training completed by the archers.

For elite archers, I would expect to see a passing score at their shooting weight +6#.

Enjoy the results!

Jarryd Greitschus

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