Increasing your draw weight on a recurve bow has many pros and cons. Most people want to increase their draw weight on a recurve bow because it makes them look stronger. Ego can be hurt your accuracy when it comes to recurve bows.
A good way to know if your current draw weight is good for you is by holding your bow fully drawn for 30 seconds. During this time notice how much you are shaking, especially towards the end.
A perfect bow for you would be very stable for the first 20 seconds with light shaking for the last 10 seconds.
I’ve had people come to me that wanted to increase their draw weight that couldn’t hold their current bow at full draw for more than 10 seconds. Be sure not to get ahead of yourself or your accuracy will suffer.
How to Increase Draw Weight on a Recurve Bow
As you get stronger and become a better archer, you can start increasing your draw weight for a more powerful and accurate shot. Here are some ways to increase your draw weight on a recurve bow.
Change the Limbs
The first is a more practical solution. Some bows have interchangeable limbs. So if you want more or less draw weight, you can just unstring the bow and change the limbs.
This is great for increasing your draw weight or sharing the bow with someone else. My wife uses my Samick Sage Recurve Bow all the time by just changing the limbs to a lower draw weight.
The bad news is, many if not most bows don’t have interchangeable limbs meaning if you want to increase your draw weight you’ll have to purchase a new bow altogether.
Another simple option for increasing your draw weight is to workout. Pulling back a bowstring is heavily reliant on your back muscles. Anyone can increase draw weight over time by working out their back muscles.
Basic back workouts like lateral pulldowns or rows are great for increasing your draw weight.
If you don’t have access to a gym or don’t want to make a gym membership just to increase your draw weight, there is a workout you can do with just your recurve bow.
This workout is simple. Grab your bow and pull the string back. Hold the string drawn for 10 seconds. Take a 20-second break, then hold it for another 10 seconds.
By doing this you are working out the exact muscles needed to pull back the string. Do this workout after a looking target practice shooting session for maximum results.
Be sure not to release the string. Gently pull the string back then when you are done slowly put it back position. Never dry fire a bow (firing it without an arrow nocked). This can be dangerous to both you and the bow.
At the end of the day, the best way to increase your draw weight on a recurve bow is by target shooting.
Going through the momentum of nocking the arrow and pulling it back to full draw is most likely all you’ll need. As you fire hundreds or thousands of arrows, you’ll naturally be building the right muscles to draw more weight.
It is common to find archers increasing draw weight over time as they practice archery more and more.
Why You Should Increase Your Draw Weight
Increasing your draw weight on a recurve bow has a few pros. The first being that with more draw weight arrows go straight for further.
If you are competing or target shooting at a further range, you’ll want a recurve bow with more draw weight. Lower draw weight bows fire arrows at a slight downward curve, especially at long distances.
Each person has a delicate balance between draw weight and accuracy. Too little draw weight and the arrow won’t fly straight. Too much draw weight and you’ll be shaking too much to land the shot.
Also, one of the most common reasons to increase draw weight is because you’d like to go hunting with your recurve bow.
If you are hunting larger game like deer or elk it is recommended to have a draw weight of at least 40lb. I personally advise archers to hunt with at least 45lb. If 40lb is too heavy for you, you may want to consider increasing your draw weight or using a compound bow. Compound bows allow you to hit with more draw weight by pulling less.
Draw weight should only be increased if your body is ready for the extra weight.
Why You Shouldn’t Increase Your Draw Weight
The biggest reason to not increase your draw weight is that your body is not capable of pulling it back. Unfortunately, we see it all the time. Some archers let ego get in the way and try to pull recurve bows that are way too heavy for them.
If you are pulling a bow that is too heavy for you, it’ll be obvious in the amount of shaking you’ll have at full draw. Archery is a game of accuracy, not power.
New archers should also hold back on increasing their draw weight. Work on form before power.
I recommend most archers start 10-15lb below what they think they can draw. This is so that they have an opportunity to learn the basics. If you are pulling a bow that is at the edge of your draw weight capabilities, you won’t be able to work on your form or accuracy. You’ll be spending most of your time and energy keep the string back.
Increasing your draw weight is a tricky matter. You do not want to go too higher where you are shaking but you also don’t want a bow that is too light and has a curved shot.
It is better to have a bow that is too light than a bow that is too heavy. Archery is a sport of accuracy and not power.
Many archers want to increase their draw weight so that they can go hunting. If you plan on hunting with a recurve bow, you’ll need a draw weight of at least 40lb.
Increasing draw weight is simply a matter of practicing. The more arrows you fire the more your back muscles get a workout. If you’d like to increase draw weight more rapidly, there are back workouts you can do if you have access to a gym.