& Archery Tips

Determining Bow Draw Weight

Some key considerations when chosing your compound bow draw weight is to ensure that is comfortable for you and appropriate for your bowhunting or archery shooting purposes.  If you are a recreational archer, a bow with too much draw weight will simply make you less successful and you will not enjoy shooting nearly as much.  A good rule to consider is to choose a draw weight that requires about 75% of your "maximum" strength.  If your bow is too heavy, and you can only shoot a few times before you are worn out, then you'll be reluctant to practice and improve your skills.  But you also want your bow to shoot with as much speed and power as possible, so you shouldn't choose a bow with too little weight either.  The key is finding the right balance between comfort and performance. This will most likely be at your "75%" mark.  This will be the difference in you having a great deal of confidence with your set up, which can ensure you are successful in the field.

Heavier draw weights will yield better kinetic energy (penetration) and quicker arrow velocities (see archery calculators).  Some states require a compound bow to meet certain draw weight minimums in order to hunt large game like Whitetail Deer.  Check with your state's governing agencies, and always observe the rules and regulations for legally harvesting game in your state. See our Stick'em USA & Beyond

The "archery muscles" used to draw a bow are primarily large muscle groups in your upper back that include the Trapezius, and Deltoids muscles (see diagram).  Most bowhunters don't specifically work to exercise these muscles.  So you will probably find that once you do put them to work, your "archery muscles" will gain strength quickly and drawing your bow will become easier over time.  Fortunately, most bows come with at least 10 lbs. of draw weight adjustment.  So if you are a new shooter, you may want to begin with your bow set at a lower draw weight - and gradually "crank-up" the draw weight as you become more conditioned.  See our Fitness Articles Level I Workout Routine.

General Recommendations

Below are general guidelines for choosing an appropriate draw weight.  Keep in mind factors such as age, physical condition and Body Mass Index or BMI.

Suggested Draw Weight Ranges (Modern Compound Bows)

Human Weight
Draw Weight

Very Small Child  
Small Child  
Larger Child  
Small Frame Women  
Medium Frame Women  
Athletic Older Child  
Small Frame Men  
Large Frame Women  
Medium Frame Men  
Large Frame Men  
55 - 70
70 - 100
100 - 130
100 - 130
130 - 160
130 - 150
120 - 150
150 - 180
10 - 15
15 - 25
25 - 35
25 - 35
30 - 40
40 - 50
45 - 55
45 - 55
55 - 65
65 - 75

Additional Bowhunting Articles:

Archery Calculators


Arrow-ology & Broadhead-ology

Understanding Kinetic Energy

Determining Your Draw Length

Determining Your Draw Weight

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