Author Topic: What limits the maximum draw weight a well trained archer can pull to ~200 lbs?  (Read 955 times)

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Offline abrrow

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Hi!

There has been one thing I have been wondering about quite a bit - what exactly is the physical limitation regarding maximum bow draw weight that prevents a well trained human from further increasing the max draw weight he can pull?

The official world record by Mark Stretton is 200 lbs. Joe Gibbs can currently also pull around 200 lbs. There don't seem to be many other people who can pull a similarly heavy bow. So for some reason there seems to be a very hard limit around 200 lbs that no one can really get above, even after 20 years of training, as Joe Gibbs has.

Normally, I would assume that the limit has to be just the combination of muscle mass and muscle strength of a person. But there are a lot of people with way less than half the muscle mass of Joe Gibbs that can pull 100 lbs. There are scrawny people with probably less than 1/5 the muscle mass of Joe Gibbs that can pull a 100 lbs bow. And that's what I don't quite understand. There doesn't seem to be a linear correlation between the apparent muscle mass of the trained archer, and the draw weight he can pull. Why? Why is it not twice the apparent visible (archery) muscle mass =  twice the strength = twice the draw weight you can pull?

Due to that seemingly not existing linear correlation between muscle mass and max draw weight, I feel like the limit can't actually be muscle mass and muscle strength.

Is the real limit the bone structure of the human body?

Or is the limit caused by the human body not being able to further grow the small connective muscles that are required for the "draw movement" to work well? So the big muscles can get stronger, but those small muscles that a human who doesn't do archery normally isn't really using can't grow further?

Offline Hawkdancer

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My first question is 1: Can a bow that strong be shot accurately?  I personally don't think archery is like weight lifting!  2:  Flight shooting, I can understand, just trying to pull 200# serves no purpose I can see.  I doubt an arrow would go further, and I would not want to be close if that bow "exploded",  >:D >:D(--) (--)!  3rd:  maybe some dude/damsel who can lift a thousand pounds could draw such a bow if some one could make it safe, but why? -C-  just stirring the pot!
Hawkdancer
Life is far too serious to be taken that way!
Jerry

Offline abrrow

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In the context of english warbows, the answer to "why would someone want to shoot more than 200#" is most likely better armor penetration, and potentially further range. In the year 2020 there isn't really any good reason to shoot such draw weights, but that's irrelevant for the question ;D

Or do you think that the reason why no one is able to shoot much more than 200# is purely that there isn't any reason to do so? I think based on what I heard Joe Gibbs say in his videos, he couldn't really train any more than he does. He says he's training with the high-pundage bows multiple times per week, and has done so for the past 20 years or so. I don't think he just needs a better "reason" for shooting heavy warbows.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 12:29:49 am by abrrow »

Offline bownarra

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People have pulled heavier bows than 200#.
Check out the Topaki Museum and some of the hornbows inthere. There is also a riduculous 'double bow' that is estimated to be around 300#......only one man ever strung and drew that bow....and he wasn't an archer but tthe gardener :)
What limits the physical cabalities of a human? Good question!

Offline Mikkolaht

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If I remember correctly, Joe did pull 210lbs with his yew warbow + resistance rubber band.

I think technique is a good explanation, why some skinny bois can pull 100lbs.
And on the other hand, there are just pure power dudes who have no technique at all and can pull 100lbs.

And on top of that, it depends on the draw lenght of the bow. A warbow tillered to 150lbs at 30'' feels a lot heavier than 150lbs tillered to 32''.
And if it has set or reflex makes difference too. Shooting reflexed warbow is a lot more difficult.
Once you get (at least for me) past certain point of the draw, you can start to use your back muscles to pull the bow=it gets easier.
For me the limiting factor is the feeling my left arm's elbow is going to be crushed.

I have been training to shoot warbows for two years and I can barely pull 150lbs at 30''.
So based on that, some people are more gifted with war bows than others.

And I don't really know what is the limit on what is the absolute highest poundage one can pull. Meybe the point where your bones start snapping from left arm? lol

I am not stating any of these things as an absolute truth, just my experiences and information from others and internet.

Offline abrrow

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I think technique is a good explanation, why some skinny bois can pull 100lbs.

But Joe Gibbs also has very good technique, and he still can "only" do twice that, even with way more muscle mass. The comparison should really be done between people with similarly good technique. And it seems that someone with way more than twice the muscle mass (and similarly perfect technique) can still "only" pull twice as much. And I'd really like to know the reason for that.

For me the limiting factor is the feeling my left arm's elbow is going to be crushed.

That's interesting!

I have been training to shoot warbows for two years and I can barely pull 150lbs at 30''.
So based on that, some people are more gifted with war bows than others.

From a muscle perspective, if you managed to get to 150 lbs in just 2 years, I see no reason why you would not get to Joe-Gibbs level of draw weight if you trained for 20 years, like he did. There's a big difference between 2 years and 20 years. So I wouldn't say that he's any more naturally gifted than you are in that regard. You might even be "more gifted" than he is, he might not have reached 150 lbs in just 2 years.

Offline meanewood

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I think the main factor is that the Warbow community is very small and the ones able to reach 150lb is even smaller.

If there was as many people training to shoot warbows as there is people weight lifting, the record could possibly be extended beyond 200lbs.

Take athletics as an example.
The current records for all events are hard to beat because there have been many people participating over many years and as a result, the maximum potential for increase in speed (running), height (jumping) and distance (throwing) has been reached.
Only occasionally does someone come along and manage to set a new record.

Offline tradcraftsman

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People have pulled heavier bows than 200#.
Check out the Topaki Museum and some of the hornbows inthere. There is also a riduculous 'double bow' that is estimated to be around 300#......only one man ever strung and drew that bow....and he wasn't an archer but tthe gardener :)
What limits the physical cabalities of a human? Good question!

This somewhat reminds me of Odysseus' return home, if you know what I mean, but you're probably referring to a different episode.

Offline Hawkdancer

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AHAA!  Comes the light!  But I will stick to distance running(at my age, struggling >:D (lol)) and remembering the back in the day.  I did forget about war bows, and such folks.  I guess it is all about the challenge!
Hawkdancer
Life is far too serious to be taken that way!
Jerry

Offline lonbow

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Yes, the strongest hornbow in the Topaki Museum has about 240 lbs. Adam Karpowicz thinks that this was a bow for exercising strength. But I think that it might be possible very view archers could shoot bows of that draw weight. IŽve read about a chinese archer who shot a 240 lbs bow. He won an archery competition with this bow.