Poundage or draw weight is a critical figure to remember when buying a recurve bow. It helps determine if you can handle the bow correctly, if you are using the right posture, and if your chances of experiencing soreness and fatigue while shooting are significantly reduced.

We know recurve bow options can be overwhelming, especially with high-end choices and affordable picks you can find at thebodytraining.com. For this reason, you want to be sure you select the one best suited for you.

Today, we will be sifting through trusted methods for determining the correct poundage for your recurve bow. That way, you can acquire one that caters specifically to your shooting needs.

Two Main Methods for Finding the Right Draw Weight

Figuring out the appropriate draw weight for a recurve bow will usually involve one of two methods. There’s the method that entails using your body weight, which correlates loosely to the bow poundage, and the 30-second test.

The former varies based on muscle growth and form improvement and increases through practice. The latter involves drawing and holding the bow for 30 seconds and seeing if the archer can manage that with little trouble.

People often debate which technique is more effective, so we will discuss each in detail to help you decide for yourself which one that is!

Body Weight and Gender Method 

You will find all kinds of charts online drawing connections between gender and body weight and the right recurve bow poundage. One such is the chart below, which displays the archer’s weight and gender and the corresponding draw weight that fits them best.

  • 70 to 100 lbs. children: 10 to 15 lbs.
  • 100 to 130 lbs. children: 15 to 25 lbs.
  • 100 to 130 lbs. small-framed adult females: 25 to 35 lbs.
  • 130 to 160 lbs. medium-framed adult females: 25 to 35 lbs.
  • 120 to 150 lbs. small-framed adult males: 30 to 45 lbs.
  • 150 to 180 lbs. medium-framed adult males: 40 to 55 lbs.
  • 160 lbs. and above large-framed females: 30 to 45 lbs.
  • 180 lbs. and above large-framed males: 45 to 60 lbs.

There are also charts that take into consideration the skill level of the archer as well as their gender and body weight.

Despite these charts’ popularity, many still claim their failure to accurately determine the appropriate recurve bow draw weight. That is because they believe so many more factors come into play to determine such a figure.

For them, even when you fall within the weight range capable of handling a 60-lb. bow, that won’t necessarily mean you’ll be strong enough to do so. The same holds true for lighter individuals whose strength and fitness may allow them to handle heavier bows.

Enter the 30-second test to bridge these gaps. 

The 30-Second Test

Sometimes, when you navigate a pro shop in search of the right bow, you pick up some of your options and get a feel for them. You draw the bow back, hold it a bit, and if it is lighter than you realized, you think it is within your capacity to manage its draw weight. However, this actually isn’t enough to go on if you plan to shoot a bow several times.

In reality, when you are trudging through the wilderness or shooting competitively, you don’t just shoot a bow once. So, even if you can do a full draw on a particular recurve bow, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can sustain that for a full shooting session. You need to be able to handle a specific bow with little to no trouble for several shoots.

To avoid falling into this trap that comes from selecting an inappropriate bow, try the 30-second test. It is as simple as its name suggests; you just draw the bow fully and hold it for all of 30 seconds. If you can manage that without feeling like your muscles are being strained, then you should be capable of handling that specific bow.

However, if doing the test makes your body feel like it’s burning, take it as a sign that you are to choose another bow. The bow you currently have is simply too heavy to sustain and may make the muscles in your back and shoulders burn and shake as a result. A recurve bow that doesn’t give you any difficulty, even when drawn multiple times over an extended period, is the one you want. It is also the one your muscles will be grateful for. 

The Recurve Bow for You

Draw weight is just one of the many factors to consider when choosing a recurve bow. To ensure your archery journey doesn’t endure too many hiccups, you also want to factor in draw length, bow style, and bow function in addition to this figure.

It’s also important to be aware of things like draw weight egos, which could prove a hindrance to making the best draw weight decision.

Nonetheless, figuring out the correct bow draw weight is a great first step to choosing the right bow. Once you have that out of the way, the rest of the elements should fall into place relatively easily.