At a studio in Queens, a group of women are working up a sweat. But instead of dumbells in their hands, you'll find crossbows.
Archery? It's not exactly the latest fitness craze, considering we can trace the sport back to medieval Robin Hood and in more recent history, the 18th century English upper class. (Who could forget Gwyneth Paltrow's charming portrayal of matchmaker Emma Woodhouse taunting Mr. Knightly with her archery skills in the 1996 film version of Jane Austen's novel?) But, archery is making an unmistakable comeback, thanks to some fetching leading ladies today.
“There’s been a huge uptick in archery interest over the past year — particularly in the past two to four months, which is definitely reaching a fever pitch with ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Brave,’ and the Olympic games,” USA Archery spokeswoman Teresa Laconi told the New York Post.
Katniss and Princess Merida are certainly the heroines making archery the graceful sport du jour, but don't forget Neytiri, that svelte, blue Na'vi princess of "Avatar." You don't have to go too far back in Hollywood history to find more beauties brandishing crossbows: Jennifer Garner in "Elektra" from 2005, Keira Knightly's midriff-baring Guinevere in 2004's "King Arthur" and even Natalie Portman in "Your Highness."
Al Lizzio, who runs Queens Archery, told the Post his business is up 50 percent as the past year, and weekend archery lessons are booked through the end of July. The boom in clientele is 90 percent women at Queens Archery, and the same trend can be found at New York Sports Clubs. NYSC just launched a class called the "Change Your Fate Workout".
The class is completely inspired by "Brave's" Princess Merida, so New York's editors, lawyers and bartenders alike can drop in and feel like a Disney heroIne for a day with fitness crossbows and wooden swords. Would-be princesses are sure to sweat and work their upper bodies like superheroes.
With the Olympics around the corner, hopeful archers have even more inspiration. U.S. female archer Khatuna Lorig hopes to compete at the London Games, after her recent stint as a trainer for Jennifer Lawrence on the set of "The Hunger Games." As women increasingly become more than just the object of desire in today's action flicks, archery might be here to stay. We think Maid Marian would approve.