Not only does archery require precision and skill, but a significant amount of upper body strength as well. Since the release of the movie, “The Hunger Games,” archery has been on the rise. For those new to the sport, it is important to know which muscles are used the most, and therefore the most important to keep strong.
Rhomboids—located in between your shoulder blades in your mid-back, these keep your shoulder blades retracted. This is very important for proper shoulder stabilization, especially when holding a heavy bow and arrow.
Trapezius —there are three portions that make up your trapezius: your upper trap, mid-trap, and lower trap. The mid and lower trap function to downwardly rotate your shoulder blade and keep it retracted. Your upper trap does the opposite—it upwardly rotates and protracts your shoulder blade. Over activation of your upper trap can lead to a strained neck and tension headaches. It is important when doing any lifting movement to use your mid and lower traps instead.
Triceps —These are found on the back of your upper arms. Their action is to straighten your arm from a bent position. When releasing an arrow from your bow, this muscle is utilized.
Deltoid —Like the trapezius muscle, your deltoid is also made up of three portions: the anterior, lateral, and posterior deltoid. All three add stability to your shoulder joint, but individually they function in different manners. Your anterior deltoid raises your arm in a forward direction, your lateral in a lateral direction, and your posterior in a backwards motion behind your body. When holding your bow and arrow in position, you are using your deltoid –particularly your anterior and lateral– on both arms.
For those avid archery shooters and hunters, maintaining proper strength and body positioning of the muscles noted above will help decrease the risk of injury. For specific exercises addressing these muscles, contact Dr. Jennifer Molner at (303) 805-5156 to schedule an initial evaluation today, or visit us at Castle Pines Physical Therapy, right here in Castle Pines CO.
Photo credit: http://www.fortcampbellmwr.com/Recreation/archery/