A lot of hunters, both seasoned and amateur, take their strength and stamina for granted, neglecting to make time to strengthen their bodies as part of their hunting preparations. And this attitude ultimately punishes them as they find themselves suddenly feeling the strain of drawing the bowstring which eventually affects their accuracy.
Realize that a strong draw and solid anchor is dependent on how strong and developed the muscles are in your shoulder and back, factoring in muscle memory. Keep in mind that these muscles are prone to injury hence it cannot be stressed how important it is for you to continually reinforce and strengthen them.
Optimize the range of movement in all joints
The best way to reinforce them is by optimizing the range of movement in all of your joints which involves exercises that help correct problems that are caused by your life outside of hunting. With people’s daily lifestyle involving them hunched while in front of the computer, their shoulders will inevitably roll forward and tighten. And it becomes worse if you attempt to draw a bow right after getting out of work.
What happens is that your back will attempt to compensate on the stress it is getting by taking in more of your rotator cuff as you hold the bow and pull the string. Combining that with poor joint alignment caused by prolonged poor posture at work can potentially cause your shoulders to be impinged and develop upper back spasms.
Know that 65 percent of injuries from both athletic and lifestyle are caused by repetitive usage of joints while in a lousy posture and paired with weak muscles. The good news is that there are exercises that can be performed to strengthen your shoulders and back to help you pull that bowstring better.
Exercises to strengthen your back
These are a couple of exercises that you should perform for you to be able to strengthen your back and shoulders. However, do not overdo it because doing so can potentially damage your shoulders. It is always great to have a complete set of archery supplies and bow arrows but you should not take your health for granted.
Prone T’s exercise
This exercise improves shoulder stability and it strengthens the rotator cuff muscles. This also improves scapular strength and increases muscle recruitment patterns. You start performing this exercise by pulling your shoulder blades in toward your spine and extend your arms to the sides creating a T with your torso.
Make sure to keep your arms long and straight, positioned 90 degrees to your torso. Point your thumbs up toward the ceiling while keeping your head in line with your spine. Keep your shoulder blades back and down, trying to squeeze them together. You should feel the contraction in the backs of your shoulder and in your upper back between the shoulder blades.
Bow Trainer Excercise
Place your feet shoulder width apart with an open stance similar to how you stand when you are trying to shoot with a bow. Grasp an exercise band in both hands and then hold your bow arm in line with your shoulders and your bow hand at shoulder height.
Pull the band using only three fingers of the draw hand while your draw arm is in anchor position while keeping your draw arm line with your shoulders. Make sure that you start with a light band and pull it until you reach your approximate draw length. Also, try to get the band to the tip of your nose, or corner of your mouth, to create an extra reference point while you are drawing the band back past your jaw.
Try to complete three sets of 8-12 repetitions at your full draw length and make it a point to rest one minute between sets. Work your way up in band strength and only include the red “power band” after you have accomplished several weeks of extensive training. Also note that when you are using the red band, only pull back to half of your draw length.