Healthy Bowhunting Shoulders

Posted by: Dan Staton on Apr 29, 2013
Page 1 of 3

Bowhunting requires healthy mobile shoulders to draw and shoot archery tackle.  An injury to either shoulder can leave you sidelined for the season or worst yet, have you permanently removed from the sport all together.  So if the shoulders play such an intricate role in what we do, the question is what are you doing to keep your shoulders bullet-proof?  You're not getting any younger, so to keep those aging muscles strong you need a specific list of exercises to get the job done.

The Golden Rule

Skeletal muscle abides by one rule; use it or lose it. This generally accepted rule of thumb equates to gradual loss in strength as we age and become less active.  Any loss in muscle will have a negative affect on your ability to draw and shoot your bow.  You can easily deteriorate your shoulders by not using them throughout the year and believe it or not, your posture can have a big say in the matter as well.  All of us want accuracy and precision; it’s correlated to our ability to hold steady at full-draw from a solid foundation.  Our mid to lower trapezius muscles coupled with rhomboids and posterior deltoids make up some of our key bowhunting muscles.  To combat the aging process, you must implement strength training into your fitness regimen, and be extremely cognizant of your posture.


Like any other muscle, those in the shoulder will weaken if not used and strengthened; which will directly affect your shooting.

Straighten Things Out

The shoulders tend to roll forward when we are at a desk staring at a computer monitor.  We hunch forward when we drive, and most athletes I train tend to lack perfect posture.  Most folks are completely unaware that their slouch and forward head can devastate shoulder health and expedite problematic shoulder syndromes that could have been avoided entirely.  Poor posture is like driving a vehicle that is out of alignment.  Sure you can keep hammering the miles, but eventually you feel the effects of wear and tear and poor fuel economy.  The shoulders need to be in proper alignment.  So the first bit of advice is to fix your posture throughout the day.


There are several muscles that make up the shoulder and back and each one should be given equal attention when training.

Bring your shoulder blades close to the spine, and then depress them down.  You will definitely notice that this is an unfamiliar posture, but it is the correct one.  If you have a sedentary job make sure your chair is high enough to encourage strong ergonomics. Also, when driving adjust your review mirror so that you have to sit up tall to see behind you.  A few adjustments in your shoulder posture can prevent wear and tear, impingement, and other problems that a bowhunter simply does not need.  Now, let’s look a little closer at how to make your shoulders strong throughout the year.

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Dan Staton

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1 Comment on "Healthy Bowhunting Shoulders"

Re: Healthy Bowhunting Shoulders #
I found out last year when I decided to forego the gym in lieu of bowhunting all season that my ability to draw my bow was really affected. By the end of bowseason I struggled to get my bow to full draw without leaning back. This offseason I have hit the gym regularly and I was really suprised how easy it is now to draw my bow. I just did a 30 arrow 3D shoot and never once had to lean back. Working the shoulders is definitely a must. The downdraw was the hardest on my joints, it used to feel like my bow was going to rip my shoulder off.
Posted by Jeremy Yancey on 6/2/2013 5:22:25 PM

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