Bowhunters, would you ever go hunting without tuning your bow to precision? I didn’t think so. So why do some of us go out for a hunt without doing the same for our bodies?
Bowhunting is challenging, which is part of what makes it so awesome. You must have complete confidence in your physical ability to cross intense terrain, stalk your prey, pull and shoot your bow with precision and then pack out your animal. This means you MUST train for your hunt.
Properly tuning your bow AND your body, will lead to more consistent success, a more enjoyable hunt and the ability to hunt long and hard.
Pillars of Draw:
The pillars of a solid draw and aim include your shoulders, upper back and core (however these are not the only muscles that are important)!
These muscles are also the most susceptible to an overuse injury, so it is critical to build strong pillars in order to stay in the hunt!
But Wait, There’s More:
Specifically, bowhunters also need to have powerful leg and core strength, which is grounded by strong glutes and hamstrings. Increasing your lower body endurance will enable you to adventure through tough terrain and conditions farther and faster. As you know, the ability to cover ground may be the difference between coming home with a trophy or an empty truck and a sad look. You’ll also shoot your bow straighter and with more consistency when you train your core (critical), which in turn also increases your shoulder strength and stability.
Fighting The Desk Jockey:
Besides training to be strong with your bow, you also need to train against all the ways we are unknowingly making ourselves poor athletes in our day-to-day lives. For example, if you are a desk jockey in between the days you are a bow-hunting warrior, you are likely spending long hours hunched over a computer. Inevitably, this will cause your shoulders to roll forward and tighten. Unfortunately, tight shoulders destroy the necessary stability and range of motion for safely drawing a bow. As our body compensates, it recruits more of our rotator cuff as the bow is held up and the string pulled. Any rotator cuff injuries in the house?
Combine that with poor joint alignment and posture from work and you can easily see how you may be setting yourself up for a frustrating experience with a shoulder impingement or back spasms.
Ok, ok, I see. You get the point. So what do we do about it?
First, Let’s Review:
The continuous drawing back of the bow string requires strength and endurance in the upper body. A strong core and lower body is essential for balance and control. Strong forearms will ensure proper aiming and a steady grip.
Key Muscles Used by the Bowhunter Include:
The muscles of the shoulder girdle; the latissimus dorsi, the teres major, and the deltoids (Holding the bow (Anterior) Drawing the string (Posterior).The muscles of the neck; the levator scapula and trapezius muscles.
The core muscles; the transverse abdominus, obliques, and the spinal erectors.
The muscles of the arms; bicep, brachialis (drawing), brachioradialis, tricep (holding).
The muscles of the upper legs and hips; the gluteals, the hamstrings, and the quadriceps.
A good overall strengthening program to keep the muscles strong and flexible will keep the bowhunter adventuring, stalking (and hopefully packing out) prey for as long as you can hold a bow.
Physical Therapy Elite, will be launching into a strength series specifically aimed at ensuring our bowhunting athletes are strong, muscularly well-balanced and ready to take down and pack out the biggest beast.
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Stay tuned to our blog: http://www.pt-elite.com/blog/
***The release is all about scap retraction ability - So coming at you next is our scap series and how to specifically build this muscle for shooting!