Don't Let Your Shoulder Get the Shaft
With bow season upon us, many avid hunters will scamper to their "perch" in hopes of seeing that trophy animal. Many hunters may be ill prepared when that special moment presents itself, especially if the hunter is required to hold his/her draw for quite some time. In order to successfully hold the bow in the "full draw" position for any length of time requires the archer to possess a lot of strength.
The key to holding the "full draw" position is to consistently use the larger back muscles (such as the "lats", rhomboids, as well as the mid and lower traps). If the archer uses the smaller rotator cuff muscles or the arm muscles more than the larger back muscles, fatigue will set in sooner and the archer will "shake" more.
As with any other sport, "perfect practice makes perfect". A common mistake is archers will practice for a long period of time per session. This may force the archer to use the smaller muscles around the shoulder as the large back muscles fatigue resulting in inconsistency or injury. Because the small muscles are not designed to handle the increased load, shoulder pain is common occurrence. Slowly increasing the practice time will keep the archer using the same muscles every time.
A few good exercises to strengthen the large back muscles are pull-ups, reverse push-ups, low-rows and shoulder blade retractions. There are numerous exercises that can be performed, such as using Thera-bands to simulate drawing the bow or Swiss Ball exercises, however, talk with your doctor prior to starting any new exercise program.
Once the archer has a stronger back and has put in the proper amount of "perfect practice", the results are sure to follow. For more information about preventing shoulder injuries or sharing a good hunting story, please contact In Motion Spine & Joint Center at (615) 302-4747.