Shoulder exercises for archery focus primarily on the muscles that move and stabilize the shoulder joint. Archers are at particular risk of rotator cuff injuries. Sport specific strength training can help to reduce the risk of shoulder injuries associated with pulling a bow. The supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor muscles and the deltoids should be the focus of sport specific training for archers. Always consult a doctor prior to starting a new exercise program.
Before beginning should strength training exercises warm up by stretching your mucles. Stretch and loosen your upper shoulder muscles first by standing with both arms at your sides. Raise your shoulders toward your ears. Move your shoulders toward the front of your body and then toward the back. Repeat this stretch 10 times. Use a light resistance band to help loosen up your shoulder muscles. Grasp the band in each hand and then raise your arms out to the side at shoulder length. Pull your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together while keeping your arms straight. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat this stretch 10 times. Using the light resistance band, raise one arm above your head, while keeping the other arm stretched out at shoulder level. Hold for 10 seconds and then switch arms.
The deltoids are a group of muscles located on the top of the shoulder and control the movement of the arm backward, out to the side and forward. Strengthening these muscles is important for strong pulling strength to achieve a full draw on the bow. Shoulder lifts help strengthen these muscles. Use resistance bands or dumbbells to perform shoulder lifts. Perform a forward raise by holding weights at your side or stand on resistance bands and grasp them with your hands. Lift the weights or pull the bands straight up in front of your body to shoulder height. The lateral lift is performed by pulling the bands or lifting the weights straight out to the side up to shoulder height. The backward raise is performed by pushing the weights or pulling the bands straight back behind the body. Hold these exercises for five seconds and then relax. Do 10 repetitions of each.
The rhomboid, scapulae and trapezius muscles in the back, pull the shoulder blades back, up, down and inward. These muscles are essential to strong pulling and holding of the bow string. A rowing exercise works all these muscles. A rowing machine is a good way to exercise these muscles. Use dumbbells or resistance bands to perform a forward rowing exercise. Bend forward with one hand resting on a bench and hold dumbbell or grasp a resistance band with the other hand. Bend your elbow and lift your upper arm and shoulder upward until your forearm is parallel with the floor. Hold the position for five seconds and then relax, Do 10 repetitions of this exercise with each arm.
Rotator Cuff Strengthening
The rotator cuffs in each shoulder consist of the infraspinatus and teres muscles. The rotator cuff helps pull the arm outward. Rotator cuff strains and tears can occur in archery due to the pressure applied to this muscle group during the draw on the bow. An exercise called scaption strengthens the rotator cuff. Hold your arm out to the side of your body. Bring your arm slightly forward with the thumb turned down toward the floor. Lift your arm up to the eye level. Hold the position for five seconds and then lower your arm back to your side. Repeat 10 times with each arm.