There probably isn’t anything written or spoke of more in archery, than “back muscles” and proper usage. If you’ve been into archery for any period of time, and have a desire to improve, you’ve probably read about, and hopefully use your back muscles to shoot. Using your back muscles in general can mean anything from drawing with them, executing the release or just simply holding the bow back with them. In this article, we are going back to the basics of archery and discuss back muscles and why they are an important part of your shot. We don’t want to have an anatomy/physiology class, we just want to give you a basic understanding.
You want to hold the bow steady correct? The tension built in your hands/arms/shoulder/neck will radiate down to your sight pin and guess what? The more you have, the more your pin dances. But you need a muscle or bone system to hold the bow up and back right? Just use the large muscle in your back on the release arm side at full draw to hold all the weight back. Then you can relax everything else and enjoy a good sight picture. Most of the top pros and amateurs at full draw will feel bone contact on the bow arm and back muscle compression on the release arm side. It’s an easy way to relax.
How do we “feel” the back? I’ll keep the answer basic which is the goal of this article. At full draw prior to anchor, just drop both shoulders. Make sure they are naturally down, and then just take your release side elbow and try to take it backwards and around. This movement of the elbow will force you to “feel” it. When it’s in place and compressed its “anchored” and you’re ready for the traditional anchor of your release to your face. It’s the muscle that slides your shoulder blade towards your spine. It’s big and it wants to do the work, so let it! If you can’t feel it, your draw length may be to short or too long, or your shoulders are still too high. Practice it in front of a target and see how it feels.
It doesn’t matter if you shoot fingers, traditional, release aid or a hinge jaw. Let your back do the work for you. You can learn to incorporate your back muscles during the draw cycle now that your know what it feels like. This will speed up the time of your shot execution, and also ensure your form is consistent. Then if you want to take it to the next level, you can incorporate the same back muscle to execute the release aid. This is an advanced technique that will be talked about in upcoming articles from 60X Custom Strings.