Bow arm shoulder shrugging up when expanding.

Windy

New member
Hi, I have a habit of shrugging up the bow arm as i try to expand through the shot. This creates tension in my right upper trapezius. I also cannot expand through the shot properly as my bow arm feels 'stuck' like as if theres no more room for expansion.
Does anybody know of this issue and how to fix it? Thanks
 


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Timid Toad

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Yes, a good coach will advise some exercises to strengthen the rest of your shoulder muscles to hold down your shoulder. Plus probably some time with a light bow to rebuild your form and break the bad habits you've developed!
 


geoffretired

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Supporter
Can I just clarify; how your bow arm shoulder is shrugging up... does the shoulder come up under your chin almost?
If that is what you are doing, it is a common mistake made by lots of archers... many don't even know they are doing it.
When you raise your arms, to lift the bow up before you draw, it is a good idea to raise both hands and the draw elbow up to eye level.
That puts the bow hand higher than the bow shoulder. At that stage in the shot process, it is easy for the bow shoulder to have shrugged up a little already, and not realise. A good check is to fully shrug the shoulder before drawing and then deliberately drop it so you feel it is as low as it will go. Now you can start the draw. If you use a heavy draw weight bow there is a danger that the shoulder will creep up as you draw, and that is hard to prevent.
If you have access to a very light draw weight bow, use that to get used to keeping the shoulder down throughout the draw.
If not. get some stretch cord and make a stretchy string for your normal bow. Use that, which feels easy to pull, to get used to drawing while making sure the shoulder stays down throughout the draw. As you get better, you can use the stretchy string alongside the proper string. Fit the normal string to the bow first. then fit the stretchy one over it. At nocking point height, connect the normal string to the stretchy string with some string about 30cm long. Now, when you draw the stretchy string, as you approach full draw, the normal string will start to pull as well, adding some weight to the draw.
As you improve, the connecting string can be shortened gradually, adding more tension until you can manage with just the normal draw weight on the proper string alone.
 


Emmadragon

Supporter
Supporter
I agree with Geoff - how do you draw now? I find that executing a slightly high T-draw prevents me from pushing either shoulder up; as I 'drop' the string hand down to where it should be, it 'forces' me to put that shoulder down, and other tends to not have such a problem. And my shoulders really, really do like to be friends with my ears, so I have had to work on it. A coach had me learn to slightly emphasise the shoulder drop as the hand moved down. It started out as a really over-exaggerated movement, just to learn what it felt like, and then got less as I got more used to it. Now I find it's second nature - hands go high, and then shoulders go low (when I say high, I mean level with my nose, so I'm not executing an unsafely high draw at any point).
I was finding that when I drew 'level' with my shoulders, then they would inevitably rise up as I drew back, and then I would very much struggle to get to the full draw length.
 


Windy

New member
Thanks guys for all the advice. Now, another question, how do I prevent the DRAW arm from shrugging up as I expand? Like its still ok as I draw the string, but as I use my back (right scapula) to expand, my right shoulder inevitably shrugs up and I end up squeezing my trapezius instead, leaving little to no room for expansion. What do you guys think about this problem?
 


geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
When you raise the bow, using both arms to reach the "eye level" position, and shrug then lower the bow shoulder , you will find it is natural to press both shoulders down at the same time... like a single action. Arms like to work in pairs,yes?
When you draw, try not to lower your chin and stoop over. Feel like you are bringing that string to your head; not letting the head creep forwards to the string. It's a kind of, "you come to me; I'm not going to you" feeling. As you move the draw forearm back to draw the string, keep the elbow at least level with your draw hand. With the elbow at that level, the shoulders will be getting pushed slightly down, resisting the tendency to lift.
Again, use a light bow so you get it to work easily; then work with a stronger bow. You want to succeed with the principle first, so you can use it well under more taxing conditions.
You wouldn't want to learn how to knock in nails using a sledge hammer.
 


Del the Cat

Well-known member
This is from a field perspective not target.
Sounds to me like you are letting your bow arm be passive and it's getting pulled back and up into your shoulder. Push out with your bow hand (and down and out with your shoulder), drawing a bow isn't done with just the left hand/arm. Try inflating the chest too.
Or putting it very simply...
"Stop it!"
Del
I don't claim any of this is right, clever or funny (well maybe the last bit is funny)
 


Timid Toad

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Del I love that you have the somewhat ominous "Well-known member" label under your avatar... I have no idea where that has come from!
 


Whitehart

Well-known member
Problems with front and back shoulder alignment it sounds like you are overbowed. This is stopping you from shooting in a relaxed matter.
 


Hawkmoon

Member
To keep your bow arm shoulder down you need to use (i think) the Latissimus dorsi and or the Serratus antierior (spelling for both is suspect), basically if you sit up straight and put you right hand under you left armpit and the move it down towards your hip you will feel just round towards the back of your ribs, a muscle group and if you contact these it will pull your shoulder down (they are the ones that make you unch when someone tickles your ribs. If you practice contracting these while doing reversals it will soon become a natural part of your shot cycle and keep your shoulder from coming up to start with.
 


Windy

New member
When you raise the bow, using both arms to reach the "eye level" position, and shrug then lower the bow shoulder , you will find it is natural to press both shoulders down at the same time... like a single action. Arms like to work in pairs,yes?
When you draw, try not to lower your chin and stoop over. Feel like you are bringing that string to your head; not letting the head creep forwards to the string. It's a kind of, "you come to me; I'm not going to you" feeling. As you move the draw forearm back to draw the string, keep the elbow at least level with your draw hand. With the elbow at that level, the shoulders will be getting pushed slightly down, resisting the tendency to lift.
Again, use a light bow so you get it to work easily; then work with a stronger bow. You want to succeed with the principle first, so you can use it well under more taxing conditions.
You wouldn't want to learn how to knock in nails using a sledge hammer.
Thank you! I will try this with a band. Also, i agree with ur analogy, well said.
 


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