A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Get your body ready for bow hunting

archery target with many arrows in the bullseye

Tune up your body to jumpstart an injury-free bow hunting season. Start you fitness pre-conditioning before you sight-in your bow.

Tuning up your bow can give you a jump on preparing for bow hunting. Tuning up your body can jumpstart an injury-free bow hunting season.

If you’re an avid bow hunter, fitness pre-conditioning for hunting season should start before you sight-in your bow.

Bow-sighting usually requires practice time that can cause shoulder aches and pains. Counteract this by understanding some body mechanics and adding shoulder stretches and strengthening exercises to your fitness routine.

Arms, shoulders and legs make the shot

To draw a bow, one arm is your bow arm and the other is your draw arm. If you’re right-handed, the bow arm is your left arm.

When practicing your shot, your focus needs to be on both arms and your feet.


Your feet should be shoulder-width apart with your foot on the bow arm side, slightly forward. This stance should feel comfortable and balanced.


With your bow arm, raise the bow until it’s parallel with the ground. Draw back the bow in a smooth continuous manner, while simultaneously pushing your bow arm forward. Using your back muscles to draw back the bow will put less stress on your forearm and biceps.

When drawing a bow, your draw arm activates your:

  • Rotator cuff – muscles and tendons protecting the shoulder joint
  • Biceps – front upper arm muscles
  • Deltoids – shoulder muscles
  • Trapezius, latissimus dorsi and rhomboids – back muscles

At the same time, your bow arm also activates your rotator cuff, triceps, which are back upper arm muscles, and deltoids.

Get fit to get ready

Shoulder muscle irritation and tendonitis can develop with too much practice too soon. Proper warm-up, stretching and strengthening exercises before you shoot your bow can make a difference.  Start slowly and gradually increase your practice time and resistance settings on your bow.

You can increase your strength and flexibility with this video on shoulder conditioning stretches and exercises.

Pace yourself to avoid overuse injuries and allow time for recovery.

This post provided by Sports Wrap, from Marshfield Clinic Sports Medicine.

  1. Jan 8, 2018
    • Jan 8, 2018

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