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Archery and Muscles. By: Tina Reggio, Ashton Leone, Loretta Roddy, Maxie Groh, and Kimi Lew. Archery is the art, sport, or skill of shooting with a bow and arrow.

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Archery and Muscles

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Archery and Muscles

By: Tina Reggio, Ashton Leone, Loretta Roddy, Maxie Groh, and Kimi Lew


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Archery is the art, sport, or skill of shooting with a bow and arrow.


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Shooting a bow and arrow just like any other sport, is a total body activity that requires the muscles of the legs, trunk, and upper body to execute the shoot.


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  • Archery involves primarily upper body muscles in the arms, shoulders, and back.


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Muscle Groups Used While Shooting a Bow and Arrow

  • To draw the bow: the upper back and shoulder muscles

  • To control the draw arm: the upper and lower shoulder muscles

  • To extend the bow arm: the arm muscles

  • To hold the bowstring: the finger muscles

  • To provide balance and stability: the abdominals and lower back muscles


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Primary Muscles of the Shoulders and Upper Back

  • The rhomboids

  • The levator scapulae

  • The trapezius

  • The deltoids

  • The latissimus dorsi

  • The rotator cuff muscle group, which includes the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and teres minor. 


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  • The rhomboids are two deep muscles of the back used to create back tension

  • The retract pull the shoulder blades toward the spine

  • The levator scapulae then pulls the shoulder blade inward and upward toward the base of the neck

  • The rhomboids, levator scapulae, and trapezius are the major muscle groups used for back tension and, when used correctly, are responsible for holding the bow back at full draw


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  • The deltoid is a thick superficial muscle covering the top of the shoulder. It is divided into the anterior, middle, and posterior deltoids .

  • The posterior deltoid is used in extending the arm backward and is one of the most important muscles used in pulling the bow back to full draw.

  • The middle deltoid, on the other hand, lifts the arm out to the side. It is the primary muscle that holds the bow arm straight and steady during full draw.

  • The anterior deltoid helps to raise the arm forward and is used in the initial phase of lifting the bow arm.


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  • The latissimus dorsi is the largest muscle of the back. It extends from the pelvis to the mid-back and attaches on the arm. The main function is to pull the arm to the side, extend the arm backward, and also rotate the arm inward.

  • During the drawing motion, the "lats" aid the posterior deltoid in extending the drawing arm backward and also rotating the arm inward.

  • On the side of the bow arm, the lats help the middle deltoid stabilize the bow arm into the shoulder joint for increased stability.


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  • The biceps group is responsible for flexing or bending the elbow as well as helping to lift the arm forward. They assist the posterior deltoid in pulling the drawing arm backward during the draw phase. 

  • The triceps muscles extend the elbow and shoulder and are used mainly on the bow arm to push the bow to full extension during the draw phase. 


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