If you’re familiar with shooting a bow and arrow, you know that your shoulders get a major workout in the process. Along with the forearms, biceps, triceps and back, the shoulders help you draw your bow, steady your arrows and fire with greater power and accuracy. That’s why it’s important to keep them strong and healthy through regular exercise. By keeping them in good condition, you’ll not only improve your skills with the bow, you’ll also ward off painful injuries in the process.
Alternating Deltoid Raise
The alternating deltoid raise is one of the most popular moves for generating a killer shoulder burn. By isolating the shoulders, these raises break down the muscle fibers and allow your body to build them up stronger after the workout is over. Also called front and side raises, the moves are easy enough for a beginner, but can be as challenging as you want to make them, depending on the weight you use. Simply pick up a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Start with the dumbbells at your sides and then raise them outward until your arms are parallel with the ground. Lower the weights and repeat the motion in front of you instead of to the side. Lower and repeat for three sets of 10 reps.
Bow and Arrow
The name says it all. According to “Shape Magazine,” the exercise called bow and arrow targets the muscles in your shoulders and upper back, developing the arms and upper body to handle the demands of archery. The bow and arrow exercise gets its name from its motion. Standing with your feet together, grab a pair of dumbbells and extend both arms out in front of you. Pull one arm back like you’re aiming a bow and then do the same for the other arm, contracting the shoulder and back muscles with each move. Try for 15 reps on each side.
Dumbbell Arnold Press
Don’t worry. Your arms won’t look like Schwarzenegger’s just because you do this move, but they will develop better shoulder strength. According to the Exercise Directory, the dumbbell Arnold press should focus on shoulder abduction and minimize forearm pronation for the best results. Either stand or sit with a pair of dumbbells held at your chest, palms facing your body. Keeping your elbows bent, bring the dumbbells out to the side and press the weights to the ceiling. As you bring the dumbbells out to the side, you should rotate your arms so your palms face forward at the top of the move. Return to the starting position and repeat for three sets of 10.
Standing Upright Rows
Whether you’re using dumbbells, a bar, a plate or resistance bands, you will get a great shoulder workout with upright rows. Not only do these moves work the shoulders, they also work the biceps and traps, which are active parts of your archery mechanics. Hold the weights in your hands and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Your arms are down in front of you, hands near your upper thigh. Brace the muscles of your core and lift the weight straight up toward your chin so your elbows are pointing out to the sides. Lower and repeat for three sets of 10.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.