Muscles - Main muscle use   Back to "What to train"
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Muscle use during the draw
Anatomical muscle map
More detailed drawings and identification of upper body musculature.
Main muscles used during draw Top
The diagrams below give a schematic of the main muscles used during the draw. For simplicity, many are left out, particularly the finger flexors and rotator cuff, both of which do a lot of work.
Front view


The Deltoid is the main muscle lifting the bow arm. The shoulder joint is stabilised and held in place by the various rotator cuff muscles (not shown).
The main thing to notice is that the bicep - the large muscle on the front of the upper arm - is not a primary mover for a good draw, though there's no doubt that it can, and often does, come into play to keep the string close to the aiming line. That can be useful to retain line and to reduce stress on the posterior deltoid.


Back view Deltoid Trapezius Trapezius Deltoid (r) Rhomboids Latissimus dorsi (r)
  Round the back is where most of the action happens. Both deltoids are in action, as these (the posterior, or rear, parts) hold the bow arm back and draw back the drawing arm. The bow arm trapezius and smaller rhomboids hold the bow arm scapula down and in, while the drawing arm scapula is drawn in and down from its starting positions by the same muscles on the drawing side. The large muscle shown half-coloured on the drawing arm side is the latissimus dorsi, which may assist the drawing arm retraction.