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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been thinking a lot about this lately, especially after seeing so many videos. I tried to make a video, but couldn't upload it from my phone due to file size. I have one that is horrible footage already in photobucket I will post, sorry in advance for the poor lighting. Ok so let's talk about getting your "Back" into the shot, or executing the shot with your "Back". We have all heard you should not be pulling with your arms. Is that a myth, cause I see a lot of guys doing it.
1. What muscle is flexed to move the scalpula to execute the shot? Rhomboid.
2. The scalpula should move "down" and inward towards the spine? I hear this is true, but can't see how it can move down if your only using your rhomboid muscle?


Note this muscle attaches upward of shoulder blade, so it cannot pull downward and inward. Guys that feel it move downward are engaging their lat's.



I'm not sure if the guys who came up with back tension are using multiple muscle groups, or maybe not realizing they are and are calling them by the wrong name? I've never heard of using your lat's to execute the shot, but how else do you explain the downward motion many talk about? I sure don't feel any downward motion when I engage my rhomboid muscle.

3. A formaster will show if your using your back? False, it will only show if your relaxing/collapsing after the shot.

I have figured out a way to demonstrate if your really only executing the shot with your rhomboid, or if your pulling with your arm. You could be doing both. Let's look at that rhomboid picture above, how far do you suppose it can contract and move the shoulder blade? 1", 2",10"? Every body is different, so you will have to test yourself and see. Stand facing a mirror, then turn your head and draw your imaginary bow and anchor. Now only flex your rhomboid to pull your scalpula inward. Your string hand will move, how far did it move? Go back to anchor and repeat a few times and note in mirror how far it's moving. Are you only engaging your rhomboid, or are you pulling your arm around? Can you feel your rhomboid knot up and stop moving? If you can't, your not engaging it. Mine personally doesn't move more then 2-3". That distance would put my string hand by my cheek/ear. Where does yours end up? Ok, so now that you have this position figured out(your max travel), how does your hand end up further back after you execute the shot(if it does)? The only plausible answer is your inducing arm muscles to extend its travel. Should we be engaging arm muscles, or should it truly be back muscles only, or a combination of both? If you are touching your shoulder as a conclusion, you are inducing different muscles to do that. Is that good or bad? Can you induce that the same every time? Is that a variable that you shouldn't really be adding? The dead release "should" be the most accurate, since the less movement from anchor you do, the better. However the dead release can allow collapsing, so many avoid it for that reason. So the next best thing would be pulling with the rhomboid only, since we tested it and found its travel is short, but long enough to pull through a strong shot.
That's a lot of typing on a phone, more later.
What's your thoughts/comments?
 

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Ken

Personally - let me say that again - personally - I'm not sure if I move anything at all. Yes I think "engage your back" and yes I can feel it tighten but I have the hardest time getting a clicker to go off.

I've watched up close and personal some of our best barebow guys and if they weren't using a clicker I saw zero movement.

Now Sandy McCain is pretty darn cool to watch - you can see her scapula slide as she expands.

The way I personally have wrapped my head around it is this. I aim until I'm happy then I engage my back. I don't think my changing arm angle pulls my fingers off I think the feeling of tension in my rhomboids triggers my fingers to relax like the sound of a clicker.

But honestly I'm shooting well so I'd rather not think about it - LOL.


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Team Montana - we are coming for your quarters ;-)
 

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I can't feel a darn thing,,,and I must of read everything ever written about back tension.

So what I do is just follow the coaches directions and he tells me if I'm doing it right or not.
That way I don't have to think about it.
Don't think, just do.

Somebody might of said that already ;^)

John.
 

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Watch this woman carefully:


You'll see that yes she is using rhomboids. Hard to tell if is she is pulling scapula down due to the shirt. Note that at conclusion, which seems to be touching the back of her neck, triceps bulge. You can't draw a bow and get follow through without using some arm muscle recruitment. However you'll note that she doesn't do the "grand flourish" follow through and conclusion. Honestly I have yet to see in real life a single person who shoots well and does so consistently who uses the 'grand flourish" that so many have convinced themselves that that is how "real" Oly shooters do it. They seem to just be fooling themselves.

I have been "accused" of shooting dead release, but really the hand does come back, just not real far, maybe an inch or less. Its just that amount that I get from my back (rhomboids I guess) moving when the load is released. Admittedly a dangerously short follow through, and all my attempts to find a conclusion point have been disastrous. WAAAYYY too much conscious effort, and extra muscle recruitment, and unnecessary movement. I simply have to rely on reaching out to the target to be my expansion, and feeling my hand drag across my face is my follow through, and the arrow strike is my conclusion.

So you can make of that what you will. I keep it pretty minimal. A bunch of extra stuff going on, not a good thing for me.
 

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ryan brodrick
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You're completely forgetting about the trapezius.

Remember that the scapula and clavicle are basically one unit and the humerus is stuck in the side of it;) so it's hard to see exactly what is going on and what tensions (ie which muscles) are doing what in a statically loaded posture (anchor). This isn't even taking slight co-contraction of other musculature into account.

Also, you can't just "use your rhomboids" the body doesn't work that way. Giving the coaching cue of "use your rhomboids" might work but it's really your conscious choice to move your scapula that gets things going.

Any sport science study that has been done with high level archers basically concluded that they all recruited different muscles in different patterns. .. Basically after thousands of hours of research and study, science discovers .. There's more than one way to skin a cat;)

The "big flourish" is a continuation of tensions created during the shot process, followed to their natural conclusions. If you're forcing the conclusion then you didn't have the tensions right in the first place. And it's not fake or phoney either. All those target shooters aren't faking anything to look neat. You can't compare what most trad folks are doing to experienced shooters.

And muscles don't flex. Joints flex. Muscles contract.

This is a difficult topic without basic understanding of functional anatomy. I would suggest a basic book in movement mechanics such as a functional kinesiology text.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here is a video of coach Kim demonstrating to coach Christian the proper movement of release. This is the movement I get when just using my rhomboid muscle(short/straight back). I realize there are many ways to skin a cat, just wanting to talk about the various methods.


Rednef, sounds like you and I are on the same page.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You're completely forgetting about the trapezius.

Remember that the scapula and clavicle are basically one unit and the humerus is stuck in the side of it;) so it's hard to see exactly what is going on and what tensions (ie which muscles) are doing what in a statically loaded posture (anchor). This isn't even taking slight co-contraction of other musculature into account.

Also, you can't just "use your rhomboids" the body doesn't work that way. Giving the coaching cue of "use your rhomboids" might work but it's really your conscious choice to move your scapula that gets things going.
Any sport science study that has been done with high level archers basically concluded that they all recruited different muscles in different patterns. .. Basically after thousands of hours of research and study, science discovers .. There's more than one way to skin a cat;)

The "big flourish" is a continuation of tensions created during the shot process, followed to their natural conclusions. If you're forcing the conclusion then you didn't have the tensions right in the first place. And it's not fake or phoney either. All those target shooters aren't faking anything to look neat. You can't compare what most trad folks are doing to experienced shooters.

And muscles don't flex. Joints flex. Muscles contract.

This is a difficult topic without basic understanding of functional anatomy. I would suggest a basic book in movement mechanics such as a functional kinesiology text.
Why cant I just flex my Rhomboid, I can flex my bicep/tricep/chest/any muscle I choose. Isnt this refered to as isometric or static contraction? While I cant disagree with you that other muscles might be recruited, I can for sure feel the rhomboid bunch or knot up and then I have no more travel.

As for the conclusion, there are several ways that show up in the big shoots, and I can mimick any of them. If I had the same coach as them, or one that referenced them, would he not teach me that hand motion? I believe Rod is teaching a "touch" conclusion. What we are seeing I believe is trained movement, not "just what happens".
 

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ryan brodrick
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I'm not trying to be a D either. You're just not going to figure it out by cherry picking (intentional or not) terms and muscle actions. It's literally almost impossible to define exactly what's going on using functional terms. It's why so many people and coaches and systems use terms like "reach your bow arm shoulder towards the target", "bring your entire shoulder and back AROUND your spine" or " use a SCOOPING feeling to set your bow arm shoulder and elbow" etc. Or sometimes coaches will just poke you and say "move to this place". Even using the cue "flex your rhomboids" might very well elicit the right response but I guarantee you it's not from you mentally trying to flex your rhomboids. All of these cues evoke a myriad of recruitment patterns. Some cues work, others won't; It's athlete dependent. Also understand that as technique (any technique) is being learned then, as a rule, it's going to be less efficient than ideal. This happens because you end up using other muscles that aren't needed or using muscles too actively. "The balanced shot" comes to mind. It's a feel thing. I wouldn't worry about defining the system because NO ONE has been able to do it perfectly yet. Listen to good shooters when they describe feelings or positions and see if you can use any of the cues. If you can start to figure yourself out (I like Matt's descriptions) then you're going to have better luck then trying to decipher an entire body of technical work while simultaneously trying to lay the template over all archers.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm not trying to be a D either. You're just not going to figure it out by cherry picking (intentional or not) terms and muscle actions. It's literally almost impossible to define exactly what's going on using functional terms. It's why so many people and coaches and systems use terms like "reach your bow arm shoulder towards the target", "bring your entire shoulder and back AROUND your spine" or " use a SCOOPING feeling to set your bow arm shoulder and elbow" etc. Or sometimes coaches will just poke you and say "move to this place". Even using the cue "flex your rhomboids" might very well elicit the right response but I guarantee you it's not from you mentally trying to flex your rhomboids. All of these cues evoke a myriad of recruitment patterns. Some cues work, others won't; It's athlete dependent. Also understand that as technique (any technique) is being learned then, as a rule, it's going to be less efficient than ideal. This happens because you end up using other muscles that aren't needed or using muscles too actively. "The balanced shot" comes to mind. It's a feel thing. I wouldn't worry about defining the system because NO ONE has been able to do it perfectly yet. Listen to good shooters when they describe feelings or positions and see if you can use any of the cues. If you can start to figure yourself out (I like Matt's descriptions) then you're going to have better luck then trying to decipher an entire body of technical work while simultaneously trying to lay the template over all archers.
So are you saying I shouldnt be thinking about a specific muscle, just pull the string till the clicker goes off? Or are you saying I should think about moving the scalpula and whatever muscle(s) do that will move it? I dont think your being a "D", I appreciate your input.
 

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ryan brodrick
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Kenn, you're just using the wrong terms and it muddies the waters. You're using technically defining terms in the wrong way. But I know what you mean so I get what you're saying. The cue was the when you described "bunching up" and "no where else to go". I'd guess that if you stop just about a 1/4" before you have no where else to go (you'll be at anchor and aiming) and then go the rest of the way you will be expanding properly (given bow arm is good etc) and if you then just keep focusing your tensions in that same direction, your arm is going to fly back on release.

What I think is happening in your description is Your scapula has reached its end range if motion in the plane you are moving it in. And I'll bet dollars to dimes That's your trapezius you feel bulging up not your rhomboids. Your rhomboids ARE active but they're not doing all the work.

If your scapula is protracted (kinda slid around the side of your rib cage) and you leave it there as you draw your humerus must move to get the string back. If you do it right then the muscles that act in your humerus AND your scapula will be working and moving. How much so, when and where depends on more things than I can discuss lol.

Someone else mentioned the winging scapula look., this isn't proper either. It's due to a weakness in serratus anterior that allows the scapula to peel up and away from the torso. Caveat: plenty of good shooters have this weakness and shoot just fine but it's not an ideal situation and there are very basic remedial exercises you can do to deal with it (plan on it changing your form-feeling probably..)
 

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ryan brodrick
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In order for you to "flex your biceps or chest or whatever" what you're brain is really doing is moving bones or trying to move in multiple directions at once (co contracting). You're almost always going to have better luck envisioning moving bones than contracting certain musculature. Also, when you say you feel your bicep there are also about 10-20 other muscles firing with the same intensity (if you "flex" real hard). You're just choosing to acknowledge one of them.

I'm kind of a nerd about movement mechanics and muscles but I have learned that it really is best to define things in terms of movement, not muscle contraction, when teaching or explaining technique. You may discuss " the tension in your tricep" of your bow arm but making maximal tension in your tricep will come from attempting to hyperextend your elbow and you don't want that. The cue " reach and scoop towards the target" will result in better motor patterns (technique). Once you have the tensions right them you can focus on keeping or continuing towards a position to keep the muscles contracting properly. Again, focusing on bone movement ;not individual muscles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Kenn, you're just using the wrong terms and it muddies the waters. You're using technically defining terms in the wrong way.
:lol: To somebody with your experience Im sure Im muddying the waters with my explanation. Kinda like my wife describing what the car was doing just before it broke down. :lol: Im focusing on that area, lets put it that way. :D Without a bow in my hand, I hit anchor and then focus on movement in that area and it stops my string hand after a few inches and cant go any further. When I shoot and focus the same way, my hand only goes back a few inches and then stops. Now I can change my focus to include pulling with my arms and not that area and my hand flys back and I get no limit of motion in that scalpula area. And as I said, if all the winners were ending with flipping the bird and their hand was over their head, I could do that as well. The only hand motion I cannot duplicate is the fly swat by Rick Welch. :lol:
 

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ryan brodrick
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Oh and you're looking for efficiency; not relaxation. Your mind will be relaxed and you won't be contracting in needed muscles but there should be definite feels of tension lines cries crossing all over your body. The shot is active. I like to think that I'm compressing a big coil spring in the directions I'm cueing. If I relax or get out of alignment then the spring will shoot out from under itself. At release the springs basically disappear but my body moves as if I still had them pinned down. It's a natural reaction. A result of something else.

In JPs video he starts compressing the spring really well but then his humerus rotates and he in effect let's the tension off that spring/angle. If he keeps "pushing the spring down" with the area of his upper arm (LAN 2 for kisik lee fans.. I hate the technical description but it works lol) then his release will look more like Steve m. He's got the scapular tensions correct but he's letting his arm relax too much IMO and he just happens to be strong enough to do it ( too much of his protein supplements;)
 

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Do you guys ever get the feeling that many people get so absorbed in trying to move this or feel that and just flat out forget to shoot. Between chasing the perfect tune and the perfect shot is there any room to just relax and shoot?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Oh and you're looking for efficiency; not relaxation. Your mind will be relaxed and you won't be contracting in needed muscles but there should be definite feels of tension lines cries crossing all over your body. The shot is active. I like to think that I'm compressing a big coil spring in the directions I'm cueing. If I relax or get out of alignment then the spring will shoot out from under itself. At release the springs basically disappear but my body moves as if I still had them pinned down. It's a natural reaction. A result of something else.

In JPs video he starts compressing the spring really well but then his humerus rotates and he in effect let's the tension off that spring/angle. If he keeps "pushing the spring down" with the area of his upper arm (LAN 2 for kisik lee fans.. I hate the technical description but it works lol) then his release will look more like Steve m. He's got the scapular tensions correct but he's letting his arm relax too much IMO and he just happens to be strong enough to do it ( too much of his protein supplements;)
So JP should hold the tension and imagine pushing his humorus and scalpula down as one unit?
 

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. Again, focusing on bone movement ;not individual muscles.
The KSL technique talks a lot about muscle use... getting muscle 'X' to work. The Koreans don't work like this. They talk about moving bones. Easier to illicit the movement that way.

Make sure your scapula's are set low and that when you transfer you transfer fully. If you do that you can gain extra scapula movement.

Maybe that's not a technically accurate description but I know if I draw without 'letting the weight down' I won't get the same scapular movement as if I do
 
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Do you guys ever get the feeling that many people get so absorbed in trying to move this or feel that and just flat out forget to shoot. Between chasing the perfect tune and the perfect shot is there any room to just relax and shoot?

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There's a quote from a famous ballet dancer that I apply to many things:
(probably paraphrased, I forget the exact quote)

"Perfect technique, then forget about it and be natural"
 

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ryan brodrick
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this is hard with no video or not being in person.

pushing the scapula down is relative to where it was to begin with. some people actually shoot with a very hyper extended spine, scapula completely depressed and still partially protracted. to this archer you would not want to cue with "pull your scap down as they are already too far down". JP isnt doing this in my opinion.

something like: first your scap starts coming around towards your spine, then your humerus comes back like youre bringing your elbow "back around behind you", then at some point your scap and humerus move more or less as one unit (LAN 2 moves). finally you might have a little bit more humerus movement as you anchor. all the while keeping tension and purpose in moving the humeral scapular unit (LAN 2)..pushing down the coiled spring..expansion.

i think jp has it all and then when he fiddles with anchor he lets off on some tension in the LAN2 but continues to have good scap tensions. you can shoot bows like this btw;)

the rigid form strap (a simple belt) is an AMAZING tool to feel these tensions. it helps you get the feeling of being "inside the bow", "setting the barrel of the gun" and really lets you see and feel what movement can happen without the need of continuing to increase your draw length.

mini-band (therapy band)
rigid form strap
light weight pvc bow you can dry fire that duplicates your string angle or a REALLY light bow.

if you use your same bow weight that youve been shooting thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of shots with its going to be very hard to learn new technique. as a matter of fact youll have to unlearn old technique first and that is a royal pain in the ass.

i coach people in basic weightlifting techniques a lot and one thing i always talk about when modifying someones squat technique is "alright, we arent going to change your old squat technique. you can keep that in the tool box if you want. what we are going to do is have you do a "power squat" or "russian squat" or "blueberry bananna squat".. call it anything but the thing you are familiar with. this is a new squat pattern"
we start with very little or no weight and program form (corrections) from the get go. strength has very little to do with anything during this phase. ive had guys who could squat 600lbs be suffering with 135lbs on the bar if they arent willing to let go of their old programming. actually using the "normal" weight just ensures they are going to use deeply ingrained motor patterns and thats where most of the problem is in the first place.
 

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ryan brodrick
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Do you guys ever get the feeling that many people get so absorbed in trying to move this or feel that and just flat out forget to shoot. Between chasing the perfect tune and the perfect shot is there any room to just relax and shoot?

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for some people improvement is relaxing.

just pulling back and relaxing and shooting is what got these guys (myself included) into the mess they are in. its why they are stuck. practicing the wrong thing 50,000 times will do that to a guy;)

that being said, Jon, information is not knowledge. The main reason i dont like to attempt to wax intellectual about this is becaue it doesnt really help anything unless the other person knows the terms (like Ken said about car engines). sometimes to fix a car engine you could just tell someone to "take that thing and turn it til its tight" but other times youre gonna want to be able to discuss things more critically. i think thats what everyone is trying to do here. but your point is well taken and i tend to agree with it.:cheers:
 
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