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Thread: Back tension

  1. #1
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    Back tension

    I'm trying to work on one thing at a time with my form but I'm kind of stuck on the concept of using back tension. It's just not really clicking with me. Anyone have a 'Back Tension for Dummies' kinda layout that might work for me? I'm not even sure where to begin. I was looking at getting the Formaster as a lot of people gave it the thumbs up but at $40 it will be a couple of weeks before I get one. I've already exceeded my monthly archery allotment and the wife's not budging on this one!

    Any help with this would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    I did a little video to show an excellent tool for this:


  3. #3
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    I saw that video and that's exactly what tipped me in favor of getting the Formaster. Will make that purchase next month. Any tips on what to work on till I get it? How do I even start using back tension and how can I tell if I'm using it correctly?

    The video was great, you deserve a big thanks for putting that together.

  4. #4
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    No gimmick can assist you in using/maintaining proper back tension until you first know the why's and hows of implementing back tension.

  5. #5
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    I don't intend to rely on a gimmick and that's my point; I don't know the why's and hows and want to learn them. I hear a lot of talk about back tension on this forum and elsewhere but don't really have a concept of how to actually use it. I have no problem spending $40 on the formaster if I can first get a grip on what back tension is. Honestly, my original post had less to do with the Formaster and more to do with 'what exactly is back tension'?

  6. #6
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    If you have access to any place where there are two bars of some kind in a vertical alignment (think about a barred window or cell), you can get the feeling of back tension by grabbing each bar and trying to wrench them outward away from one another. Using a heavy dumbbell (heavier than your standard draw weight), you can also get the sense of the muscles involved by doing bent rows and trying to hold hard at the top of the movement. This is also one of the most useful movements for increasing your ability to draw a heavier bow, too. Work both hands equally, though. We don't need to be misshapen, like the archers of antiquity. Strengthening your bow arm can also be accomplished well by a move called a side planque. Think about being in a push-up position, then rotating 90 degrees and supporting yourself on one arm. If you have bow arm shakes, this might build up the static strength to overcome them.

    This is probably slightly off topic, but I thought it might be useful.

    Cheers,

    Patrick
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  7. #7
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    I'll tell you what I do and I don't know if its the right thing or the right way but it works for me. I draw back and anchor, then I draw my right elbow around behind me making the shoulder blades move toward each other. This increases your DL by an inch or so and gives you that push--pull effect. When I get to that position I start aiming. If I keep the pressure on and don't relax and creep or let panic set in at the bullseye.....I'm there with my arrow. I know istantly if I've relaxed on the draw. When I do my part with the push --Pull, I have good results.....if I creep or release when my bow arm is moving, I'm in trouble with my shot......
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  8. #8
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    Here's a thought that may help you. There is no such thing as a release, you use back tension to pull your fingers off the string. Don't stop pulling. Once you stop it's very, v e r y... very hard to reengage the rhomboids. "Pull hard, pull harder, you can't pull too hard." Rod Jenkins.

  9. #9
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    Bowmania, are you saying that you don't ever pause at your anchor? You hit your anchor continue pulling and release? Hard to really wrap my head around that till I get out to the range and give that a try. Thanks for the advice all, lots of fodder for tomorrow's day at the range (with, hopefully, my now bow).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bowmania View Post
    Here's a thought that may help you. There is no such thing as a release, you use back tension to pull your fingers off the string. Don't stop pulling. Once you stop it's very, v e r y... very hard to reengage the rhomboids. "Pull hard, pull harder, you can't pull too hard." Rod Jenkins.
    Thats what I was refering to if I relax at full back tension draw. If I don't keep that pressure there with my back tension I get bad results at the target. When I release pulling back with my back muscles, the arrow heads for the bullseye or the 5 ring......I know how to do it and I know now what it takes so all I have to do is work on making that a habit.......Its really neat to know what has to be done to score.....Its the same for a golfer, until you know what its like to hit a golf ball from the inside out and feel that delayed hit, you can never know how to really enjoy the game......same with archery....
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinsheet View Post
    Bowmania, are you saying that you don't ever pause at your anchor? You hit your anchor continue pulling and release? Hard to really wrap my head around that till I get out to the range and give that a try. Thanks for the advice all, lots of fodder for tomorrow's day at the range (with, hopefully, my now bow).
    thats not what I do. I can hold for 5 or 6 seconds at full draw but you have to keep the pressure so that when you release, you are pulling straight back from the release and not outward (plucking). It imperative that you NOT relax and then creep......... but releasing prematurally before anchoring is, I don't think what he meant.....
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  12. #12
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    squeeze your shoulder blades together - also - the formaster is not a "gimmick" it is a tool that is used by the best archers in the world - including olympic archers - in fact - I learned about the formaster from John Magera - member of the US Olympic Archery team. He used to post on this and many other trad forums as "limbwalker" - but he, along with many other truly great archers no longer post in these forums - one must wonder why.



  13. #13
    Apparently, it’s difficult to put in words, which will effectively describe and communicate what back tension is and what it feels like. Here’s picture of the rhomboids. You have to learn how to flex the rhomboid major at will, and keep it pulling/contracting until you go to conclusion.

    Perhaps if you can see where it is, you can isolate yours, and practice flexing it.

    Larry Skinner has a video that is the very best I’ve seen with regards to using your muscle groups during the shot sequence. It may be worth-your-while to consider getting it.
    Form is everything.

  14. #14
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    Ranger B and Steve Morely; "Front and Center!"

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Casto Jr View Post
    Apparently, it’s difficult to put in words, which will effectively describe and communicate what back tension is and what it feels like.
    Awwww....communication. I agree

    Even though we all speak and are typing in what appears to be English ...we sometimes have a hard time expressing ourselves or understanding what others are saying

    A few terms that people use to understand back tension.

    Squeeze. Pull. Flex. Pinch. Conclude.

    Whatever word an archer chooses...it's a good idea to know where those muscles are so they can feel it in the right spot.

    I sometimes get a kick out of how some archers make a big deal about NOT using the term 'releasing the string' and rather choose another word to decribe what we are doing.

    The point is...find a word that helps you understand whatever it is you are trying to understand and use whatever that word may be.

    There are different techniques and training tools that may help. Not everyone will learn it exactly the same. The key is to find one that works for the specific archer.

    Here's another picture for us...bigger guys

    Ray
    Attached Images Attached Images

  16. #16
    Thanks for the Pic Jim. Saved it in my archery pic stuff.

    I know a lot of people talk about squeezing the shoulder blades, so it must work and communicate for most people. But when I first tried that I found myself moving my bow shoulder, and it seemed to disrupt my shot. For me personally, I try to relax the hand and forearm, and think about rotating the elbow of the draw arm behind me. It seems to me (not an expert) like the majority of the pulling needs to be from the rhomboid of the draw arm shoulder, and not so much both simultaneously.
    Most religions teach that you earn salvation by keeping rules. Jesus didn't teach that "good people" go to heaven. He taught that "forgiven people" go to heaven. And He invited everyone, no matter what their past, to come to Him and be forgiven.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchell View Post
    For me personally, I try to relax the hand and forearm, and think about rotating the elbow of the draw arm behind me. It seems to me (not an expert) like the majority of the pulling needs to be from the rhomboid of the draw arm shoulder, and not so much both simultaneously.
    EXACTLY!

    Ray

  18. #18
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    That is what Al Henderson says about back tension - to just think about keeping your elbow back

  19. #19
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    spin -

    Chapter 13.

    Back tension means you keep pulling back during and more importantly after the release.

    Having someone watch you for elbow rotation is a good check, but since you might not have someone willing to watch you shot after shot, take note of where the string hand ends up after the string works as well.

    Viper1 out.
    “Simple and innocent, however, as it (the bow) appears, and capable as it is of being a trusty friend and ally, a bow is at the same time a watchful enemy, ready to take advantage of the smallest slight.”

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by sharpbroadhead View Post
    That is what Al Henderson says about back tension - to just think about keeping your elbow back
    That may be as good as words can get. If you can think it terms of "keeping" your elbow back, the rhomboid is the muscle doing the work.
    Form is everything.

  21. #21
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    Don't focus too much on back tension, its only part of the story but it gets sold as the 'cure' for everything.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Destroyer View Post
    Don't focus too much on back tension, its only part of the story but it gets sold as the 'cure' for everything.
    Interesting. When I get to "that" point (part of the story) in my shot sequence, it's the only thing I concentrate on.... keeping/maintaining back tension, then going to conclusion.
    Form is everything.

  23. #23
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    when I get to that point in my shot sequence, I am usually thinking about dinner, what I have to do at work the next day, if it looks like rain, and most importantly what the guys on archerytalk would do at this point in their shot sequence -

  24. #24
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    I thought that a rhomboid was located in your butt. Rhomboids do cause a lot of tension.

  25. #25
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    I'll quote a few comments made from a professional archery instructor of over a half a century; " Archers would be better served if they paid more attention to maintaining the bow arm during and after the shot"" A strong bow arm is one that does not collapse, drop. until the arrow has hit the target. Follow through also applies to the string hand". After the release, bring your string hand back to rest on your shoulder.It's a small tip that pays off big by helping you maintain proper alignment with the target during and after the shot. This also helps you keep consistent back tension without thinking about it."

    I find it really interesting he never has mentioned to me "back tension" in the numerous lessons I have had from him. But he certainly talked about the importance of the bow arm and string hand. Hence I've never really thought about it only heard about it. Now, I like his simple approach!

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