The Value of Back Tension

The Value of Back Tension

The term back tension, commonly used by serious archers, merely describes the use of the muscles of the back, rather than the muscles of the arms, to hold the bowstring at full draw. When you use back tension, you'll hold steadier because the back muscles are larger and stronger than the arm muscles, and because they're positioned closer to the spine, they are more stable.

When using proper back tension, you should feel as if you're trying to squeeze a dollar bill between your shoulder blades at full draw.


A good way to demonstrate back tension is to get into the full-draw position without a bow. Have someone stand in front of you and grab your elbows and try to pull them together. Try hard to resist. Since you've removed the arm muscles from the equation, the back muscles alone are preventing you from collapsing.


This demonstration also illustrates how your arms and, more importantly, your hands, can re-main relaxed during the shot.

One thing that might help you develop solid back tension is to move your release elbow slightly up and back. This transfers the holding weight from the arm to the back muscles. If you're pulling right, your shoulder blades will come together and your shirt will be loose across your back at full draw.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mountain Caribou Hunt

Mountain Caribou Hunt

Curt Wells can't pass up this opportunity to hunt mountain caribou in the Northwest Territories.

Release Arm Alignment

Release Arm Alignment

On this edition of "Dead On," pro archer Randy Ulmer shows you how to properly align your release arm.

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 9: Wild Turkey Explosion

2018 Bowhunter TV Episode 9: Wild Turkey Explosion

Curt Wells provides color commentary on some of the team's best turkey hunts, including this one with his grandson in Kansas.

Texas Hog and Whitetail Hunt

Texas Hog and Whitetail Hunt

Bowhunter TV Editor Derek Mleynek sets up for some hog and whitetail hunting at Canyon Ranch in Texas.

Trending Articles

Here's how to choose vanes that will yield the best accuracy, forgiveness, and trajectory. Arrows & Broadheads

What Are the Best Vanes For Hunting?

Joe Bell

Here's how to choose vanes that will yield the best accuracy, forgiveness, and trajectory.

New year, new look at your whitetail ground How-To

Summer Scouting from Scratch

Tony J. Peterson

New year, new look at your whitetail ground

Black bear meat is dark and rich, and delicious ground up in this Pâté chaud recipe. Recipes

Vietnamese Black Bear Pté Chaud (Meat Pie) Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Black bear meat is dark and rich, and delicious ground up in this Pâté chaud recipe.

Advances in rangefinding devices have helped bowhunters immensely. Scouting Tools

Advancements in Rangefinder Technology Through the Years

Chuck Adams

Advances in rangefinding devices have helped bowhunters immensely.

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

A micro project could enhance the action. How-To

Small Prescribed Burns for Your Treestand Locations

C.J. Winand

A micro project could enhance the action.

Experience your best shooting by following this three-pronged approach. How-To

3 Steps For Shooting Accuracy and Confidence

Joe Bell

Experience your best shooting by following this three-pronged approach.

Taking long-distance shots at big-game animals has become acceptable, but here's why it isn't the ethical choice. Conservation

Is it Ethical to Take Long-Distance Bowhunting Shots?

Curt Wells

Taking long-distance shots at big-game animals has become acceptable, but here's why it isn't...

Learn more about aerial photography and its importance to the whitetail bowhunter! How-To

Deer from Above: Aerial Photography for Bowhunting

Tony J. Peterson

Learn more about aerial photography and its importance to the whitetail bowhunter!

See More How-To

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.