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March 7, 2023
Author: Shelby
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  • Star Exercise of the Week: Bow and Arrow

I LOVE this exercise.

It works so many different areas of the upper body all in one motion. 

You can practice this with or without a resistance band, depending if you’re focusing more on progressing range of motion or if you’re keying in on postural strengthening, respectively.

This exercise will allow movement to occur in the following areas:

  • Cervical spine, or neck
  • Thoracic spine, or mid/upper back
  • Scapulae, or shoulder blades
  • Ribs
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows

You can practice this in standing or sitting.

If it’s your first time trying this exercise, you may want to start out without using a resistance band, as it can take a little practice to coordinate this dynamic motion.

Here’s how to do it!

Step 1: Starting Position:

  • Position both arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height, with the palms facing each other.
  • Make sure the shoulders are down and you have a nice, upright posture.


Step 2: Draw Your Bow and Arrow:

  • Allow the elbow on one arm to bend as that arm swings back behind you.
  • The opposite arm will not move.
  • As the moving arm draws back, allow the head, neck and mid/upper back to rotate towards that moving arm.
  • Once at your end range, hold for up to 5 seconds, then return to your starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Continue alternating back and forth between sides for 10 repetitions each direction.


1.   Don’t let the hips move during the Bow and Arrow.

2.   Avoid hiking the shoulders up toward the ears.

3.   Allow yourself to swing into the motion. Avoid too much stiffness or rigidity.

If you plan on trying this with a resistance band, all you have to do is hold the band in both hands and perform the same exact motion that you did above.

Be patient with this one. As mentioned above, it can be a little trick at first with the coordination of the movement, but so worth it once you get the hang of it!

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About the Author Shelby

Shelby Green is a Florida-licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), currently practicing at St. Anthony’s Resource Center Outpatient Rehabilitation in St. Petersburg, FL. Shelby received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of South Florida, followed by her DPT from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. Shelby has 6 years clinical experience practicing in both the acute care and outpatient rehab settings. Specialties include orthopedics, with additional training in specific manual therapy techniques for pain management, as well as extensive training as a Certified Lymphedema Therapist.

Shelby is a Tampa, FL native, which is where she and her husband currently reside. Their favorite activities include spending time with family and anything outdoors, such as walking, bike riding, and going to the beach.

Medical Disclaimer

This website is intended to provide educational information only and should not be taken as medical advice. The information shared on this website is based on research, but is not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. We recommend that you consult your healthcare provider for any specific questions or concerns you may have. The website does not accept responsibility for any harm that may occur from using the information given on this site. Speak to your medical provider about any health issues!

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