I have these rubber bands I use to work out my upper body when I am sitting at the computer. I have one set put together that is heavy enough that I can only do about 3 reps at a time which includes a 3 second hold. I have only been doing this one about twice a day, 2 sets of 3 pulls. I also have a lighter band I do more often. After about 20 hard pulls I can really feel everything start to pump up.
My question is, will this lighter band still build strength? My shoulder is in too bad of shape to use the heavy one more frequently.
It depends on what you want to do.
For pure strength, fewer reps (6-8) at as heavy a resistance as you can do is best.
For endurance, lighter resistance, but 15 or more reps.
For muscle size, medium resistance but 10-15 reps.
Since I want to build both endurance and muscle size, I am alternating high-rep weeks (ten sets of ten reps, multiple angles) with my normal 5 sets of six reps, pyramiding to failure.
The key, no matter what you end up doing, is to always try to increase - either resistance, or reps or both.
Last several years I have been struggling with shoulder pain in my bow arm shoulder ( Archery) It has become increasingly hard to draw my bows. I am starting to think I have avoided shooting because of the pain and presently just trying to see if I can strengthen the shoulder through exercise just working through the pain. The lighter weight bands I can tolerate a lot better but they require a lot more reps. Should I do them until a fatigue or just until the muscles start pumping up good?
Speaking from personal experience, the LAST thing you want to do when you are having shoulder pain is to workout with heavy resistance!
I would recommend “listening to your body” - start doing exercises that give you a good pump, but don’t go to failure (mostly because the last few reps tend to be sloppy), and then note whether that helps the pain a day or so later.
Also, it might be worth getting a consult from a sports medicine guy - a good one might be able to recommend a specific exercise that will help the pain.
FWIW, my right shoulder has been bothering me for a few months now. I’ve given up doing heavy military presses, in favor of lighter lateral and front raises. The pain is slowly receding, and i may re-introduce shoulder presses with light weights soon.
I just started working with the bands about a week ago, the pain is still there but seems to be changing in nature, it feels like it is getting stronger if I don’t over do the heavy pulls. My shoulder pain seems to have a direct correlation to Knotted muscles in my neck and upper back.
I’m not an archer, nor do I have any medical training, but if I were to hazard a guess, it would be: your pain may be due to (or exacerbated by) the inherent asymmetry of archery.
That is, you are only working one side when you draw the bow. That means that your lats and shoulder and neck are being stressed on only one side, so you may now have a spinal imbalance.
This might be something that a really good, deep massage would help. I’m not a fan of Chiropractic, and don’t use it myself, but people often speak of having good results with it, so that’s something else to consider.
Building strength and helping an injured joint are different goals, of course. Building strength requires increasing the amount of work done over time. Bands can build some strength but less so than weights because there is less room to increase.
Many lifters develop shoulder pain due to an imbalance between presses, especially flat bench and overhead presses, with not doing enough rows and back exercises. Bad form (arms at 90 rather than 45 degrees to the torso, not pulling in elbows, etc) can exacerbate this. Doing pullups and chin-ups can cause pain too - using rings or neutral hand position may help.
Don’t know much about archery. Don’t know much about that French I took. But yeah, I guess you usually pull with the same arm.
Doing face pulls would likely help both the strength and shoulder pain. Exercises where the shoulder pushes rather than pulls may rebalance the muscles. General exercises to increase shoulder flexibility (range of motion) - passing the band in front of/behind the torso may be helpful. Pushups offer body weight to the shoulder and may help with the pain and flexibility.
Light bands are good for range of motion. Heavy bands will build some strength. Face pulls, rowing movements and pushups would probably help.
Medieval longbow archers had skeletal deformities from over-practicing archery.
Go to a doctor and find out what, specifically, is wrong with your shoulder. Rotator cuff? Nerve impingement? Imbalance of the humors? A sports medicine specialist will probably do better than the traditional ‘doctor, it hurts when I do this’ ‘then don’t do that’ although he may recommend a layoff from archery. Connective tissues like tendons and ligaments heal very slowly, much more slowly than muscles.
RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Anti-inflammatories like NSAIDs if they are well tolerated. Do What the Doctor Says - it is better in the long run. And don’t believe what you read on the Internet.
Have you considered getting a physical therapy referral?
Archery may not be the only sport that can result in significant muscle imbalances and specific rotator cuff muscle injuries but it certainly is one of them. Just generic strengthening won’t help fix imbalances and any resultant rotator cuff impingement (or determine if there is actually an arthritis going on instead). Advice based off of what happens to lifters or to baseball players won’t help either.