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Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The physical demands of archery involve strenuous movements that place repetitive mechanical loads on the upper body. Given that bone remodels in response to mechanical loading (Ruff, 2008), it is reasonable to assume that repetitive bow and arrow use impacts upper limb bone morphology in predictable ways. The introduction and increased use of archery have been suggested to impact bilateral humeral asymmetry (Rhodes and Knüsel, 2005; Thomas, 2014). However, this claim is yet to be tested in vivo. This project aims to use kinematic and electromyographic approaches to validate claims inferring that, 1. archery places mechanical loading on the non-dominant arm resulting in lowered asymmetry, and 2. the dominant arm in archery has more mechanical loading placed in the anterior-posterior direction while the non-dominant arm has more mechanical loading placed in the medial-lateral direction.

Some muscles (i.e. Pectoralis major and posterior Deltoid) act symmetrically on both humeri, while most muscle groups (i.e. Biceps brachii, Triceps brachii, Deltoid (lateral), and Latissimus dorsi) are activated asymmetrically on the humerus. On the whole, asymmetrically acting muscle groups acting on separate arms result in similar overall directional bending. Therefore, the overall cross-sectional shape of the bone would be similar for the draw and bow arm. Repeated bow use would undoubtedly induce humeral modification consistent with increased non-dominant arm robusticity, which in turn would lower asymmetry. Findings from this project thus support the hypothesis that the adoption of the bow and arrow results in decreased humeral asymmetry and strengthen morphological approaches to behavioral reconstruction.


First Advisor

Brigitte Holt