In layman’s terms, torque is defined as a rotational force, or the twisting of an object. While there are some cases where more torque is desirable — such as the output of your vehicle’s engine — the handle of your bow is definitely NOT one of them.
Torquing your bow can cause poor and inconsistent arrow flight, wreaking havoc on your accuracy. In extreme cases, it can even result in the string derailing from your bow’s cams, leading to damage and possibly expensive repairs. So as you can imagine, you want to avoid torqueing your bow at any expense.
Today’s parallel-limb hunting bows have made it easier to torque a bow, exacerbating this problem even further. Because of the smaller area of string engagement with the cams at full draw, and shorter axle lengths, the archer has more leverage on the string — especially at longer draw lengths. Some archers torque their bows so much that the cables contact the arrow fletching, resulting in extremely poor arrow flight. The torqueing of a bow often results in a left-to-right spraying of arrows, especially at longer distances.
The IQ Bow Sight offers a “Retina Lock” feature to diagnose and help correct torqueing of a bow. Another way to determine if you are torqueing your bow is to have someone stand behind you and observe the string as it exits your cams. It should be in line with the cams’ string grooves when relaxed an aiming at full draw.
Bow torque is normally caused by improper grip, improper draw length or both. Volumes have been written on proper bow grip, and it can’t be completely covered in one column, but let’s examine it a bit. If you look at the palm of your bow hand, there is a crease, or line, that runs from roughly the center of your palm just above the wrist toward a point halfway between your thumb and index finger. It’s often referred to as your “life line.” Your thumb pad is considered everything toward your thumb from this line, and is the only part of your palm that should contact the bow’s grip. Your wrist should remain in a normal, neutral, side-to-side position. This will align the force exerted on/by your bow hand with the large bones in your arm during the entire shot cycle, resulting in less torque and fatigue.
Debate continues on whether a “high-wrist” or “low-wrist” grip is better. I prefer a slightly low-wrist grip because I find it leads to more contact with the grip — and thus a more consistent grip placement. The fingers of your bow hand should be relaxed and slightly bent, with the knuckles at roughly a 45-degree angle to the vertical centerline of your bow’s riser. You want to avoid tension in these fingers, as it can lead to inconsistency. The most important thing is to have a repeatable, consistent, torque-free grip.
Proper draw length is also key to avoiding bow torque. If your draw length is not correct, especially if it’s too long, it will lead to torqueing the bow.
Proper draw length is best determined by having someone measure your wingspan from tip to tip of your middle fingers across your shoulder blades. It is vital that your arms be in-line with your abdomen, not swept forward or back while taking this measurement. Then, divide this measurement in inches by 2.5. This will give you proper draw length for a handheld release with a D-loop. For a wrist caliper release with a D-loop, simply subtract one-half inch. Once you have determined proper draw length, ensure that your bow is properly adjusted. Also make sure that your peep is at the proper height, as this can lead to improper body alignment and further problems.
Bow torque is one of the leading causes of poor shooting and inconsistency. By correcting this issue, you will greatly increase your accuracy — and therefore your success this upcoming season.
If you are having trouble diagnosing or correcting this problem, stop by your local archery pro shop. Most places are happy to help and charge a reasonable fee for their time and expertise. So don’t let torque rob you of a trophy wallhanger this year — get a grip on it today.