Golf: Shoulder Stretches You Aren't Doing

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Golf: Shoulder Stretches You Aren't Doing

Let’s be honest, your posture probably isn't too great. At this very moment you're sitting there reading this hunched over and now you just fixed it…

It’s how most people spend their time. Which can make the golf swing very hard!

For the purposes of this article I will be grouping the shoulders and t-spine (upper back) together to make it easier. 

During the golf swing the shoulders are required to do quite a bit. 

  • Rotate in both directions
  • Trail arm externally rotates
  • Lead arm horizontally abducts (comes across body)
  • Upper back extends
  • And more…

You get the idea, it is a lot. Not to mention each person presents with different physical qualities and every swing is different!

The point I'm trying to make is that the shoulders need to be able to move. When they don't move well, that is when compensations happen and most likely bad golf shots or possible injury.

Of course technique is incredibly important, but sometimes range of motion is the number one limiting factor. You can do all the practice at the range you want, but at the end of the day you need the mobility in order to achieve the positions.

Just take a look at Rory’s shoulder turn. Wouldn't it be nice to get even half of that!

Alright so let’s get to work on building a “Rory” like shoulder turn.

Here are three mobility exercises to help improve your shoulder mobility.

Half Kneeling 2 Way T-Spine

This is a great bang for your buck exercise that anyone can benefit from. Obviously you can see the rotational component of this drill, but what I really like is how the lower body is locked. Too often people compensate during t-spine mobility exercises - they allow the lower body to move while the goal is to isolate and disassociate the upper and lower half. Also the wall forces you to keep good alignment (shoulders over hips).

Just do your best to keep your lower body still and move through a range of motion that isn't too stressful. Don’t force anything!

I recommend 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps each side.

Stability Ball Roll Out

Those lats need love as well! Most people love this one because it “feels good.” Take a look at the extension and separation of the arms in the picture of Rory. If those lats are tight it’s going to make it really hard to get even ¾ of that range of motion.

I like to think of getting really long as I roll the ball out. Not only do the lats get stretched, but it’s a great way to achieve thoracic extension.

I recommend 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps.

Half Kneeling Shoulder ER Lift-Off

This one can be a bit hard for those who have poor shoulder mobility. If that is you, simply being in the starting position can be your drill in the beginning. This drill is a great way to mimic the trail arm position in the top of the backswing. Many struggle to get the hands above their shoulders - shoulder external rotation can be the sole reason.

Not only does this stretch the shoulder, but the chest gets a nice stretch as well. Since everyone nowadays is so forward and rounded in their posture, the pecs can get really tight.

During this drill I like to think of my bicep as a rotisserie chicken, there should only be rotation at the shoulder joint. You'll notice your shoulder will want to hike up, head will want to shoot forward, the lower back will want to arch. Keep everything still and focus on feeling the backside of your shoulder.

I recommend 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps each side.

As always make sure to put a lot of effort and focus into these stretches. Don’t just go through the motions or you will not get the results you want.

Drop any questions or comments below. Hopefully you'll hit the ball just a tad better after these!

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