Shoulder stability is essential to packing a powerful golf swing. Without stability, flexibility and strength in your shoulders your swing is not going to be as efficient or effective as it could be. In fact, you can wind up with shoulder injuries that not only hurt your swing, but literally hurt your shoulders.
There are a number of things that can contribute to rotator cuff (the muscles in your shoulders that allow for circular motion) problems, but Brian Schiff, a licensed physical therapist specializing in sports medicine, sees three main contributors: poor posture, flexibility issues, and a decreased level of muscular strength and endurance. “People just aren’t conditioned to do the things that we want to go out and do on a regular basis, " Brian says. “And, with a sport like golf, it’s such a repetitive action. A person that doesn’t do any physical activity, and then goes out and plays a few rounds in the spring, they’re very vulnerable to certain flare-ups and injuries. "
You can combat this issue by incorporating shoulder exercises into your fitness routine. By working your shoulders off the course, they will provide you with the stability and flexibility you need to improve your swing.
One exercise you can try to improve your shoulder stability is to lie on the floor on your stomach. Pull your shoulder blades back and extend your arms to the side with your thumbs pointing up and towards the ceiling. Continue retracting (pulling back) your shoulder blades until your upper body is lifted up and a “T" is formed with your extended arms. Perform this shoulder lift several times.
A similar exercise to improve shoulder stability can be performed with a Swiss ball. Lie facedown over the top of the ball with your abs in the middle of the ball. Your chest should be off the ball and your feet are on the toes. Lift your arms above your head with your hands clinched and thumbs up. Extend your arms up and out as far as you can comfortably (forming a “Y" at the top). Perform this exercise several times.
These shoulder exercises will improve stability and, in turn, your swing.
Susan Hill is a nationally recognized golf fitness trainer, CHEK golf biomechanic and sports nutrition specialist. For more information on golf specific nutrition, exercises or stretches, visit http://www.fitnessforgolf.com .