Happy Fitness Friday! Today I want to talk about the muscles of the shoulder! At the end of a tournament week, one of the first muscle groups I typically find to be the most sore are those in my shoulders! It got me to thinking about how important the shoulder muscles are in our golf swing. After all, the shoulder muscles act as a bridge from our head and neck muscles to our back muscles and also to the muscles in our forearms and hands. Many of these key muscles connect into our core and back muscles, including our pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi muscles down to our glutes, as our body is all connected and functions best when it works together.
Our shoulder muscles have a big impact on our golf swing. They must be on the correct plane to maintain a proper and stable spine angle. They are a big indicator of power in the golf swing if a golfer is able to make a full shoulder turn in order to create torque. Our shoulders undergo a lot of strain in the golf swing with all of the rotating and turning. I dare someone who thinks golfers aren’t athletes to argue me on this one! Our shoulders are involved in decelerating the club at the top of the backswing, to in turn accelerate in a complex movement between 80-120 mph and hit a golf ball. Try and tell me that is not an athletic motion. I don’t even drive my car that fast!!!
Therefore, it is extremely important that our shoulders are strong, flexible, and stable. While the shoulder joint has an extensive range of motion, it is also the least stable and undertakes a lot of stress, and therefore can easily be injured. Injuries to the leading shoulder as well as the nonleading shoulder are common in golf, including rotator cuff tendonitis, bursitis, impingement and tears. Here are some exercises to work on strengthening and stabilizing your shoulder muscles to prevent injuries and to improve your game! Be sure to do these with both shoulders as golf injuries are actually more common in the nondominant shoulder. And, as always, consult your doctor if you have persistent pain or recurring problems.
Battle Rope Training
Battle ropes are an all around great way to train! They force you to engage your core and are great for building upper body strength, since these muscles are doing most of the work in the movement! Battle ropes are great strength-builders since the movement is different than you can get with weights and other equipment.
Some other great strengthening exercises for the shoulders are military presses, upright rows, stability ball push-ups and my favorite exercise the pull up which targets many muscles in the back, shoulders, and arms!
A body saw is performed by starting in plank position (pictured above) and slowly moving your forearms in and out. Creating this unstable surface requires your core, upper body, and legs to engage and stabilize. Other variations include "ABC's", spelling these letters with your arms on the stability ball, and "Around the World's", rotating your arms in a circle. All great variations!
My other favorite exercises that work on stabilizing the shoulder are Y's T's L's and W's which can be performed with dumbbells or a TRX, and Alternating Supermans!
I hope these help your body and your game. As always, have a great Fitness Friday!