Golfing Without Tightness or Stiffness by Michael Flores
In the last five years I have been with Physical Therapy Connections, I have seen numerous golfers who have had to stop golfing because of shoulder pain or injuries. If you are reading this and have been out of golf for at least 3 weeks because of shoulder pain, then keep reading. I would love to share a bit of information to help relieve some of your pain so you can get back to doing what you enjoy.
Many times, your shoulders start to hurt because of a flexibility or strength issue somewhere else in the body. For example, if you don’t have enough rotation in your hips or back, the next time you swing a golf club, something must give. Perhaps your shoulder takes up the slack and ends up working twice as hard. Shoulders don’t like to do more than what they have to do. You could say that about any joint in your body; our bodies like to be efficient. Not only would helping your joint work more efficiently lessen your pain, but imagine what more efficiency could do for your golfing drive.
So, how can you become more efficient? I like to start working with your hips and spine because this is where your power comes from. Your body is built to transfer energy from your legs into your torso. If you look at many of the professional athletes (golf, tennis, baseball), they all have big glutes (big butts!) and usually have good rotational mobility. I would like to start off with the latter (better rotation) because you could have all the strength in the world, but it wouldn’t mean a thing if your back or hips are stiff as a board. I like to make the analogy of looking at body builder; with strength galore. However, many times they have so much strength and are so bulky that they can barely scratch their back of they have an itch. What good is all that strength if they have a difficult time doing their basic daily tasks of living?
Here is what you can do. Make sure you test your golf swing prior to doing this exercise to get a sense of how it feels. This also gives you something to compare it to after you have finished the exercise. (I’m going to post a video of this exercise – there should be a link to the video in the description). Find a door jam and hold on to it with both hands. Move your feet by turning your body around either clockwise or counter-clockwise. Hold this position and perform a three-dimensional trunk movement. What this means is that you can take your torso and move it forward and back (like you would do in yoga for the cat-cow pose). Next, move your torso side to side (almost like what you would imagine a belly dancer would do). Finally, turn your torso rotationally (as if you are looking over your shoulder). Make sure to do this on both sides. Once finished, re-check you golf swing and see what it feels like. It should be much looser. With practice, repetition, and strengthening afterwards, your golfing drive should improve in the next few weeks (if not right away). Again, please look in the description for a link to the video which will describe exactly how to do this exercise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8YFKkrs4C0