Upper Body Mobility for Golf

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A lot of mobility for golf is centered around improving rotation.

Many golfers will hammer away on their hips in the hopes of improving their swing.

What is often forgotten about is the role of the upper body.

The upper body plays a huge role in the ability to rotate in the golf swing.

When we look at the upper body there are three types of movements that we are looking to improve.

Shoulder Flexion

Shoulder flexion is an underrated quality for golfers. Being able to reach overhead is displayed as shoulder flexion.

The test for this ability is to stand with your back to a wall and reach both arms overhead. We are looking to get both thumbs to the wall with the back staying flat to the wall.

Restrictions in the lat length test can lead to C posture, flat shoulder plane, and early extension in the golf swing.

Improving the ability to reach overhead starts with rolling out the lats. Releasing this tension is sometimes all someone needs to reach overhead with more range of motion.

After the lats are rolled out, core stability needs to be addressed. A stable core will allow your back to stay against the wall and the arms to move freely. The KB pullover is a good exercise to train core stability and shoulder flexion at the same time.

When the lats are rolled out and the core is activated, shoulder flexion should actually almost improve immediately.

This is important in fitness as well as the golf swing. Most people cannot reach overhead without compensating. They either do not have the range of motion or the core stability.

This person should not be training overhead exercise. They cannot safely get there so they need to look to alternative options.

T Spine Rotation

Good golfers have great rotation through their upper back. The thoracic spine allows for a lot of rotation.

Limitations in T Spine mobility can result in reverse spine angle, sway, slide, loss of posture, and early extension.

That’s is quite a few swing characteristics that come into play when the trunk cannot rotate well.

Testing for T Spine rotation can be done sitting down with a golf club on your back. The goal is to rotate 45+ degrees.

Sometimes we see golfers that are great rotating into their back swing but not so good coming down. That can lead to the slide through the swing.

Improving T spine rotation comes down to mobility and core stability. The more stable the core is, the more the T spine is allowed to move. Less core stability and the T spine locks up to compensate.

Shoulder Rotation

Shoulder rotation is interesting because it is influenced by a lot of things before pure shoulder range of motion. To have good shoulder rotation, T spine extension and scapula stability are key.

The shoulders cannot rotate well if good posture is not achieved. Improving the scap and t spine will help get back into better posture, giving the shoulders more room to move.

Restricted shoulder rotation can lead to over the top, flat shoulder plane, and chicken wing swing characteristics. Luckily, improving shoulder rotation can be really simple.

We can test out shoulder rotation by standing with the arm bent at 90 degrees, with the upper arm out at 90 degrees. The 90/90 test can be done standing and in golf posture. We want the forearm to get past the angle of the spine in both postures.