Shoulder strengthening is one of the most important parts to a golf strength training routine! Having strong shoulder muscles is essential to a proper golf swing.
Looking to increase your swing speed? You've come to the right page! This page is all about the shoulder and the muscles that move and stabilize it.
Possibly the most important group to focus on in a shoulder strengthening program is the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis) that act as the main muscular support of the shoulder joint, in addition to being some of the main movers for shoulder rotation motions. These muscles are, in general, small and not very powerful. They are very susceptible to injury and once they are injured, are difficult to rehabilitate.
It is also extremely important to strengthen the larger shoulder muscles such as the pectoralis major, deltoid, and trapezius. These muscles act as stabilizers for the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint and help reduce the stress placed upon the rotator cuff muscles. These larger muscles also contribute to your overall posture.
Here are some key shoulder strengthening exercises to add to you golf weight training program:
1. Internal/External Rotation : This description will use the right shoulder as a reference.
For external rotation:
-Grab a light dumbbell and lay on a bench with your left side down.
-With your right arm resting at your side, and with elbow bent to 90 degrees, rotate arm towards the ceiling (keeping your upper arm against your side, while pivoting at the shoulder joint).
For internal rotation:
-With dumbbell in hand, lay on bench with right side down.
-Right arm against your side, and elbow again bent to 90 degrees. This time, rotate your arm so that your hand moves toward your stomach.
Variations: These could also be performed in standing with either a cable column machine or resistance bands.
2. Push Ups - The pectoralis major muscle is very active during the golf swing so it will need to be strengthened! Variations: Wide and narrow grips, incline/decline, cable column flys, dumbbell flys.
3. Lat Pull Down Machine, or Pull Ups - Lat pulls should be performed to the front (pull towards your chest, not behind your head). Both lat pulls and pull ups should be with hands in wide grip position.
4. PNF Patterns - This group of four exercises are commonly used in therapy for more advanced rotator cuff and shoulder strengthening. There are a little more complicated because they combine multiple motions into one smooth motion, but they mimic the golf swing so they should be beneficial. Here's an example for a right handed swing: On the backswing, the left arm is similar to D1 flexion and the right arm is similar to D2 flexion. On the downswing, the left is mimicking D1 extension and the right is D2 extension. These exercises can be performed with bands/cable or free weights.
a) PNF D1 Flexion - Standing with right arm slightly away from your body and palm backwards, bring your arm across your body in an upper cut motion so that your palm is against your opposite collar bone.
b)PNF D1 Extension - Just the opposite of flexion. Start in the uppercut position with your palm against your opposite collarbone. Then, move your arm out to the side with elbow fully extended and palm facing backwards.
c)PNF D2 Flexion - Start with arm across your body and palm against your opposite hip bone (ex: grabbing a sword position). Move your arm back across your body and raise it upward with your palm to the ceiling (ex: a waiter holding a tray position).
d)PNF D2 Extension - Start in the waiter's position, lower your arm and bring it across your body in one smooth motion and end in the sword position.
5. Single Arm Dumbbell Bent Over Rows - Kneel on bench with your opposite knee. Keep your back flat! Lift the weight straight towards you, bending your elbow. Squeeze your shoulder blade back when you reach the top.
6. Scaption - Great rotator cuff exercise! Grab and hold two light dumbells (2-5 lbs.) with each hand. Lift arms to eye level, with thumbs pointed to the ceiling, BUT, your arms need to be angled to each side so that combined they form a "V" with your chest as the point of the V.
Modification - Perform a set number (10-20) of reps with the standard version of this exercise, mentioned above. Once you reach the elevated shoulder position of the last rep, stop and maintain your right arm in this position, yet still continue to perform reps individually with the left arm. Once those reps are done, hold your left arm up in the elevated position while performing reps individually with the right arm. It may not seem like much, but this takes a lot more endurance!