Upper Quarter Mobility Exercises for the Golf Player
by Jacqueline Birdsall, DPT, TPI and Chelsea Ortega, DPT, SCS, CSCS
The golf swing requires your upper body to go through a large range of motion in order to achieve a full, powerful swing with proper mechanics. In order to achieve these positions, you must have the appropriate upper body mobility. Mobility is a combination of the range of motion of your joint and the flexibility of your muscles. If the body is lacking mobility in one area, this can lead to issues with stability in another and further muscular imbalances in the body. It's also important to consider your body’s restraints and note that each golfer can have a different swing based on the limitations caused by their individual range of mobility. Here, we will review some of the most important components of mobility for the golfer.
To achieve proper mechanics in the golf swing, key mobility components for the upper body include thoracic rotation, latissimus dorsi flexibility, cervical rotation and shoulder external rotation. The following exercises are designed to help improve these mobility components.
Open Book (2 sets x 10 reps each side)
Begin by lying on your side with knees bent and your hands together directly in front of you. Slowly lift your top arm toward the ceiling, rotating through your chest in order to reach as far behind you as possible. Follow your hand with your eyes allowing your head to rotate with trunk. Slowly return to starting position.
½ Kneel Lift (2 sets x 10-12 reps each side)
Start by kneeling with the knee closest to anchor down and other bent to 90 degrees. With resistance coming from the ground level, grab the band with both hands and pull as you rotate from down to up over opposite shoulder. Lead with belly button and keep hips and pelvis still.
½ Prayer Reach Backs w/ External Rotation (2 sets x 10 reps each side)
Get into a quadruped position and sit back on your heels with the elbows and forearms on the floor. Place one hand behind your back and rotate your chest toward the ceiling leading with the elbow. Return to the starting position. Repeat on opposite side.
Cervical Spine Rotation w/ Pattern Assistance (Supine) (2 sets x 20 reps)
Begin by lying on your back in the hook lying position. Grasp a band with your arms straight toward the ceiling. Rotate your head to one side as you spread the band apart bringing your arms into a T position. Repeat, but rotate your head to the opposite side.
Reach, Roll and Lift (2 sets x 10 reps each side)
Start in quadruped position and sit back on your heels. Place your forehead on one fist. With the involved arm, reach overhead with your palm down. Once your arm is extended overhead, roll your thumb toward the ceiling. Then lift your arm up from the ground. Return to starting position.
Check these exercises out and let us know how they go! Reach out with questions or to discuss expanding a program to improve your mobility and your game.