I've had my fair share of shoulder issues.
Because of this, it's a joint that I personally prioritize in my own training to improve its function and resilience.
WHAT MAKES THE SHOULDER JOINT DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS?
It's basically a golf ball on a tee.
It's not the most stable joint in the body... by far.
But, this is good, because what it lacks in STABILITY it possesses in MOBILITY. The shoulder joint gives us the upper limb mobility that we need to accomplish a successful golf swing.
It can move in all three planes - and it does in your golf swing!
From a training perspective, we need to be aware of the extreme mobility that the shoulder joint possesses. We should work to build stability and strength within the large ranges of motion it can execute.
HOW should we train the shoulder joint for GOLF?
It's a balance, a yin-and-yang, of mobility and stability.
Of course we need the mobility to execute a successful golf swing. MANY out there lack the necessary mobility to achieve positions being asked of their body while swinging a golf club.
HOWEVER, I need to point out that there isn't one correct way to swing a golf club.
Many elite PGA Tour players don't have the "ideal" amount of shoulder mobility, but yet succeed at the highest level.
MORE IMPORTANT than mobility is having STRENGTH and STABILITY in the ranges of motion that we can achieve at the shoulder joint. To put it another way, I don't care that much if you can passively be stretched into large amounts of external rotation if you can't actually stabilize and produce force in that position.
So, HOW do we train the shoulder joint?
Just like any other joint, we need to expose it to full range of motion strength training.
BUT, they aren't the exercise I want to share with you today.
An ADVANCED SHOULDER EXERCISE: Pullup HANGS
If we look into the evolutionary history of humans, we see that our bodies are DESIGNED to hang, swing, and climb.
We are brachiators, like apes!
Yet, rarely in modern society do we use our upper limbs for their intended evolutionary purpose.
If you don't currently work some sort of hanging or climbing into your weekly routine, I highly recommend you start doing so.
Below you'll see a bunch of hanging variations that my athletes have taken on this summer, and below that you'll see a 6 step progressive plan you should follow to improve at this important exercise!
Here's the progressive plan I recommend for you:
1. Start without moving your hands on the bar and leave feet on the ground for additional support and to take some weight off of your arms/hands/shoulders.
2. Progress to getting feet completely off the ground.
3. Slowly begin sliding your hands around the bar.
4. Then work to tapping your shoulders.
5. Try hanging with one arm.
6. Try LOADING that one arm hang by holding a weight in the other arm - Something like THIS.
This progression is a long-term process that could take years.
But, in the meantime, watch your shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand function THRIVE.
Your golf swing demands high functioning, strong, and mobile shoulders.
Hanging from a pull-up bar is an AWESOME exercise to help create this.
Start incorporating it into your training, and reach out if you need help creating a plan to implement this important exercise into your weekly routine!
Founder and Head Coach - SCRATCHGolfTraining.com
Carter is a strength and conditioning coach out of the Milwaukee area working with athletes, in-person and virtually. Having helped hundreds of athletes, ranging from the middle school to the professional level and beyond, Carter brings a breadth of experience and knowledge to every athlete he works with. He launched SCRATCHGolfTraining.com in the summer of 2021 to help empower golfers to greater performance and longevity.
Carter believes ALL golfers are athletes, and they should be training accordingly.
Become a SCRATCH Athlete today, and start training like the ATHLETE you are!