Team Canada Head Physiotherapist and Strength Coach Greg Redman says improving your mobility and setup are the keys to avoiding pain in your shoulder.
The third-most commonly injured part of the body for a golfer is the shoulder. This is mainly because the shoulder joint has to pivot through a tremendous range of motion yet be stable throughout the unique movement we call a golf swing.
The shoulder is not simply one joint either, but rather a connection between our thoracic spine, ribs and shoulder blade. For example, a common physical limitation that leads to pain in the front of your shoulder is a lack of mobility in your chest, which includes your mid-back, spine and ribs. This can often be the result of one’s day job and frequent bending of his or her mid-back. I see this posture brought to the golf course a lot, which in setup is called “C-Posture.”
Unfortunately this posture allows the shoulder blade to slide forward and leads to pinching of your rotator cuff muscles in the front of your shoulder.
Two important ways to limit the effect of a sore shoulder on your swing are to improve the mobility of the mid-back spine and to improve your golf setup position. Here’s how.
Lay on a high-density foam roller with your knees bent and your hands behind your head supporting your neck. Slowly push with your feet and pivot over the roller using it as a fulcrum for your mid-back. If this is too uncomfortable place a towel over the roller to soften the compression of your back on the hard foam. Complete 20 to 30 seconds of this exercise, rest for a minute and then repeat it three times.
When you address the ball at setup, rather than hunching over the ball, press your sternum (front of your chest) towards the ball. This should require no more than 25 per cent effort so that you can straighten out your mid-thoracic spine but not use so much muscular effort that you limit your ability to fully rotate through the swing.
Work on these two exercises for three weeks to see a change in your swing and, just as importantly, a reduction in any frontal shoulder pain.