Unlock Proper Golf Swing Mechanics: Avoid Injury and Improve Performance
It’s important to take care of your body while elevating your golf game. Full-body mobility is necessary to optimizing performance, as well as preventing avoidable injuries. Check out these four targeted areas to test if you have the mobility required to unlock proper swing mechanics and make sure you stay injury-free this golf season.
Trail Arm Shoulder Mobility: Is your shoulder mobility holding back your swing?
Ah, the dreaded slice or pull shot. How many of you struggle with hitting these types of shots? For those who don’t know, a slice is a shot that curves from right to left, and a pull is a shot that is hit straight to the left without a curve (assuming a right-handed golfer). If this occurs to you, it likely means you have an “over-the-top” swing fault. This means that your club path to the ball is not aligned properly. One potential cause for this type of swing fault is the shoulder mobility of your trail arm.
Specifically, golfers need adequate shoulder external rotation mobility of the trail arm in order to shallow the path of the club to the ball, from the top of the backswing until making contact with the ball. This improves accuracy and improves the consistency of ball striking. The average PGA tour player has 120 degrees of shoulder external rotation. Check out the second video on a quick way to check if you have at least 90 degrees of shoulder external rotation!
Stability of Lead Leg
In a proper swing, weight is transferred from the back leg into the front leg as one transition from the top of the backswing into the downswing. In addition to placing much of our weight on the front leg in the downswing, we rotate on the front leg while our foot stays planted to the ground. If the body is not prepared to handle this type of movement, it can lead to injury to the lead knee, most specifically the meniscus.
If a player does not have the proper strength in the lead hip muscles, it can lead to a “slide” swing fault. The “slide” swing fault not only places your lead knee at risk for injury but also wreaks havoc on your ability to perform at a high level.
Shoulder mobility can have a large impact on the golf swing. If you struggle with raising your arms fully overhead, you likely have restrictions in your latissimus dorsi muscle. Your latissimus dorsi muscle is an extremely important muscle involved in golf. The latissimus dorsi is a huge muscle that attaches from the top of your arm, wraps around your back, and attaches to the backside of your pelvis. Without proper flexibility of the latissimus dorsi, it can result in the inability to rotate your spine, the loss of proper spine posture, decrease the length of the backswing, to name a few. All of these things will affect both accuracy and power. Don’t let your latissimus dorsi flexibility negatively impact your game!
When you think of the mechanics of the golf swing, the first that comes to mind is rotation. The ability to rotate your body allows you to bring the club behind you, as well as the following through past impact of the ball. One of the biggest contributors to this rotation is the thoracic spine, otherwise known as your mid-back. If your thoracic spine is not rotating properly, it can lead to a variety of swing faults that will affect your ability to produce consistent ball striking, and produce power/club speed. It can also lead to injury elsewhere in the body (particularly the low back), as compensations are likely to be created. Here you see me demonstrating an exercise that you can implement easily before a round of golf to improve the rotation of your spine!