You’ve made the turn. You have a score that says you might just be having the round of your life. A few practice swings and the 10th fairway will be your chipping mat. Driver’s out of the bag, glove on, and the ball teed up nice and high. You start shaking off the memories of the chunked sand shot on the last hole and set up to take a few practice swings. The first one feels good. You step up and swing for the fences. In a moment, your shoulder hurts, your face cringes, and you cleared that fence right into the HOA president’s pool.
Shoulder pain can be the all-too-common reward for an ambitious swing or a long day of divots and sand shots. For the average golfer, shoulder pain is right behind low back pain as the most seen condition.
The shoulder is an inherently unstable joint. Known as a “ball in socket” joint, it more accurately resembles a golf ball on a tee. It relies heavily on soft tissues such as ligaments and muscles to maintain a working joint. This provides for fantastic mobility – allowing us to throw, lift, push and pull throughout our day. It is also ripe for dysfunction and can limit even the simplest of movements, not to mention a golf swing.
Here are some of the shoulder exercises I use to help my golfers prevent shoulder pain before it starts or controls it when it strikes.
Stopping a problem before it starts is the best strategy. That can only come from strengthening. Here I go through a few basic exercises every golfer should know to strengthen the shoulder.
This exercise strengthens the shoulder blade and upper back. It can be done with any strength band.
This targets a specific shoulder blade muscle called the Lower Trapezius. It is done with a small weight because the muscle is a small stabilizer.
This exercise is a great way to work a crucial position for the trail shoulder (can you tell I’m a righty?). It is, however, difficult if you have a history of rotator cuff or labral tear, so start light.
This is a common stretch for a reason! Adding the towel allows for a stronger stretch.
These scratch the surface of how to decrease shoulder strain while golfing. Other shoulder girdle muscles can contribute to pain, and more often than not a stiff hip or weak glute can make the shoulder overcompensate to get all the yardage out of that new driver.
Your physical therapist is well trained in the issues affecting golfers and other rotational athletes. If you want to fix a sore shoulder, or get a few more yards on your driver, schedule a free assessment today! Free Assessments are available in-clinic or virtually through our telehealth platform.
*Per federal guidelines, beneficiaries of plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, VHA and other federally funded plans are not eligible for free assessments.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.