Improve your golf with Strong and Stable shoulders


The shoulders are often an over looked area of the body in golfers training.  However they play a major part in the golf swing and are a very commonly injured area of the body in golfers.

There are a huge number of exercises that can help to develop strength and stability of the shoulders and reduce your risk of many types of injuries.  This week we will look at one particular exercise called the ‘alternate arm plank push up’.

How it benefits your body

The shoulder girdle is an extremely complex area of the body, that includes the shoulder joint, scapula, collar bone and all of the attachments of these areas to each other and the thorax at the front and back of the body.  It is extremely mobile enabling a large range of movement that aids us in performing activities such as the golf swing.  However it gains this mobility at the sacrifice of stability.   The stability of the shoulder girdle is aided hugely by a large number of muscles and the way that these muscles work together during movements of the arm/shoulder.  Getting strong and stable in the shoulders will help you in performing many different sports and general day to day life whilst helping to prevent many common injuries

How it benefits your golf game

Each shoulder has to work in very different ways during the golf swing but both require huge amounts of mobility & needs stability and strength in order to do these completed movements quickly and safely.  This exercise helps to develop these qualities whilst at the same time works the trunk/core and the shoulder girdle also has to work hard to resist and control rotational forces during the single arm push up and drop down.  This is important in sporting movements like the golf swing

They can be done as part of your general fitness training as well as in your warm up.  These are the same type of exercises that the European Tour professionals do on Tour.

How to do an ‘Alternate arm Plank push up’

For beginners the start position can be a kneeling plank, resting on the knees and the forearms.  Once you have mastered the exercise from the kneeling plank (or are already at a level to try it straight away) move into the full plank position on forearms and toes (as shown in the photo).  To make it easier try starting with your feet further apart.  Make sure you keep a neutral strong spine and hip position throughout this exercise (avoid sagging of the hips towards the floor).

To begin the exercise start by placing one palm on the floor and push up through that arm until straight and then place the other palm on the floor and straighten the second arm.  Then with the first arm drop back down onto the forearm and then do the same with the second arm.  Repeat between 5-10 times for each set for 4 sets.  Remember to swap which side goes first each time on each set to alternate the effort on each side.


Nigel Tilley

Rob Hillman

European Tour Performance Institute & Physio Unit

Twitter: @etpi_physiounit

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  Coaching, Golf Fitness