3 Golf Mobility Exercises You Need to Try

May 30, 2023
golf mobility exercises

Performing a golf swing properly is one of the most complex movements in all of sport. It involves the synchronous and carefully timed contraction of a golfer’s entire body, even though that body is often riddled with tightness, ache, restriction, and pain. One of the best ways to address these things is through exercises for golf mobility, which is the topic of today’s article.

Notice the incredible amount of rotation in this man’s body during the follow through on his swing. Virtually everything from the ground up is under some sort of twist, flexion, and/or extension, which means the mobility demands for a golfer are extremely high. (Image credit: Adobe Stock)

What Is Golf Mobility?

Mobility is a term used to describe the ability of a joint or series of joints to move through a given range of motion. It is different from flexibility, which is the ability of a muscle to lengthen passively to an end range (example, the classic bend over and touch your toes to measure hamstring flexibility). The key difference is movement. Here’s an example that relates to golf:

Shoulder Reach - Mobility vs. Flexibility

  • Standing in an upright position with your arms straight, raise them up and over your head as high as you can. It’s important not to arch your lower back while doing this (which would help you get further back with the arms). Normal mobility would have your upper arm reaching just behind your ear.

The above test requires you to use your own strength to pull your arms overhead using your shoulders and upper back muscles. Many people have difficulty attaining the full overhead position because of poor shoulder and upper back mobility. A contrasting exercise would be a stretch that focuses on the same movement, for example:

  • The child’s pose position commonly performed in yoga classes can be a good exercise for someone with poor shoulder and upper back mobility. As you can see in the picture below, the man is using his body weight against the floor to passively pull his arms into an overhead position, while at the same time gently extending the upper back.

Child’s pose. (Image credit: Adobe Stock)

The shoulders are an incredibly important part of the golf swing, and help to generate immense power and motion throughout the entire act. They’re also one of the most commonly injured areas for golfers as a result of this responsibility. If you have poor mobility in the shoulders, or other parts of the body, your injury risk is going to climb significantly.

When you swing your club, you have to violently take several structures in the body through a large range of motion. If there is restriction in one area, the force is going to bleed into another. This is why having good mobility is so important. With that said, let’s jump into some good exercises that will help keep you healthy, and improve your golf game at the same time.

Golf Mobility Exercises

Below you’ll find some excellent exercises for golf mobility that help to address common issues found in a golfer's body. They’ll each be followed by a short summary of why it is so beneficial to add into your routine. A great way to integrate mobility work is to include exercises like these in your warm-up before practice and games!

All of the following have been borrowed from our programming here at Dynamic Golfers. If you like what you see, try signing up with us free for 7-days, and gain access to our full library of strength, mobility, and injury prevention videos to help you improve your performance and golf pain-free!

Dynamic Shoulder Stretch w/Pole

 

Instructions:

  1. Hold your golf club, a pole, or a broomstick wider than shoulder width apart (the more narrow your grip the harder this will be, so start wide and see where you’re at)
  2. With straight arms, bring it up and over your head, reaching as far behind you as possible, you can even bring it down until it touches the back of your body
  3. Reverse the movement, bringing the pole back down to the front of your body
  4. Stay in motion throughout and repeat for 45 seconds

This exercise helps to directly target the shoulders that we talked about throughout the article. A restricted shoulder will often lead to overload of the spine when swinging a club. By gently moving your shoulders and upper back through this movement, you’re working towards making the upper body more supple and mobile.

Kneeling Thoracic Rotation

 

Instructions:

  1. Starting on all fours in a kneeling position, place one hand to the side of your head
  2. Rotate the bent elbow in towards your other arm, flexing and rotating the torso
  3. Open the bent elbow up towards the sky, extending and rotating the spine
  4. Repeat for 45 seconds
  5. Switch to the other arm
  6. Repeat for another 45 seconds

This movement gives the thoracic (middle) spine some gentle, often much needed, movement. Restrictions in the spine can bleed into the shoulders and hips when you swing, and it often gets tight as a result of modern lifestyle activities such as office work, driving, and any other form of sitting. This exercise will help to counter some of that.

Hip Mobility Circles

 

Instructions:

  1. Start in a kneeling position on all fours
  2. With one leg, make clockwise circles in a controlled fashion, rotating inwards 
  3. Make as big a motion as possible
  4. Do clockwise/inward circles for 20 seconds
  5. From there, with the same leg, do counter-clockwise (outward) circles
  6. Repeat for 20 seconds
  7. Switch to the other leg and repeat the sequence, 20 seconds inward, 20 seconds outward

These hip circles are a great way to develop strength and mobility all around the hip joint. They don’t look like much, but you might be surprised with how difficult they are. When the hips are restricted, force generated from the ground might become blocked at the hips, and transfer down to the knee or up into the spine while swinging.

Written by Eric Lister – Certified Personal Trainer & Corrective Exercise Specialist

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