As a follow up to our rotator cuff injury blog last month, today we will review an exercise routine designed to maintain a healthy shoulder, especially as it relates to potential golf injuries. The rotator cuff not only stabilizes your shoulder, but it is also one of the primary muscle groups responsible for the power behind your golf swing. Golfers are at risk for rotator cuff injuries due to the amount of stress placed on the muscles during the swing as well as the repetitive nature of the sport. Below we demonstrate exercises to improve the strength and flexibility of your shoulder, which can help reduce the likelihood of injury and may even increase the power of your swing!
All shoulder and rotator cuff exercises should be performed in a pain free range of motion. Never force a movement or use resistance that is uncomfortable or causes you to lose your form. As a general rule, when you have a sore shoulder, begin your program with exercises below shoulder level. As you heal and movements become more comfortable, progress to shoulder height and then overhead. Avoid shrugging your shoulders up during these exercises, you should focus on squeezing your shoulder blades back and down to avoid any compensatory shoulder shrug. Perform these exercises slowly for 3 sets of 10 repetitions, 3-4 times each week.
Begin by holding your arms out in front your body, slightly below shoulder height, with palms facing up and some tension in band. Bring your arms down directly to your side and squeeze your shoulder blades back. Hold for a count of 1-2 seconds and slowly return to start position.
Begin with your arms out in front of your body at shoulder height, palms facing up, with some tension in band. Keeping your arms at shoulder height and your elbows straight, reach arms back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for a count of 1-2 seconds and slowly return to start position.
Shoulder Row with External Rotation
Begin in the same starting position, palms facing down. Keep your arms at shoulder height and row arms back, allowing your elbows to bend. Once your elbows line up with your trunk stop and then rotate your hands and arms up. Hold for a count of 1-2 seconds and slowly return to start position.
Begin in the same starting position, palms facing each other, with some tension in band. Keep your elbows straight and raise your arms overhead at about a 45 degrees angle. Hold for a count of 1-2 seconds and slowly lower your arms back down to start position.
Internal/External Rotation Stretch
Hold a towel, rope, or golf club behind your back. Your upper arm will be externally rotated behind your head and lower arm internally rotated behind your back. Gently pull with your upper arm until you feel a stretch in your lower arm, hold 10 seconds. Next reverse the movement by gently pulling with your lower arm to cause a stretch of your upper arm, hold 10 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times and switch sides.
Cross Arm Stretch
Hold your arm at out shoulder level, keeping your elbow straight. Bring your arm across your body, using your opposite arm to apply a gentle stretch, hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times and then perform on opposite arm.
If you are unable to perform these exercises due to pain or are experiencing worsening of symptoms in your shoulder, please reach out to us so one of our physical therapists can evaluate you and create an individualized program to address your shoulder issues.