Wellness Wednesday: Upper-body mobility
June 25, 2014
By Sean Cochran, PGATOUR.COM
WELLNESS WEDNESDAY: Sean Cochran's exercises
The golfer understands the execution of a proficient swing requires the body to rotate around an imaginary axis often referred to as the spine angle. An efficient rotation around this axis allows the golfer to maintain postural positions required within the golf swing, place the body in the correct position to initiate the downswing, and ultimately promote a good impact position.
In order for an efficient rotation to occur around the spine angle the golfer is required to have certain levels of mobility within the joints of the body. This will allow the body to create the rotary components needed within the golf swing. The hips are obviously a joint requiring mobility in order to perform the rotary actions of the swing and a second oft times overlooked is the thoracic spine.
The thoracic spine (t-spine) is an area of the spine in between the shoulder blades and is integral in the ability of the upper body and shoulders to rotate in the golf swing. The T-Spine is a mobile segment of the spine and limitations within the segment will typically limit the ability of the golfer to rotate the upper body, turn the shoulders, and complete the turn in the back swing. Common limitations viewed in the golf swing when T-spine mobility is limited are a lifting of the arms, or a chicken wing.
Improving mobility within the thoracic spine will allow the golfer to create upper body rotation within the swing, rotate around a fixed spine angle and place the body in the proper position to initiate the downswing with the lower body.
Two very good golf fitness exercises for the golfer to perform for improvement in one's thoracic spine mobility are T-Spine Openers and Kneeling Club Rotations. The combination of these two exercises over time can improve the rotary mobility of the upper body.
• Place both of your hands on the floor directly under the shoulders
• Position both of your knees directly under the hips, eyes looking forward and back flat
• Set the left hand on the base of the neck and push the hips back onto your heels
• Slowly rotate the left elbows towards the right arm
• Continue to rotate until the left elbow touches the right arm
• Reverse the action and rotate the left arm away the right arm
• Continue to rotate until your chest is facing towards the left and the left elbow is elevated into the air
• Return to the starting position and repeat for 15 repetitions
Kneeling Club Rotations
• Position the lower body in a kneeling position with the right knee in contact with the floor
• Grasp a golf club or dowel rod with both hands and extend the arms straight overhead
• Position the torso upright with the eyes looking forward.
• Slowly rotate the upper body to the right while keeping the arms overhead
• Rotate as far as possible the right while keeping the torso upright and arms overhead
• Pause slightly at the end point of the rotation and repeat to the left
• Alternate rotating left and right for 10 repetitions
• Repeat the exercise sequence with the left knee in contact with the floor
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