Every sport that involves the upper body requires strong and healthy shoulders, golf is no exception. There would be nothing worse for your game than a rotator cuff injury or any kind of debilitating shoulder injury for that matter. Without a fully functioning shoulder, you aren’t going to be making the best possible swing you could. So here are the 4 best exercises I have found to build up strength and power in the shoulders and also keep the muscles, tendons and joint healthy:
1. Dumbbell / Barbell Over Head Press
The King of all strength and power moves for the shoulders. This works all three heads of the shoulders (front, side and rear deltoids) The key to getting the most out of this exercise is ensuring full range of motion, that means touching the bar on the top of the chest or bringing the Dumbbells down to shoulder level. This exercise can be used with a variety of different rep ranges, stick to 6 – 12 for a good mix of strength and hypertrophy (muscle building) or you can go slightly heavier with sets of 3 – 6 for a more strength / power workout.
2. Side Lateral Raises
These can be performed with Dumbbells or a cable machine. I prefer Dumbbells just because it’s easier to set up (just grab them!) These build up the side deltoids predominantly, great for maintaining stability in the golf swing and generating power through the ball. Side lateral raises come with a warning however, they must be performed safely as many of the ways shown in magazines and in fitness videos on YouTube show poor form which can lead to injury and impingement. The best way to avoid this that I have found is to perform them with your thumbs pointing upwards, towards the ceiling and bending slightly forward from the waist, this is a more natural way for the body to perform the movement.
3. Face Pulls
These are my favourite shoulder exercise, hands down! They can be performed with a cable machine or with excercise bands. Great for the side and rear delts and encorporating the complex structures around the rotator cuff and shoulder girdle. I usually put these at the end of a workout and perform a higher number of reps, usually around 15 but you can go higher if you wish, I don’t usually recommend going heavy with low reps on these. I like to focus on form and really getting a good contraction. Face pulls are superb for improving posture in the golf swing and in general and help even out imbalances between the chest and front delts and upper back. Overall a must for any golfer.
4. Internal And External Rotations
These have been in my shoulder training toolbox since I began going to the gym, they should be in yours too! It strengthens the tiny muscles in the rotator cuff, the ones that keep your shoulder joint stable and safe! I like to use Dumbbells but many people prefer cables and bands, personal preference really. This exercise is basically holding a dumbbell or cable with your upper arm against your side and forearm 90 degrees to it and rotate inwards or outwards. They can also be performed with your upper arm perpendicular to the floor with the same 90 degree bend at the elbow and again rotate from the shoulder. This exercise should be performed with a very light weight.
That’s it, the best 4 exercise for strong, powerful and healthy shoulders!
Check out my other posts here on great golf exercises for other body parts and muscle groups.
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Golfer and gym goer. I enjoy helping people achieve their golfing goals by providing exercises and workouts to improve performance and giving people insights into my own golf training.