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The Question

I golf. Are there exercises I should be doing to prevent injury?

The Answer

Do exercises that strengthen and mobilitize your shoulders and hips. Lack of range of motion at any of your joints, but particularly lack of external rotation in the shoulders and internal rotation of the hips, can cause compensation patterns that lead to injury.

To give your self a general idea of your shoulder range of motion, try these two tests.

Test A: Stand with your elbows in a horizontal line with your shoulders, arms bent at 90 degrees. Rotate your arms so that your palms face forward like you are holding your arms up at a robbery.

Test B: Rotate your arms so your palms face backward. Your arms will look like goal posts.

Look to see if your arms differ in flexibility side to side and test to test. If so, pay particular attention to stretching the tighter side and strengthening the more mobile side. If your mobility differs more then 10 per cent side to side, consider making an appointment with a manual therapist. The therapist can help equalize your range of motion.

The stretch to improve shoulder flexibility uses the same motion as that of the test. For example, if it was hard for you to rotate your right arm so that your palm faced forward, attempt that movement daily. To intensify the stretch, get into the position and place your arm against a door frame. Hold for thirty seconds.

In addition, work on strengthening your rotator cuff muscles, your mid and lower traps and rhomboids. External rotation and rows are both great exercises. Videos for those exercises can be found on The Globe and Mail website, at tgam.ca/fitnessbasics.

Trainer's Tip

Sports injuries, including golf injuries like shoulder pain, back strain and epicondylitis (golfer's elbow), are often due to overuse and/or lack of an adequate warm-up. Take adequate recovery in between golf games and always warm up before you play. Look on The Globe and Mail's website for examples of dynamic mobility warm-up exercises.

Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your fitness questions at trainer@globeandmail.com.

The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment