Do this one-minute exercise three times a week to avoid a common golf injury

October 27, 2023
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Shoulder injuries are the second-most common injuries Golf Digest Certified Fitness Trainer Lauren McMillin sees. (The most common are to the lower back.) A shoulder injury could end your season, but there is a simple exercise you can do to prevent this from happening. McMillian recommends doing this shoulder-stabilizing move three to four times per week.

Grab a yoga block or an object of a similar size, like a shoe box. Hold it in between your palms with your arms extended in front of you. Keeping your arms straight, lift the block over your head, testing your shoulders’ full range of motion.

Now pull your shoulders back and down, locking them into place. Next, apply pressure to the block with your palms, pushing your hands toward each other. Engage your forearms, maintain that shoulder position, and try to lift your arms up again. You’re not going to be able to lift your arms nearly as high. Do six to eight slow reps.

McMillin demonstrates the exercise in this video:

“This exercise is a great way to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint,” McMillin says. “Especially those related to shoulder flexion (lifting the arms in front of the body). While the golf swing asks the shoulders to move in multiple directions, flexion is one of the key actions that determine the effectiveness and consistency of the swing.”

This exercise also strengthens and engages the latissimus dorsi. You probably know these muscles as the "lats."

“The latissimus dorsi is one of the largest muscles in the body,” McMillin says. “When it’s moving and functioning properly, golfers can turn, move, and breathe with ease. If this muscle is tight or restricted, however, it might result in lower back pain, pelvic instability, limited shoulder range of motion, poor posture, and a frustrating swing.”

Do this simple exercise three or four times per week and you’ll be less likely to suffer from a shoulder injury.

“The combination of strength and mobility helps support the shoulder joints while increasing range of motion, improving posture, and preventing injury,” McMillin says.