How your shoulder blades can affect your club face: Part 2

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This article was co-authored with Chris Gibson, an Australian AAA-rated golf professional. His teaching philosophy focuses on simplicity and longevity in the game, providing help for golfers at all levels. He focuses on interpreting information from technology and applying it in the simplest way possible to help his students

Before you begin reading this article, make sure you have read Part 1 in this series, otherwise not much of this is going to make sense! Here, in Part 2, Chris and I are going to offer solutions that will help you to develop better stability and control of those all-important shoulder blades.

But first, in response to requests for a more detailed photographic explanation, we will also show you the good and bad of scapula-positioning when standing upright and in a golf setup. The two models featured are an underdeveloped teen who has poor scapula control, and a top-100 player in the world who has five years of scapula stability training under his belt (in addition to other training).

You can see that in Pic 1; the teen had a lack of bulk and activation in the muscles surrounding the scapula and it appears to poke through the skin. This leads to the right shoulder sitting very low and internally rotated at set up (Pics 2 and 3), which as we suggested in Part 1 of this article, makes it ultimately more difficult to control the clubface consistently. Where as the more trained athlete (whilst still not perfect: right shoulder is low) holds his scapula better in standing and set up, which we believe gives him a better chance to repeatedly control the clubface efficiently in his action.

Pic 1


Teen (left) and top-100 player in the world.

Pic 2


Teen (left) and top-100 player in the world.

Pic 3


Teen (left) and top-100 player in the world.

Hopefully that clears things up for you and we can finally offer you a solution to training those scaps. The scapula is notoriously difficult to control; instinctively, we generally have poor awareness and usually aren’t very strong or stable in the muscles that surround it. Training of these muscles can be be tricky and complicated, so we have tried to simplify it for you by delivering two sets of simple exercises that we use as a starting point for many of the players (elite or otherwise) that we work with.

These simple drills can be done using either a piece of rubber tubing or more ideally, the training piece you will see in the photos called the Gravity Fit Thoracic Pro.

We have created one mini program for home and one mini program for the practice range. The movements are simple and don’t require any kind of in-depth anatomical knowledge to perform them correctly. We have supplied photos and descriptions of how to perform the movements, but also welcome questions and queries.

Home Exercises

Circuit – 3 Rounds – 30 seconds of rest between exercises.

  1. Tubing Push Out – Thoracic Pro – 12 reps
  2. Wall Push Up – Thoracic Pro – 12 reps
  3. Set Up Posture Drill – Thoracic Pro – 45 secs
  4. Waist to Waist Turns – Thoracic Pro – 10 reps
1. Tubing Push Out
  • Purpose: Training scapula awareness, control and endurance
  • Method: Stand tall, press arms forward keeping shoulder blades and spine connected to back paddle, turn palms up as you near end range. Control back to start position and repeat.

2. Wall Push Up
  • Purpose: Training scapula awareness, control and endurance.
  • Method: Stand tall, lower your chest toward the wall keeping your shoulder blades and spine connected to back paddle. Control back to start position and repeat.

3. Set Up Posture Drill
  • Purpose: Training scapula awareness, control and endurance in golf setup.
  • Method: In golf set up with hands in tubing, turn shoulders/elbows/hands outwards. Gently pulse hands against tubing.
4. Waist to Waist Turns

Purpose: Training scapula awareness, control and endurance in rotation movement pattern.

Method: In golf setup with hands in tubing, turn shoulders/elbows/hands outwards. Turn into backswing then turn into follow through. Maintain shoulder/elbow/hand positioning all the way through.

Range Drills

Circuit – 10 rounds – 20 secs rest between drills

  1. Set Up Posture Drill – Thoracic Pro – 20 secs
  2. Waist to Waist Turns – Thoracic Pro – 10 reps
  3. Preset, Backswing to Impact – 5 reps
  4. Preset, backswing to hit ball – 3 reps
1. Set Up Posture Drill
  • Purpose: Training scapula awareness, control and endurance in golf setup.
  • Method: In golf set up with hands in tubing, turn shoulders/elbows/hands outwards. Gently pulse hands against tubing.

2. Waist to Waist Turns
  • Purpose: Training scapula awareness, control and endurance in rotation movement pattern.
  • Method: In golf set up with hands in tubing, turn shoulders/elbows/hands outwards. Turn into backswing then turn into follow through. Maintain shoulder/elbow/hand positioning all the way through.

3. Preset, Backswing to Impact
  • Purpose: Practice first move, top of backswing and back to impact in controlled manner. Opportunity to discover what positions feel like with quality scapular control under low load (moving slowly).
  • Method: Set club parallel to ground with good shoulder position (connected scapulae), slowly swing up to top of 3/4 backswing and back to impact.

4. Preset, backswing to hit ball
  • Purpose: Taking the movement patterns and control of the scapula and applying it to hitting balls.
  • Method: Set club parallel to ground with good shoulder position (connected scapulae), complete rest of swing and impact at normal speed

The equipment featured in the exercises is called a Gravity Fit Thoracic Pro. It was conceived and designed by a world leading scientist in the field of physiotherapy. Designed for the specific task of training stability and strength in the shoulder girdle and scapula, it also works really nicely when applying that quality to dynamic rotation in a golf swing context. We love using it with our students and you can get one here: www.golffitproshop.com.

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