Back and Shoulder Exercises

By Michael Joseph

No matter how good your technique or how smooth your swing is, all golfers are susceptible to injuries. The golf swing is not a natural motion and puts a lot of stress on muscles, joints and ligaments. Then there's the stress of the miles of walking, bending down, squatting, and carrying a bag.

The back is the most injury prone part of the golfer's body from the torque put on the lower back. The shoulder is another problem area from overuse of the tendons and ligaments. Rotator cuff problems and tendinitis can result.

In the golf swing, the back and shoulders generate the power to increase clubhead speed. Both are needed to make a full turn on the backswing. The lower back is the main creator of torque, which powers the swing. The back is also critical to remain balanced and within your spine angle throughout your swing. By strengthening both your back and shoulders, you will greatly reduce your risk of injury and potentially improve your golf swing.

Lateral and Front Raises

Start with light dumbbells, 5-pounders at first. Keep your knees slightly bent, shoulder back and your chest high. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms at your side. Lift weights parallel to ground in a smooth controlled motion, keep your palms facing the ground. For variations on the exercise, try the lift while keeping your thumbs pointed up and thumbs pointing down.

For front raises, start with your arms at your side and your palms facing behind you. Slowly and smoothly lift the dumbbells so that your arms are straight out and the back of your hands are facing up. The front and variations of the lateral raise will work out different parts of the shoulder. Start with repetitions of five to seven until you build up strength.

Back Extensions

Lie on your stomach on a mat. Place your arms at your sides so that your hands are by your hips.

Raise your head and shoulders off the mat as high as comfortably possible. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then lower. This strengthens the lower back by lifting and holding the weight of your upper body. Other variations include raising your head, shoulders and feet at the same time. You can also raise your head, shoulders, feet and extend your arms (like a Superman pose).

Big Ball Back Extensions

Lie down with the ball under the belly and hips, legs straight out behind you or slightly bent. Place yours hands behind your head. Lower your upper body down over the ball so that your chest is flush against it. Then squeeze the lower back to lift the chest off the ball. Raise up until the body is straight (don't hyperextend). Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Military Press

Using a dumbbell in each hand, start with your hands at your sides and level with your head. Your palms should be facing your ears. Place one foot ahead of the other with knees slightly bent. Exhale as you push the weights straight over your head. Slowly lower them to shoulder height and repeat. Try to lift the weights together so the dumbbells are raised at the same speed. This should be a controlled and fluid movement. The muscles used are the shoulders, triceps and upper back. Start with 10 repetitions with a weight you can control.

About The Author

Michael Joseph is a golf industry professional in New Jersey. He has worked as a golf professional, instructor, and clubmaker. Joseph's education includes a degree in golf operations management and a certification in club-fitting from The Golf Academy of America (formally the San Diego Golf Academy). Joseph shares his golf experience and knowledge with others by writing articles for Demand Media Studios and


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