Sandy LaBauve is one of the world's best beginner, junior and women's instructors. She is listed as one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers and is Founder and Creative Consultant for the LPGA Junior Girls Golf Club.
Learn Why Firing the Left Shoulder Muscles Will Help You Hit Longer Shots (and How To Do It)
We have relaxed the muscles in the front with our last exercise, now we need to fire those muscles in the back of the arm. Denis is going to keep his fingers in an open position, palms facing forward, and put a Spiky Ball underneath his armpit with the feeling that it is trying to sneak out the back of the armpit. Positioning the Spiky Ball here, and arms extended down, then the shoulder comes down where he starts to feel the stretching through the triceps, through the shoulder blade muscles, through the rotator cuff, what we call the ceratodus muscles down near the lower traps.
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Shoulder Muscles Increase Swing Trajectory
All these muscles are around the shoulder blade and stabilize the shoulder blade. That then softens off the upper traps straight away, you can see how soft that becomes, and you can see the muscles firing through the chains in the shoulder blade area. What I am going to have Denis do next is a little bit of oscillation with his left arm so that he starts to feel it through the top of the left arm. This will fire the muscles on the back side of the shoulder and reduce the tension through the top of the traps.
If we turn Denis around to the front now you can see that even with the Spiky Ball under his armpit his shoulder still remains on-plane. What tends to happen is that people want to put the Spiky Ball too far forward (chest side) under their armpit instead of further towards the back of the armpit, then they squeeze and go around. It is so much easier to do that way. If you see yourself doing that there is fairly good chance that it will lead to a tight left arm, so it is a chicken and egg concept.
Learn How to Fire Your Shoulder Muscle
We need to make sure that we work our muscles from the back of the armpit. I am going to get some feedback from Denis now on what that feels like when he is in that position. Denis: I am certainly more aware of my shoulder position, I can feel that the front muscles are switched off. I am aware that the muscles in my triceps and behind the shoulder blade are working more.
Ramsay: We can progress on from there because we usually find that down the chain your lower abdominal muscles tend to switch off when you have a tight left arm. Whenever we see a golfer with a tight left arm usually their lower abdominals are blown out. You can see in Denis that the muscles in this area are actually firing and he is keeping a long extension through this area. By doing this he is actually helping his sequencing further down through his body. We will not get Denis to get into the set up position and he can tell us how he feels through his shoulders and torso.
Denis: Once again, I am well aware of the left shoulder area and I am feeling softer in that region. But I am also more aware of my triceps muscle and my postural muscles in the area of my shoulder blade. Ramsay: How does it feel on takeaway now? Denis: I am feeling a little more coordinated on the takeaway. Ramsay: This is a simple exercise you can do to actually fire those muscles in the back. Once again always use the Spiky Ball or a club to get back into set up position so that you are getting some good feedback so that you are tying in your physiology with your technical skills.
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