Creating a strong left (for a right handed golfer) arm during the backswing and downswing promotes maximum power and accuracy. Keeping the left elbow as straight as possible during these swing phases ensures the biggest swing width possible and sets up the possibility of explosive club head speed at impact. There are fewer moving parts with this swing approach as well, therefore, promoting improved accuracy and consistency.
The secret to maintaining a straight left arm during the swing is performing exercises that target strengthening of the left shoulder blade muscles. Improved strength and control of the shoulder blade muscles first will then creates a solid foundation for improved performance of the muscles of the shoulder, elbow and forearm and wrist. This is called “proximal stability”. Simply put, however, if the muscles close to the body are strong then the muscles farther from the body work better.
An excellent strengthening exercise for building strong left shoulder blade muscles is called the “Seated Row”. To perform the “Seated Row”, sit on a Swiss Ball (this promotes better posture and balance during the exercise) and attach surgical tubing with handles securely into a doorway (see picture #2). Then squeeze your shoulder blades together in back while maintaining straight elbows (see picture #3). Hold the squeezed position for two seconds and slowly release during a four-second count. Slowly release the contraction and repeat for up to two sets of ten repetitions.
A second helpful exercise for keeping a straight, firm left arm during the swing is a “Downward Arm Pull”. To perform this strengthening exercise, attach the surgical tubing with handles in the top of a doorway and turn your body so your feet are aligned with the direction of the tubing and your intended target line (see picture #4). Hold the handle of the tubing with your left hand while in your golf address position and pull the tubing down and across your body to an impact position keeping your left elbow straight (see picture #5). Hold for a two-second count and slowly release during a slow, four-second count. Repeat for up to two sets of ten repetitions.
To find out more about Body Balance for Performance and/or to locate a Body Balance for Performanceâ center near you please visit www.fitgolf.com or call 1-888-FIT-GOLF (348-4653).