Build Strong Shoulders for a Strong Swing

Modern technology has helped many golfers add more distance to their game. Golfers need to make sure their bodies are strong enough and flexible enough to do justice to their new equipment. They also want to build strength to guard against injury.

Shoulder strength is a key factor in gaining distance. Strong shoulders provide a solid foundation for the arms and club to swing around the body with more speed and control. The following exercises will help develop shoulder strength.

Seated Row


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The first exercise is aimed at strengthening the shoulder blades.  To perform the “seated row”, attach an elastic band or resistance tubing securely in a doorway.  Then position a chair in front of the doorway. Make sure you feel a proper amount of resistance in the band.  Keep a straight back and tucked lower abdomen and begin the exercise by squeezing your shoulder blades down and together (Picture 1). 

Maintain the shoulder blade squeeze and pull your hands to your chest (2-4 seconds) in a rowing motion (Picture 2).  Hold for two seconds or one complete breath and then slowly release your arms (4-6 seconds) without ever letting go of your shoulder blade squeeze.  Repeat this exercise between 1-3 sets for 8-12 repetitions each. Do the exercise every other day.

External Shoulder Rotation

External Rotation

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The purpose of the next shoulder exercise is to strengthen the outer portion of the rotator cuff muscles that allow the shoulder joints to rotate externally as well as to decelerate during the release and follow-through phase of the golf swing.

To begin, remain sitting on a chair as with the “Seated Row” exercise but turn your body to a 45 degree angle to the doorway.  (Picture 3)  With your elbow bent to 90 degrees, rotate your right shoulder joint outward by pulling your right hand away from your stomach as far as possible in a slow and controlled fashion (2-4 seconds) (Picture 4).  Hold this end position for 1-2 breaths and then slowly release (4-6 seconds) your hand back to the starting position.  Repeat this exercise for 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions and perform the exercise on both shoulders.

Internal Shoulder Rotation

Internal RotationPicture 5IR finishPicture6

The next exercise is geared for strengthening the internal portion of the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder.  These muscles provide stability to the shoulder joint and allow for its rotational motion throughout the golf swing.

To begin, sit with your body angled at approximately 45 degrees to the attachment of the band in the door. Grip the band with your right hand with your elbow bent at a 90 degree angle (Picture 5).  Gently and slowly (2-4 seconds) pull your fist to your stomach by rotating your right shoulder inward but be sure to keep your torso stable and spine straight so only your arm is rotating (Picture 6).  Hold the end position for 1-2 breaths and then slowly release (4-6 seconds) the arm position back to the starting position.  Repeat this exercise for 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions and perform this exercise with both arms.




For more information about golf-specific health and fitness training, please contact FitGolf Performance Centers at 1-888-fit-golf, or check the FitGolf Performance Centers web page at



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