The most common injuries for women golfers are muscle strains, tendinitis and ligament sprains to the wrists and hands. The collapsing of the wrists at the top of the backswing due to an increased carrying angle significantly contributes to these injuries. However, by achieving a wider triangle position of the elbows and hands at the top, it allows for the elbows to support the weight of the club instead of the hands, wrists and forearms carrying all the weight. This position helps to reduce injury potential and is a better position for improved shot making.
As with making any swing change, the best way to combat this problem is to first address the physical characteristics that, when improved, will facilitate a golfer’s ability to learn a new technique more easily, more permanently and more safely.
To enable the elbows to be positioned outside the hips at address (See picture #5) instead of pointed inside the hips (See picture #4) due to an excessive carrying angle, strengthening the middle and upper back muscles between the shoulder blades is extremely helpful toward achieving this position and then maintaining the position throughout the swing.
Demonstrated in this article is a very helpful exercise for strengthening the muscles of the upper back and shoulder blades. The exercise is called the “Standing Arm Slide”. To perform this exercise, stand with your back supported against the wall. Then, walk your feet 2-3 feet from the wall and slide your body down the wall by bending your hips and knees approximately 30-45° (See picture #6). Next, contract your lower abdominal muscles and attempt to flatten your lower back to the wall. Now, while keeping your low back flat to the wall, place the back of your arms flat to the wall at about shoulder height (See picture #7). Begin sliding your arms up the wall as far as possible while gently squeezing your shoulder blade muscles and attempting to maintain full contact between your body and arms with the wall (See picture #8). When you have reached the highest point possible without losing your shoulder blade muscle squeeze and body contact to the wall, then slowly return your arms down to the starting position and rest. Repeat the exercise between 10-20 repetitions.
This exercise is excellent for improving your posture at address while strengthening the upper back and shoulder blade muscles that will improve your ability to maintain the proper elbow position at address and at the top of your backswing.
For more information on golf-specific fitness training programs, performance enhancement and golf injuries, please contact David Ostrow PT at 1-888-FIT-GOLF(348-4653).