One of the most important elements of a successful, repeatable and safe golf swing is staying “connected” throughout the entire golf swing. Staying connected means that you are able to keep your hands and arms in front of your chest from the address position all the way until the finish of your complete follow-through. In other words, the triangle position that your arms make in front of your chest, at address, should remain the same throughout the entire golf swing if your swing is to be classified as staying truly “connected”.
Most golfers, however, including many pros, do not have the physical ability to stay connected throughout their entire swings. Typically, amateurs and pros alike, lose their connected arm and hand positions with respect to their chest somewhere in the middle to latter stages of their backswing. Their arms and hands begin to travel farther than the relative degree of shoulder turn (trunk rotation) so they end up in a position that is behind their chest at the top of their backswing (See Picture #1: Disconnected Backswing) (See Picture #2: Connected Backswing).
This disconnected or what is frequently called “deep” position of the arms and hands at the top of the swing is the cause of many common swing flaws and poor shot results including casting (releasing the club with the hands and wrists early in the downswing thereby losing club head speed at impact) and coming over-the-top (swinging from an outside to inside swing path). These two swing flaws typically result in a fade or slice ball flight and/or reduced distance. Furthermore, a disconnected backswing places a tremendous amount of stress on the left shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand.
Therefore, one extremely important exercise to improve your ability to maintain a connected backswing is called the “Seated Row”. The seated row is a great strengthening exercise for your shoulder blade and upper back muscles. If these muscles get stronger, they will help you maintain the proper position of your arms and hands in front of your chest throughout your backswing so your swing can then become more powerful, more consistent and you will take stress out of your body.
To perform the seated row, attach an elastic band and/or resistance tubing securely in a doorway. Then position a chair/bench/stool away from the doorway so you feel a proper amount of resistance in the band/tubing. Keep a straight back and tucked lower abdomen and begin the exercise by squeezing your shoulder blades down and together (See Picture #3). Maintain the shoulder blade squeeze while you then pull your hands to your chest (2-4 seconds) in a rowing motion (See Picture #4). 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 and do the exercise every other day.