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The 4 Best Golf Shoulder Stretches (Free Stretching Routine)

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Golf Shoulder Stretches

The shoulders are absolutely critical in the game of golf. Every single shot you take, you are relying on your shoulders to move in unison with your body to strike the ball nice and flush. Unfortunately, shoulder mobility is not a very common thing to have in this day and age. We all spend too much time in a sedentary position and often in positions that actually hurt our shoulder mobility rather than help it.

Golfing with inadequate shoulder mobility is also an easy way to get injured, especially if you golf a lot. Taking hundreds of shots a week with a shoulder that can’t move well is a recipe for disaster! So, in today’s blog post, we are going to discuss the best golf stretches for your shoulder and how to do them!

#1 The Up and Over

The up and over is a general shoulder mobility stretch that works on your shoulder’s overall ability to rotate freely in its socket. In order to get the best results here, we need to make sure that our shoulder isn’t just mobile for golf, but that it is mobile in general.

To do the up and over, you will need to get ahold of something that is long and easy to hold on to. I usually recommend a broom stick, hockey stick, towel, or PVC pipe.

To do the up and over, follow the steps below:

  1. Grab your item as wide as you can to start. It’s important to know that this is easier to do the wider your hands are.
  2. Lock out your elbows.
  3. Begin to raise your item up and over your head landing on your low back
  4. Reverse the motion and return to your front side.

If you are particularly tight in the shoulders and chest, this might be impossible for you at the start. Instead of not doing it at all, I recommend that you go as far as you can, return to the start, and work your way up to doing a full range of motion.

If you need a visual for how to do this, you can check out this video below:

Source: Wodstar

#2 Around the world

This is another stretch that really targets general shoulder mobility and articulation. Again, I cannot stress this enough, if you know that your shoulders are a weak spot for you, you need to work on general shoulder mobility as well as golf-specific shoulder mobility. Your shoulders will thank you in the long run and your golf game will definitely improve as a result of this.

To do around the worlds, grab the same item that you were using for the up and over stretch and take the same grip.

This stretch is very hard to explain with words, so to make sure that you fully understand what to do, I’ve linked a video below that has a perfect demonstration of how to perform this stretch.

Source: Wodstar

As you can see, this stretch takes your shoulder through a huge range of motion. This stretch really starts to work on your shoulders ability to go both across and over your body, something that you do in your follow through and backswing in golf.

Just like with the up and overs, you may find that this is really difficult to do at first. If that is the case, that is okay! All you have to do is widen your hands more and limit the range of motion that you are going through. As you get better at this and as your shoulders start to be able to move better, you will find that you will be able to do this without any issue.

#3 The Cross Body Stretch


Check out Rory’s left arm here. Totally straight and reaches as far as it absolutely can across his torso. This part of the back swing is so important to nail but is really difficult if your shoulder can’t reach all the way across your body. Furthermore, if you have a hard time keeping that lead arm straight in the backswing or the downswing, this might help you clear that up.

The cross-body stretch is likely a stretch that you have seen before and probably have even done, but it’s worth repeating that this is a fundamental stretch for your golf swing; you have got to master this one.

How to do the cross-body stretch:

  1. Cross one arm across your torso
  2. Keep your elbow straight
  3. Using your opposite arm, pull your stretched-out arm further across your chest, making sure to keep that arm straight.
Source: Origym Personal Trainer Courses

#4 External Rotation Stretch

Let’s take another look at Rory here for a second. So, we covered the cross-body left arm, but let’s not take a look at what his right arm is doing. This is probably one of the most unique aspects of a golf swing, the trailing arm. The trail arm is doing something in golf that is not really seen in any other sport that involves hitting something with something else.

In this position, Rory’s right arm is doing something called external rotation. What this allows him to do is rotate just that much more and access just a little more power. However, that position is probably the least developed position for non-professional golfers.

The external rotation stretch is really simple and can be done with any of your golf clubs!

How to do the external rotation stretch:

  1. Grab one of your golf clubs. A longer iron would probably be best.
  2. Put the head of the club in your trail arm’s hand.
  3. Bend your elbow to 90-degrees and raise your arm so that your bicep is parallel to the floor and the butt of the golf club is pointing to the ground.
  4. Make sure that the club is on the outside of the arm you’re holding it in
  5. Using your opposite hand, pull the shaft of the club under your trail arm causing your hand to rotate away from your midline

In the above picture, the man holding the club would pull the shaft with his left hand to the left causing his right hand to rotate to the right.

Full Stretching Routine

  1. Up and overs: 3 sets of 30 seconds
  2. Around the worlds: 3 sets of 30 seconds each direction
  3. Cross-body stretch: 3 sets of 30 seconds each arm
  4. External rotation stretch: 3 sets of 30 seconds each arm


Question: what if my shoulders hurt during any of these?

Answer: you are likely doing the stretch too aggressively for your level of mobility. Decrease the intensity of the stretch and the range of motion. If you experience pain still, consult your doctor. You may have an injury that needs more advanced intervention.

Question: why do I feel my back and chest stretching?

Answer: your shoulder does not act on its own when it comes to mobility. Your chest muscles and your back muscles all attach to your shoulder. If you feel your chest and/or back stretching, that’s perfect! You are still improving your shoulder mobility through loosening up those muscles.

Question: How long until I start to see noticeable changes?

Answer: Depending on your level of mobility, it could take 3-6 months to see dramatic improvements in your shoulder mobility. Mobility is not something that improves after a week of stretching. Make sure to stick with it!

Question: How often should I stretch my shoulders to get the best results?

Answer: as much as your body will tolerate! There is such a thing as too much stretching, but you likely won’t exceed that point. At the very least, do these stretches once per day. For the best results, try doing them twice a day. Once in the morning and once before going to bed.

Jordan Tank, Personal Trainer, Columbus, Ohio

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