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In depth: Strengthen your scaps

THE scapula has a huge influence on the movement of the shoulder, which affects the elbow, the wrist and ultimately the club.

THE scapula (shoulder blade) is a bit of a strange bone in that is one of the only ones in the body that isn't connected to another bone. It essentially "floats" amongst a whole host of different muscles - 17 to be precise.

No wonder it is a difficult bone to able to control, especially if you consider that we cant see it perched on the back of the shoulder.

It also isn't one of the most glamorous parts of the body so doesn't get much attention. Not many are likely to complement you on your attractive scapulae after all!

The scapula does however have a very important role in functional movement. It has a lot of influence over movement on the shoulder and can either be a great aid or terrible restriction on simple movements like push and pull. The scapula has to be both mobile and stable, there needs to flexibility in the muscles surrounding it but also great control too.

What are the common scapula issues?

Fixed scapulae

They appear glued in one place and don’t move with the shoulder.

Muscles like pectoralis major and minor are dragging the shoulder and scapula forward and preventing it from moving backward.

Fixed

Winging scapulae

The bottom angle of the scapula (shoulder blade) points back and up.

Often caused by a combination of tight pecs and/or lack of control in serratus anterior and lower traps.

Winged

How do my scapulae (shoulder blades) relate to my golf swing?

The scapula has a huge influence on the movement and function of the shoulder, which affects the elbow, the wrist and ultimately the club. We can have fantastic range of motion in the shoulder but if we are lacking control of the scapula then it is really difficult to get the club set in the right position and we have to make an inefficient compensation somewhere else in our swing.

With the combination of mobility and stability at the scapula you should be able to perform any movement involving the shoulder with great control. Including that all important set up position and control the scapulae during your swing.

Here are a few exercises that will help you develop scapula control and awareness. These should be done on a daily basis if possible, try 3 sets of between 30-60 seconds for each exercise.

SELF MASSAGE PEC

SELF MASSAGE PEC

PURPOSE:

Reduce muscle tension / increase range of motion

POSITIONING:

Lying face down

Position spikey ball under pectoral muscle close to shoulder

Same arm elevated

FORM:

Slowly move around on the ball until you find sore spot, stay on it until pain reduces.

Move on to next spot.

No more than 2 mins in one spot

TIPS:

Try to differentiate between “good” and “bad” pain. Good pain will reduce after a 10-30 seconds. Bad pain will feel sharp and not reduce at all

Lift the hips slightly off the floor to add more pressure through the pectoral

Click here to see the range of equipment offered by Golf Fit Pro

BENT ARM CHEST STRETCH 2

BENT ARM CHEST STRETCH

PURPOSE:

Stretches pec major and internal rotators

POSITIONING:

Facing away from anchor (doorway,wall, strap)

FORM:

Step away from anchor point with arms in 90 90 position

Push torso forward and away

Aim for externally rotated position

Feel stretch in chest and under armpit

TIPS:

Watch for ribcage lifting up

DYNAMIC TURN TO RIGHT

DYNAMIC TURN TO RIGHT 2

PURPOSE:

Develop dynamic rotation whilst maintaining posture

POSITIONING:

Posture belt and knee band, arms in up position

FORM:

Stomp working through 3 speeds - 33/66/99

Make slow controlled rotations to the the right

Keep posture and balance throughout the movement

TIPS:

Watch head position, retract chin

Check form in mirror

Click here to find out about the range of training programs offered by Golf Fit Pro

PUSH OUT SCAP CONTROL

PUSH OUT SCAP CONTROL

PURPOSE:

Develop scapula awareness and control

POSITIONING:

Standing upright in athletic stance

Gravity Fit T Stabilizer / piece of tubing

Arms straight out in front with thumbs up

FORM:

Attempt to draw spine out of pelvis and stand stall

Narrow the waist and maintain equal breathing

Attempt to set shoulder blades up and in – hugging the rib cage

Make small circles with the hands

TIPS:

Watch head position, retract chin

Check form in mirror

INSIDE OUT DRILL

INSIDE OUT DRILL

PURPOSE:

Set scaps and create awareness

Activate glute in internal rotation

POSITIONING:

Ramsday Posture Belt / Tubing

One shoulder against side of wall or doorway

Using same arm, back tubing pulled across from other side

FORM:

Arm holding band is tightly tucked into back with palm turned upwards

Pulse the arm, feel muscles around scapula work

TIPS:

Try not to get too much upper trap engagement

SET UP POSTURE DRILL HANDS DOWN

SET UP POSTURE DRILL HANDS DOWN

PURPOSE:

Initial stage of exercises for development of postural awareness

POSITIONING:

Ramsay Posture Belt / Tubing

In set up position

Arms in down position

FORM:

Stomp and pulse working through 3 speeds 33-99

Maintain posture

TIPS:

Watch head position, retract chin

Check form in mirror

About the author:

Nick Randall

Nick Randall is a qualified Strength and Conditioning Coach, Presenter, Rehab Expert and Therapist.

Nick works with a number of professionals on multiple tours and is also contracted by Golf Australia and Golf Queensland to work with their elite amateur players.

Nick also works on an individual and group basis with club level golfers of all ages and abilities.

Based in Brisbane, Queensland, Nick trains and treats golfers at his private facility in the suburb of Milton.

He also has a range of online services including the world leading golf fitness app  "Golf Fit Pro". Click here for more info.

Nick's passion for golf started at age 13 and quickly developed into a complete obsession that only seems to be getting stronger with age.

He began his strong interest in fitness aged 20, pursued the relevant qualifications, decided to mix his two passions to form a career in 2010 and hasn't looked back!

To keep up to date with Nick's social media activity, click here

 

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