CALL US TODAY 310-751-0635

Top 15 Golf Shoulder Exercises for Better Performance

Top 15 Golf Shoulder Exercises for Better Performance


If you’re passionate about golf, you know that a flawless swing is the holy grail of this sport. Your shoulders are the architects of that perfect swing.

Here at The Movement Schopp, we understand that maintaining shoulder health is essential for peak performance, whether you’re a weekend warrior or a seasoned pro.

Read on to unlock your full swing potential and avoid shoulder pain with these top 15 golf shoulder exercises that enhance strength, flexibility, and injury prevention.

How do you use shoulders in golf swing?

Research shows that shoulder strength is essential not only for golf but also for overall upper-body function. Strong shoulders provide stability, power, and control, all of which are crucial for a successful golf swing. In addition to strength-building exercises, incorporating targeted exercises and shoulder stretches for golf can further enhance your shoulder health. Here are three effective exercises to enhance your shoulder strength:

1. Dumbbell Shoulder Press

  • Sit or stand with your back straight and dumbbells in hand, one in each.
  • Raise the dumbbells to shoulder height, palms facing forward.
  • Perform three sets of 10-12 repetitions to target overall shoulder strength.

2. Push-Ups

  • Assume a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes on the ground, and your body in a straight line.
  • Bend your elbows to lower your chest while ensuring your body is in a straight line.
  • Push back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.
  • Start with 2 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

3. Bent-Over Rows

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bend at your hips, keeping your back straight, and let the dumbbells hang in front of you.
  • Bend your elbows and squeeze your shoulder blades as you pull the dumbbells towards the hips
  • Lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position.
  • Complete 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

Why do my shoulders hurt after golf?

Why do my shoulders hurt after golf?

Experiencing shoulder discomfort after a round of golf is not uncommon, and several factors can contribute to this issue.

Here are some common reasons for golf shoulder pain:

Overuse and Poor Swing Mechanics

Repetitive swinging and inefficient swing mechanics can strain the shoulder muscles and joints and place undue stress and discomfort on the upper arm and shoulders

Exercise to consider:

  • Shoulder Blade Squeezes: Stand tall and squeeze your shoulder blades together to improve posture and relieve tension.
  • Lat Pulldowns: Use a lat pulldown machine to target your lats and upper back, which indirectly benefits shoulder stability.

Lack of Warm-Up and Flexibility

Based on a study, a lack of warm-up of the dominant arm and limited shoulder blade flexibility can elevate the chances of injury, strains, and soreness.

Exercise to consider:

  • External Rotation with Resistance Band: Strengthen your rotator cuff muscles and improve shoulder flexibility with external rotation exercises using a resistance band.
  • T-Raises: Similar to Y-raises, but creating a “T” shape to target the middle traps and shoulders.

Impact and Follow-Through

The impact and follow-through phases of the golf swing can stress the shoulder joint if shoulder motion is not executed correctly. Improper follow-through can lead to an abrupt stop in motion, affecting shoulder health.

Exercise to consider:

  • Wall Angels: Against a wall, perform this exercise to improve shoulder mobility and posture, helping to alleviate discomfort.
  • Face Pulls: Use a rope attachment on a cable machine to work on the rear deltoids and upper back.

Can you play golf with bad shoulders?

Playing golf with shoulder issues is possible, but it requires careful consideration of your condition and some adjustments to your golf game too.

Before continuing to play with golfers shoulder pain, consult with a personal trainer or a healthcare professional, preferably one with expertise in sports medicine or orthopedics, to assess the extent of your specific diagnosis, whether it’s a rotator cuff injury, arthritis, or another condition. Here are some exercises to maintain shoulder function:

Shoulder Pendulum Swing

  • Stand and lean forward slightly, supporting yourself with a table or chair.
  • Let your affected arm hang down.
  • Gently swing your arm in a circular motion clockwise and counterclockwise.
  • Perform this exercise for 1-2 minutes daily to increase blood flow and reduce stiffness in the shoulder.

Isometric Shoulder Contractions

  • Sit or stand with your back straight.
  • Place your hands on your thighs with your palms facing down.
  • Push your hands into your thighs, engaging your shoulder muscles.
  • Hold the contraction for 5-10 seconds, then release.
  • Repeat this exercise for 10-15 repetitions, working both shoulders.

Range of Motion Exercises

  • Gently move your shoulder through its range of motion in various directions, such as forward, backward, and in circles.
  • Perform these movements slowly and without force, focusing on maintaining flexibility.

How do you prevent shoulder injuries in golf?

How do you prevent shoulder injuries in golf?

Preventing shoulder injuries in golf is crucial for maintaining your game and overall shoulder health.

Exercises aimed to increase strength and power directly benefit your swing, surpassing traditional exercises in effectiveness.

Here are some exercises to help safeguard your shoulders against significant stress and risk of serious injury playing golf:

Arm Circles

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Extend your arms to the sides at shoulder height.
  • Make small and large circular motions with your arms in both directions.
  • Continue for 20-30 seconds to enhance shoulder mobility.

Shoulder Stretch

  • Stand or sit with your back straight.
  • Reach your right arm across your chest.
  • Use your left hand to gently pull your right arm closer to your chest.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and then switch sides.
  • This stretch increases shoulder flexibility and reduces the risk of injury.

Scapular Retraction

  • Stand or sit with your back straight.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as if trying to hold a pencil between them.
  • Hold the squeeze for 5-10 seconds, then release.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions to enhance scapular stability.


In golf, safeguarding your shoulders is paramount. Start with proper warm-ups and stretches to enhance flexibility. Strengthening exercises fortify key shoulder muscles to avoid pain. Additionally, ensure your swing mechanics’ proper technique is sound to avoid shoulder pain. By taking these steps, you can enjoy golf while preventing shoulder injuries and ensuring a long-lasting love for the game.

For more insights and specialized guidance on golf fitness and shoulder injury prevention, consider visiting our golf rehab services. The Movement Schopp’s full range of expertise in physical therapy services can further enhance your golfing experience and shoulder health.

a man standing in front of a rack of dumbs.

William Schopp, PT, DPT, CF-L1, TPI, TRS-C

Owner and Founder of The Movement Schopp

"We help everyday athletes like YOU bounce back from injuries and get back to performing at their highest levels!"