TOP 3 PLaces you're Losing Power in the golf swing


As a disclaimer it is always a good idea to get your movement evaluated by a movement professional, especially if you are dealing with pain (learn more here). It is always better to have a specific plan for your specific issues. Every golfer is different and we move differently when in pain. 

Thoracic spine is where the majority of rotation occurs in the spine.

Thoracic spine is where the majority of rotation occurs in the spine.

This subject doesn’t get enough exposure. Limited access to full range of motion limits your potential for maximum POWER output.

As a sports chiropractor, I fix issues of the spine every day. The reason most people visit our office is because they have pain with sport. The majority of them have pain because they don’t move well. When we improve the way they move, not only do they become pain free, but they begin to develop opportunities they didn’t previously have. In golf, that could mean more of a turn in the backswing, better X-factor stretch, more clubhead speed, better control of the club through impact, more consistency, less fatigue, and more!

The focus of this article is to provide a few ideas for increasing (efficient) rotation which directly effects POWER. There are loads of articles out there referring only to thoracic (see image) mobility. However, this is only part of the puzzle for increasing club-head speed and altering movement patterns. Many other factors contribute, including (but not limited to) the range of movement available at the hips and shoulders. 

Rotation in golf comes down to three things: mobility, stability, and sequence. Notice the order. You must first desire and attain mobility before attempting stability, then train sequence. If you have an issue with any one of these three, your brain will find a different (not necessarily the most efficient or powerful) route of movement to complete a task (in this case, golf course carnage). When our brain has to start asking for help in movement, we begin to develop compensations. Compensations are the crutch of all athletes. They can lead to overuse issues that cause and further compensation.

That is one rabbit hole you want to stay out of.

Rotational movement tends to only be talked about in the thoracic spine, as mentioned before. The reason being, if you can’t rotate through the thoracic spine you may have to call upon the lumbar (low back) spine to rotate. Think of the low back as the knee of the spine. It generally only likes to move forward and back. Excessive movement in any other direction can lead to problems. Simply put, the lumbar spine doesn’t like to rotate, especially at speed.

Kinematics of the low back during the golf swing.

Kinematics of the low back during the golf swing.

When swinging the golf club, we must remember that we are not simply rotating. We are also flexing, extending and side bending throughout the swing. As a result, too much lumbar rotation, extension, and lateral flexion (side bend) when in the top of the backswing; especially through the high-force phase of the downswing and follow through, can increase the incidence of lower back pain and risk of injury. As a result, good range of motion in the thoracic spine and hips can help reduce the amount of compensatory movements in the swing. 


Hip self-assessment. 

Thoracic spine self-assessment.


Shoulder self assessment. 


1. Our approach here is first removing areas of tightness by rolling (Mobility).

Rolling the thoracic spine improves out ability to extend which then allows for improved rotation. 

Locking the ribs down adds to the effectiveness of the rolling. 

Breathing adds to the effectiveness of opening up the ribs and the muscles associated with the t-spine.

*Be careful*

There are a few ways you can injure yourself doing this technique. Stay above the pelvic crest and well below the ribs. The ball I am using is just a mini-soccer ball. 

Breathing here again adds to the effectiveness of the mobilization. In that regard we are also getting a little bit of a stretch, so this one has a dual effect.

Another trick to this technique not shown in the video is to raise the arm up over head or across the chest. 

Give that a try to really improve your shoulders glide over the rib cage.

Rolling the glutes are a great way to start opening up the hip. 

First do some searching around the glutes and find the worst areas. Then, focus on the 3 worst. 

When you stop one of the 3, take a big breath in and hold while you squeeze the muscle. As you breathe out, relax the muscle and try to let the foam roller sink in deeper. 

2.    Improve range of motion in previously restricted areas by stretching those areas.

*(typical advise is to never stretch without first rolling)*

Breathing, again, will help enhance the effects of freeing up restrictions. Expanding the ribs adds tension to surrounding musculature. 

Pecs can be a limiting factor in really improving in this stretch. 

This stretch has a fair amount of technique to it, to really get the most out of it.

Great way to start opening up the hips. The glutes, especially glute med, can restrict flexion and internal rotation of the hip. 

3.  Strengthening those areas (Stability).

Once you have improved the ability to move in a certain range of motion we want to show the brain. These exercises help integrate that range of motion and better movement. 


Some of these are advanced moves. Each person will have differing abilities to do some of these exercises. For more information on how you can improve your specific limitations, contact us.