Jeremy Cross analyses thoracic dysfunction; designing and re-designing the art of longevity in golf

Thoracic (Upper Back) Rotation

By Jeremy Cross

Now up and running, the PhysioHealth Golf Performance Enhancement™ (GPE™) program has been moving forward with leaps and bounds.  In September, I had the pleasure of attending the 2014 World Scientific Golf Conference on the Gold Coast, which included the top global researchers and our very own Mitchell Carney.  With the support of Mitchell, working at Mt. Waverly and Essendon, the GPE™ program has been able to reach a much broader group of golfers.  One of the biggest problems we encounter as physiotherapists is the lack of thoracic (upper back) rotation with our clients.  This article aims to review the limitations of poor thoracic rotation, and techniques to increase rotation and power in the golf swing.

To understand thoracic rotation, we need to consider physical development from a young age.  For the parents out there, remember the early days of your own children; for non-parents, think of a family member of friends.

  • Firstly, head control develops,
  • Reaching across the midline for objects and,
  • Ultimately developing enough strength to rotate and roll over.

Once rolling occurs, all future skill acquisitions (such as crawling/walking) can develop and flourish in time; this is the same with the golf swing.  As individuals grow older, thoracic rotation is the first movement lost.  With its strong link to power and golf handicap, thoracic rotation is the key to a golfers ability and longevity in the game.  Daily exercise and stretching can increase your rotational ability, however, a quick warm-up before golf will not help your game.

Try the following exercises daily to improve your rotation:

  • Sitting rotation
    • Sit upright on a chair
    • Twist and reach around, holding for 30 seconds
  • Lying rotation
    • Keep your shoulders flat
    • Pull one leg at a time over and hold for 30seconds
  • W-Turns in Golf Posture*
    • Setup with the club behind your head and arms holding the club
    • Keep your hips locked
    • Proceed to do your backswing then follow through 10 times

To really improve your game, come in and see Mitchell Carney or myself at any of our 5 PhysioHealth locations for a Golf Performance Enhancement™ screening and see for yourself how your game grows.