How Your Setup is Causing Your Left Arm to Bend

I bet you've never heard this explanation for why your left arm is bending at the top of your swing before!

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Eric
I feel what contributes to this problem is griping the club in the left hand before the shoulder shrug to get good posture. I don’t have the greatest everyday posture from many years in front of the computer, so even though I have shrugged my shoulders into neutral or military posture the club has been set in my left hand with rounded shoulders. The dice is to lean the club on my leg as I shrug and then grip with good posture and I tilt forward from my hips. I also have to keep a mindful eye on my right shoulder, making sure I grab the club from underneath or I have a hiked up right shoulder. Either shoulder hiked up in this inward and tensed position seems to inhibit proper swing plane and rotation. Any thoughts on how to do this better?
January 24, 2021
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. If you are in military posture it may be hard to get the arm/club into correct position. Without seeing how you perform setup procedure it would be tough to know what could be improved in sequence to make it easier.
January 24, 2021
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Eric
Wow, this is such a good video. I kind of figured out this problem on my own, but this was a great explanation of the why. Setting up with the left arm, even with good posture and alignment, I noticed I would get this strong flexed left shoulder. I was struggling with my left arm wanting to push the club versus weight shift right side pull. At some point my body would stop rotating and I my arms would finish the swing into a flying right elbow and an over the top pull or hook. The strong left should pointed my shoulder right and I would subconsciously leave my right hip open, pointing left to compensate. I started setting up in a good posture, bending from hips, keeping shoulders from rounding, minimal knee flex first and then setting the club with the left arm hanging. If you set the arm with the club first and the set your posture/alignment, at least with me, the left arm gets buried into the side with a strong tense/flexed shoulder. Anyway, this initial posture set up and alignment without the club did wonders for me. Thanks for a great video!!!!
May 6, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Eric. Love the post. Happy to hear!
May 6, 2020
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Stephen
I quit playing golf in 1970 out of frustration. I have decided to start back again as I always thought golf is the ultimate challenge in sports. This video has helped me understand so much. I'm an avid bowler (and good at it) and hoping that now I have learned the "grip and rip" approach does not work in bowling will also help me become a decedent golfer at the young age of 76.
April 5, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Stephen. Awesome. I know we have the tools to make you a successful golfer. In my opinion, way easier than bowling.
April 5, 2020
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Ian
Hi Craig- Thanks for your usual perceptive comments and yes please keep yelling at me - I don't know what happened but the DTL video was an old one.
March 23, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ian. You are most welcome. Oh no. Sorry about that. I don't know why the system put your old one in the review. Ok. If you force me. I will keep yelling .
March 23, 2020
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Ian
Hi Craig. Working on this video and todays sample video lesson where he explains that the backswing can be started concurrently with the shoulders and hips (to set into the right glute ) I have discovered a problem . If I turn the hips so that my right knee is subjected to twisting I cant squat to square without knee pain ( you will recall it has been injured over the years.) So I have to restrict the movement ( not quite 45%). In the sample video Chuck says this can be compensated by a higher backswing . So the question is - when I get to add the right arm ( shortly) should this higher back lift be incorporated ? ( with both arms it is easy but not with left arm only.)
April 29, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ian. Yes, you can add the high arms once we have the support. But, I don't want to get so disconnected that we have to worry about a lot of timing to wait for reconnection.
April 29, 2020
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Mike
how do I find your favorite videos I marked ?
March 21, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Mike. Video Menu--> Videos for You--> My Favorite Videos.
March 21, 2020
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Richard
I concede Chuck has tilt at set up my comment was to how he accomplished that tilt in the two different cases.
March 15, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Richard. No worries .
March 15, 2020
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reynaldo
After finishing the back swing you bring your arms forward and the club is angling back. On the through swing does the same concept happen, except when you bring your arms back to center the club is angling forward. Thanks
March 15, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Reynaldo. I wouldn't worry much about the placement of the finish. You will arrive there due to the momentum of the release pulling you through. It is a byproduct of doing the motion prior correctly.
March 15, 2020
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Bill
I had just sent in swing review that highlighted issues I was having with how I was set up and the backswing with the arm staying straight. RJ pointed them out and said Chuck’s new video would also address my issues. Timing is everything. Craig you stated that the weight distribution at setup should be 50/50 but is it going to create a problem in the backswing if the back foot ???? has a little more weight, say 60/40 to help us ensure we have a better change of shifting our weight in the backswing.
March 15, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Bill. Ideally, 50/50 as setup. We won't argue a few percentage points here are there. But, the more you preload it will hurt rhythm/tempo and proper sequence in the way muscles fire.
March 15, 2020
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Richard
The way Chuck sets up in this video seems different from the video where he puts the club on the middle of his chest down to his pants buckle in order to measure tilt when the club hits your thigh.In that video the hips look to be set foreword and in this video the hips look more back in the stance.
March 14, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Richard. Even though you didn't see Chuck measure his tilt with the club down the sternum. He still has roughly 8-10 degrees of tilt during the demonstration.
March 15, 2020
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Pedro
Great video this is exactly what i'm struggling with now. Getting stuck and into the reverse C position. Tons of back pain
March 14, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Pedro. Fantastic. Get rotating and maintain that axis tilt!
March 14, 2020
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Pedro
You know it! Done 1080 reps! Working through it
March 14, 2020
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William
Do the arms raise at all independent of the body turning or is it 100% body turn only?
March 14, 2020
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Chuck (Certified RST Instructor)
Check out the videos on arm elevation. Type "elevation" into the search box
March 14, 2020
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John
Brilliant. I took screenshots of "How little the arm moves". Amazing . At address:
March 14, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello John. Glad you enjoyed the presentation. Arms move very little!
March 14, 2020
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W.J.
Thanks for this explanation. Is it correct that this topic is part of the 'STAY CONNECTED' issue. I saw a set of videos (from Rory MacIlroy and others ) where players and instructors advocate the use the glove-under-the-left armpit-drill. Do you agree that drill is useful. As far as I know RST does not speak about this item.
March 14, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello W.J. We do not advocate the towel, or glove underneath the arm pits. We want the shoulders to stay connected/in the box, but not the arms glued to the chest.
March 14, 2020
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William
What is the weight distribution at setup between the left and right feet? 40% left - 60% right?
March 13, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello William. The goal at setup is 50/50. Not overly preset on direction, or another.
March 13, 2020
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Patrick
Chuck, great details on the arm swing vs body rotation. I am guilty - guilty- guilty. Thanks for explaining how to stop bending the left arm and why it kills the swing. Pat
March 13, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Pat. Many thanks. Glad you enjoyed the demonstration.
March 13, 2020
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James
Looking at Chuck's setup I was somewhat surprised to see his grip alignment, as I see it this is not quite right. I am referring to the V's on his hands. Here the right hand V points to his right shoulder but his left hand V appears to be pointing to his left eye. In all the grip lessons in Rotary Swing it talks of keeping these V's parallel and with a neutral grip, pointing between the right neck and outside the right shoulder. Can you please explain this to me.
March 13, 2020
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James
In Chris Tyler's "Golf Grip Check Points" https://rotaryswing.com/golf-instruction-videos/full-swing-advanced/setup/best-way-to-grip-the-golf-club at the 5m 22sec point, Chris refers to having his right V pointing to his right shoulder and his left V pointing to his right ear. This confirms the point I made above. Perhaps Chuck is still suffering from the after effects of his 'flu!
March 13, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello James. You are correct about the standard stock RST grip with the lead hand V pointing in-between shoulder blade and trail ear. Some players have a stronger grip and others weaker. Chuck's grip in real life is stronger than the one in demonstration. I think he was hyper focused on the topic at hand. So, what is the question? Is a weaker grip allowed?
March 13, 2020
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James
A weak, strong or neutral grip I understand but it was the fact his V on his right hand was not parallel with his left hand V. Actually on looking at some of Chuck's videos on the Self Analysis, the one where he is in shorts and using an 8 iron (last video), I would say his grip is more neutral. On the one I mention here his right hand V appears to be pointing just to the right of his right ear when I used the zoom tool. My input was not so much questioning, more observational.
March 13, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello James. Gotcha. After speaking with Chuck he says his grip tends to slip a little more neutral when he hasn't swung in awhile.
March 13, 2020
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Bob
Is there a rule of thumb for how high your hands should be or how far back they should be at the top of the backswing? I find myself trying to get them high and back and thereby bending my left elbow. Thank you.
March 13, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Bob. 5 Minutes to the Perfect Backswing. The arms will elevate to the base of the pectorals and hands over the trail shoulder. Elevation is a variable in RST, but that's our goal.
March 13, 2020
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Bob
Thank you Craig...do you mean just over the trail shoulder? Or should it be somewhat higher than that? Thank you!
March 13, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Bob. The height will be a little determined by you. The amount of elevation and flexion. Some players lack the flexibility so they delete the elevation because it is a variable in RST. Take a look at How to Maintain Club Head Speed as You Get Older and 3 Functions of the Right Arm for good visual.
March 13, 2020
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Bob
I am working on improving my flexibility in that area by laying flat on a firm form roller, and raising a plastic pvc pipe with a donut weight through it over my head. I believe this is the best stretch for this unless you have another suggestion. I am only 5'6" and 61 years old with current driver clubhead speed of 105 and ball speed of 155. I have not been taking advantage of as wide an arc as I can make and watching these videos you mentioned and the stretching will help me make a wider swing and more clubhead speed. Thanks for all your help!
March 13, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
My pleasure Bob. Keep at it!
March 13, 2020
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Arthur
Really good. Your explanations just keep on re-enforcing the simplicity of the movements. I can easily drift but these bring me back on track. Thank you.
March 13, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Arthur. Keep it simple. Thanks for the compliments.
March 13, 2020
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Steve
Chuck, this is the perfect explanation of why my left arm collapses. Every lesson that I have had with many pros never addressed this issue. They virtually ignored it even when I begged them to change it. Thank you for RST. You have been a God Send when it comes to understanding the proper way of swinging the club . Thank you.
March 13, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Steve. You're most welcome.
March 13, 2020
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Thomas
This video was for me! Thanks!
March 13, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Thomas. Glad you found it enlightening!
March 13, 2020
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Dave
Outstanding. I have not been turning enough - but I thought I was. And I had weight on front leg. What a difference a few adjustments have made. Thanks.
March 13, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Great Dave!
March 13, 2020

All right. We're going to do this video indoors today because if you're sick or struggling with the coronavirus right now, as you know, with rotary swing, you don't need to be outside. You need to be inside, standing in front of a mirror like I am and working on your swing and paying attention to what you see, not what you feel. And what I'm going to talk about today has to do with both of those things. It's what people feel they're doing in their setup, and don't realize it. And don't see what's really going on. And it's causing their left arm to fold at the top. Now I've already done a video on what causes the left arm to fold. We're talking about the right arm and that's a great video. I highly highly recommend you take a look at that video, but this one's a little bit different.

I'm going to talk about how you're set up. Believe it or not is actually going to cause your left arm to have to fold at the top. And I'm gonna get a little bit more involved cause not just the set it and when, talk about how your weight's moving during the backswing. So, but first let's talk about setup because this is something that probably nobody thinks about when they're dealing with their left arm collapsing at the top. So if you've got this Mitt left arm at the top, listen up because you probably don't realize given how I see people set up all the time, how you're making it impossible for your left arm to stay straight at the top. So let me do this first. I want you to pay close attention. Tell me if this looks like a good golf setup to you. Would you be okay if you set up like this me now, some of you are probably going to catch on and don't have very much access tilt. So what about now? Is this a perfect golf setup? Is this how I should be set up to the ball?

Or does this look different or better? Do you notice one or two? Which one do

You think is a proper setup and why? Here's the thing that you don't realize? It didn't take much movement for me to completely change all of the things that were going to happen. After my setup, in my backswing, what I did is most people feel, especially with irons, they want to get really on top of the ball. They know they need to hit the ball first. And so they're terrified of hitting the ball fat. So they get on top of it. And this is how a lot of times people get very right-side dominant with a high right shoulder, open shoulders, no axis, tilt, et cetera. But what you're also doing is you're taking your left arm and effectively moving it across your chest before we ever start the swing. Now the left arm, and this is really important. So pay close attention to this. The left arm relatively barely moves during the entire backswing.

It's hardly doing anything. And so first off understand that if your left arm is collapsing at the top and you're working through the dead drill and you know, you're added the club now and all of a sudden your left arm is bent at the top. You're swinging your left arm too much. It's that simple. I'm going to show it to you just a second. But if you're set up already with your left arm, deep across your body, then you're already setting up in a way that's going to make it impossible for, to stay straight. So I'm doing this and I start swinging my left arm at all. Well, it's already hit my chest now, where am I going to go? My left arm has to fold in order for the club to keep moving. And I'm also presetting in the first setup, the incorrect setup, more weight on my left side.

The more weight you put on your left side, the harder it is for you to make a full shoulder turn. The only way you're going to do it is to make a huge hip turn, because the way that you restrict the muscles, how they can naturally move in LinkedIn in order to turn your torso to get to the top. So what I did in the second setup, which was the correct setup in case you were wondering, which was right, is that now instead of setting into my left arm and smashing it against my chest and putting all this weight on my left side, I'm letting my left arm hang freely. So it's nice and relaxed. It's not squished against my chest. And then as I bring my right arm under to create access tilt, my left arm is still to the side of my chest.

It's not pulled across. So now as I go to the top and I'm also from what if you're used to putting more weight on the left side, I have more weight on the right side. Now it's hard to see this stuff, unless you have force plates to measure it. You really can't just rely on what you feel. So you have to pay attention to what you see. And then what you notice happened during the backswing. If you're struggling to make a full turn, this is also going to be really important because as I've talked about numerous videos, if you don't get weight to the right side, it's virtually impossible to make a proper full turn to the top. You'll either overturn your hips, which creates a ton of problems, or you just simply won't be able to make a full turn. And this is what I see happen all the time. People kind of get hung on the left side. The left arm is kind of buried across the chest and then they can only turn this far at the top. So this doesn't feel like a very full golf swing solely bend their left arm in order to get the arms to the top, then your swing is going to be a hundred percent arms, no matter how good your intentions are, you're going to be doomed to swing. All

Left arm are all arms right arm, probably.

So instead, what I'm going to show you is if I'm set up correctly and as I go to the top notice here, I've got more weight on the right side, but I've already almost made a full shoulder return. If not a perfectly full 90 degree turn. And my left arm is parallel to the ground. What I see all the time, when the people set up stacks on the left side, arms starting to bend and this their arms are up here and they've only turned 70 degrees. This is not a full golf swing is not a turn. You haven't loaded up any of these muscles in your body. You're going to be forced to fire with just your arms. So instead do this for me as an experiment. I want you to put all your weight on your left side and

Now try and make a turn. You're going to find

That you can only turn about halfway and now put all your way on your rights and actually even lift your left foot up in the air. And now you'll see that you can make pretty huge turn pretty easily. You have to get weight on the right side. And if one of the people who kind of presets there, wait, wait, left side, and then doesn't make a good shift over the right. You're going to be doomed to always having your left arm, have to fold at the top. So how little does your left arm really move is what I want to show you next. So now that I know I have to have my arm out here in front of my chest, not pulled across my chest, that set up and I probably need more weight on my right foot at address than you're probably used to.

If you're used to stacking on the left side. Now I know that focus on just turning, turning, turning, making this big body turn. And my arm swing is very little. Let me show you. So I'm going to turn, turn, turn, turn. That's pretty full swing right there right now. How much did my arms move? Well, I'm going to keep my arms exactly where they are here and I'm going to move back up to front. This is how much my arm move to get to that point in the swing from address to here is it look at how little movement that is. If your arms are moving more than this, they're simply moving too much. And that's why they're bending. The arm has to bend. At some point you can't. If the arms move any more than what I just showed you, they're moving too much.

Remember my mantra for the backswing big body turn tiny little arm swing. If your arms are swinging to the top and they're taking over and you're already preset on the left side with the left arm, stuck into the chest, kind of back behind the middle of your body. Of course your left arm is going to bit. If you're not getting weighed over the right side, you're not going to be able to make a full turn. So of course your left arm is going to bend. Cause it's going to be the only thing you can keep bringing the club up to a position that you feel you have some power. That's look it down the line. I'll show you the same thing. So getting a proper setup now just gonna focus on turning, turning, turning, turning, turning, turning full turn.

That's it

Go back to address it's. As far as my arms move, they're going from here to here. Why would my arm ever been it won't does it need to, unless you're moving your arms too much, your arms will again, move too much. If you're setting all your way on the left side, so you can't turn properly and you're already presetting your arm deep back behind you, instead of having it out in front of you. And if you're swinging them too much to begin with your arms, relatively, barely move in the swing. And that is one of the key secrets of rotary saline and understanding how to build consistency is that the arms and wrists create the greatest variability in the swing because they traveled the greatest distance and you can manipulate the club dramatically just with tiny little movements in your wrists and arms. So we want to minimize those movements.

You want as little movement in your arms and hands and wrists and shoulders and all that stuff as humanly possible. And the majority of the movement comes from here. I always tell people the same thing. If that club is moving during the backswing, it's because your body's turning not because you're trying to do something with your arms. So again, if your arms folding, take a look at the other video I did about talking about how the right arm staying straight, being the governor of width, maintains that radius in the swing and also pay attention to your setup. You probably need to get your setup dialed in because most people don't set up correctly. They pull their arms across their chest. They're too much weight on the left side, et cetera. And that will also make it impossible for you to keep your left arm straight at the top.

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