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Proper Muscle Activation

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Understanding how to properly activate muscles is critical for producing effortless power and speed. This video shows you exactly what proper muscle activation is for the golf swing.

Video Practice Points
  • Allow yourself to feel how much energy is needed to move the lead arm to the top of the swing
  • Try and remain as tension free as possible within the arms and shoulders

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Golf Biomechanics - Muscle Activation in the Swing

With the Rotary Swing I talk a lot about the specific muscles you want to use in the golf swing and how it needs to feel and what exactly we need to move to produce a great golf swing. A lot of times people don't, they hear the term muscle activation, but they don't understand exactly what it means, and the truth is, it's incredibly simple, and most people overdo it.

                For instance, with the golf swing takeaway video, we're talking about pulling that right shoulder blade back and down and in, and pulling that right shoulder behind your head. A lot of people turn that into an exercise program. That's not what this is all about. You don't need to wrench that shoulder back. If you're sore or tired after doing that, you're doing something wrong. Muscle activation is much, much simpler than that. In fact, it needs to be much more relaxed in order to produce proper club head speed.

                Here's how simple muscle activation needs to be though of. Take your right arm or left arm, and hold it out in front of your body and hold it there. Right now, this shoulder is properly activated to hold your arm up here with no more tension or no less tension than it takes to hold your arm up here. Now if you had a dumbbell weight in here it would be much harder, or if you were trying to hold it here really tight, it would be much harder. But you needed to hold it up there as softly as you can, and still keep it from moving. That's activation, that's the proper activation level that we typically need in a golf swing.

                To feel in the swing, take your left arm and swing your left arm up to the top, and you can feel the proper activation that it would take to hold the club up here. It's a little bit high because the right arm's not on there. But what it's going to help you feel is how little the right arm needs to do to help hold this club up here. Now what we typically see is people go to the top of their swing and they get like this because they're trying to generate all this power, the arms get really over-activated, the shoulders get really over-activated, and we get this nasty over the top movement instead of just letting our left arm sit up here nice and soft. And if I didn't have the right arm on here, the club would drop down and swing a little too far from the inside, but it would do so very quickly because as my arms are soft and the wrists are soft, the club can then release very quickly.

                Your muscles need to be soft to allow the joints to move very quickly, especially in your wrists and your arms, they need to move very fast in the golf swing to produce clubhead speed. But they don't move fast by you putting a ton of muscular effort into it. By being soft, the muscles can actually fire faster and the joints can be more supple and move faster, and that's going to allow you to produce more speed, and that's all about properly activating muscles. So again, just hold your arm up here. It gets a little heave because we're doing it one arm only. Take your right arm up there and see how soft your right arm should be at the top. Just barely holding it, it's making the left arm's job easier by supporting it. It's not tight and mashing it up here, and I'm definitely not squeezing the club tight.

                I'm staying here in an activated motion where I could stay here all day, but I want to be soft. As I'm soft, the club can shallow out. If this shoulder's over-activated, you're going to go like this and you're going to start to come over the top. Your right shoulder needs to be very relaxed at the top in order for that club to naturally shallow out. If you see yourself coming over the top, you over-activated with the right, so take it out of it and just find the balance point of how little it needs to be there to help support the left arm. And that goes for every part of the swing. Muscle activation is very, very soft.

                When we talk about shifting weight, and maybe loading into this right leg a little bit, again not trying to do a lunge, it just needs to be activated. No different than holding your arm up here. So, as you start to understand muscle activation, what it really is, you'll start to pick up more effortless club head speed which is what we're all about, and you'll find that you can do it with much less power put into your swing, by learning to move fast rather than trying to move very aggressively. All you have to do, just take your arm, hold it up here, keep it nice and relaxed, that's the same amount of tension that you should have in most parts of your body during the swing, and that's properly activating your muscles. 

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"I think he's come very close to a golf swing model that appears to be ideal...It's a big muscle, motor-driven swing that's repeatable...You don't have to be a super athlete."

-Dr. Jeffrey Broker, Assoc. Prof. in Biomechanics at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Former Senior Biomechanist for U.S. Olympics Committee

"I started playing at 70 years old, at the beginning I was scoring around 100 plus... Following the RST 5 Step System my scores are in the 80 to 86 range. I am out-hitting guys in their 40's and 50's, thanks to you and your system. My back or other muscles never ache, nor am I tired after 18 holes. I am so glad I found your technique and system."

-Hub Orr - Happy PREMIUM MEMBER of RotarySwing.com

"I can honestly say that Rotary Swing has completely revolutionized the way I think about the golf swing...The website is without a doubt the best golf instruction resource anywhere on the internet."

-Sam Jarman, PGA Golf Instructor in the UK


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