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Hey guys, and welcome back to another edition of Rotaryswing.com's "Golf Swing Injury Prevention" series. Today we're going to be discussing the topic of the elbow. Now I know a lot of golfers struggle with some of that elbow pain. And we're going to be talking about what some of the causes may be to that problem alone, and more importantly, we're going to teach you how to correct it so you never have to feel elbow pain ever again.
Last week we discussed how to avoid back pain, and this video series we're going to be going through some of the critical joints in the golf swing. So if you've been battling with elbow pain or you want to just prevent it in general, you want to pay close attention to today's video. Let's go ahead and get started.
Okay everyone, I know exactly how frustrating it can be to leave the golf course or leave the driving range and get home and start to feel some of that elbow pain. It's also frustrating when we're constantly looking for answers and a solution as to why this is happening and we really can't get it. Well that's exactly what we're going to be doing today. We're going to be defining why this is happening in your golf swing. And more importantly, we're going to be able to correct it with a simple drill in the end that's going to give you no pain and more control. I know control is a big thing for a lot of us golfers because control leads to consistency.
So here is what I want you to do. I want you to think of it this way. We're going to be focusing primarily on the left arm at impact in your golf swing because that's where we see about 90-95% of the people that visit us that have had some previous instruction or previous issues with their golf game, they've - it's really focused in their lead arm. That's where it gets most of the stress.
So, I'm a right handed player, so we're going to focus on the left arm here. So, what you're going to see here, I flexed my arm to about 90 degrees or so, and I've got my palm facing my face. And you can do this at home if you want. Go ahead and just let your arm extend out. Now, why does my arm not extend past this point? Well, our body has got built in safety mechanisms. It doesn't want us to go any further than that. It's got built in safety mechanisms all over the place. It's just a matter of how we use them.
Can my arm extend further past this? Absolutely. If it happened, it would be extremely painful. You see a lot of professional athletes that play contact sports actually hyper extend their arm and they're sitting on the sideline for months and months and months. It's a very painful process. You're probably wondering at home, "okay, so how des that relate to my golf swing?" Well, I'll get there in just a second.
I want you to also think about what the left arm is doing in the golf swing at all times, okay? The left arm is rotating in the golf swing. No matter what you hear on TV from a lot of these talking bobble heads, the golf club is always rotating, okay? I've - we've heard it before, this golf club ... This person holds the golf club square to the target longer than anybody out there, that's absolutely a farce. The golf club is always rotating, it's designed to rotate.
For a stock shot format, a tour player is typically rotating the toe of the golf club 6-8 mph faster than the center of the club. That's a lot of speed. 6-8 mph faster this guy's rotating through the hitting area. It's just rotating at a constant rate. Generally speaking it's been measured right around 300-400 degrees per second. Where amateur golfers tend to rotate the golf club at an excessive rate, between 800-1500 degrees per second. That's quite a bit, right? You can see that's a drastic upturn.
So, how does that cause the pain though? How do those two things together cause the pain? Well lets take a look at that very closely. So I'm going to turn to the side view here so you guys can really, really watch. And I'm going to try to get my arm to rotate very quickly so I can mirror what 800-1500 degrees per second looks like. Grab the club here. So I'm going to go through the hitting area, and I'm going to rotate that club very quickly. And I want you to just pay attention to the movement of my arm here. Okay? You see how my arm from my shoulder down to my wrist is rotating as one unit, all the way down. And it's rotating the club very quickly.
Why is that a problem? Well lets look at it very objectively here. If I were to rotate my arm from my shoulder down, all the way down into the hitting area, and my elbow starts to internally rotate towards my body, you can see that my wrist is now suppurating here. Okay my elbow starts to rotate in towards my body. Why is this bad? Well if I strike the golf ball with my elbow now moved into this position, the force, the impact itself, is going to start moving my arm into that hyper extended position. If I impact the golf ball, you can see that that's the direction it wants to go. That's where a lot of the pain and discomfort comes from, believe it or not. Is because you are rotating the arm as one unit all the way down into your golf swing, getting the club face to rotate very excessively.
Where tour players, if you watch their golf swings, their elbow position is now facing more down the target line. Okay? It's down the target line, because why? Well, here's the good news. We can rotate this guy, okay? With our wrist and our forearm. We don't have to have the entire arm rotating. We can rotate it with our wrist and our forearm based off the distal radioulnar joint. So if I were to keep my elbow moving down in front of me here, I can rotate my wrist. Okay? That's exactly how tour players control the club face so well and avoid elbow injuries.
So, how does this ... How do we fix it? Well, that's a good - that's a good question, because that's what we're here for, is we want to drill. Now let me show you exactly a little bit more on top of that. When the elbow position's down on the target line, and I impact the golf ball, okay? I'm starting to feel the force here. What is my arm going to do if my elbow is down the target line? Well, my arm would move in this direction, okay? This is obviously an exaggerated form, we wouldn't see a lot - anybody break their arm like that. But I want you to just to see, if my elbow's down the target line, and I impact this golf ball, my arm is going to move this way. Well, you and I can probably sit here all day and do this movement and never really feel any pain or discomfort. Where the other way, you're going to start to move the arm in the direction it doesn't want to go, where that safety mechanism's saying, "nuh-uh. No way."
So now, as far as the drill's concerned, and this is a good one for you guys at home that really battled with this, is I want you to just go ahead set up. Okay? You can set up with about 80% of your weight on your left foot, head in behind the golf ball, I want you to just go ahead and start without a club here, and swing your arm out here to about 9 o'clock. Okay? So my glove logo or my watch is facing back at you at home.
And what I want you to do, is I want you to slowly pull your elbow down the target line, very relaxed, you don't need to yank it down there. Just pull very lightly. And I want you to rotate your wrist keeping your elbow facing down the target line as long as possible. And I want you to stop at impact. So elbow down the target line, rotate the wrist. So when you get into the hitting area, or at impact here, I want your elbow facing down the target line, I want your watch - your glove logo facing down the target line as well. Okay?
So you can see here, my wrist is slightly bowed, this would be flat. Bowing of the left wrist just delofts the club. Okay? I want you to do about 100-300 reps without a golf club. Then your next practice session, I want you to start out the same way. So aim, if you're going to do 300 reps, your first 150 reps need to be done without a club. Then for those of you players that have an impact bag, this is a great drill for you. Start to put the club in there, you're going to set up the same way, and then as your arm starts to move, or your elbow starts to move down in front of you, keep it down the target line, and let the wrist rotate and have those same checkpoints.
Once you do enough reps of this into the impact bag, then slowly start to add some weight shift to it, slowly start to add some more width, some more rotation, and repeat the process. Still continuing to hit the impact bag. Don't work on pulling your arms down the hitting area, just let your arm kind of fall and release. Keeping the elbow position down the target line. You'll see that this is, number one, you're going to alleviate a lot of the elbow pain. Number two, you're going to see that we can start to square the club face up with our wrist, and now you're going to have more control.
Then after you've completed that process with the impact bag, then slowly start working on your release, and you're going to see that you will never have elbow pain ever again, and you've got more control of your club face, you're hitting more greens, which is way more fun and way more exciting.
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-Dr. Jeffrey Broker, Assoc. Prof. in Biomechanics at University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Former Senior Biomechanist for U.S. Olympics Committee
-Hub Orr - Happy PREMIUM MEMBER of RotarySwing.com
-Sam Jarman, PGA Golf Instructor in the UK