TPI Test #5: The 90/90 Test

This is part of a series of posts I’ve written about the simple tests a TPI pro can do with you to identify your golf strengths and weaknesses.  This test is designed to find any limitations in your shoulder mobility, and it’s call the 90/90.

Here’s how to do it:

Stand up straight, with your arm straight out to the side.  Now bend your elbow so that it makes a 90 degree angle with your palm facing forward.  Now, without flexing your back or moving any other part of your body, try to tilt your forearm and hand backward past the plane of your back.  Make sure your upper arm stays straight out beside you; don’t cheat by moving it back behind you.  Only tilt the forearm.    If you are able to do this, great!  You passed the first part of the test.  If this hurts, STOP!  The point is just to test where your mobility is right now.

Next, set your self up in a typical golf posture, knees slightly bent, upper body tilting forward from the hips.  Now try the test again.  Hold your arm straight out in an ‘L’ shape, and try to tilt your forearm back past the plane of your back.  Can you do that?  Great!  As always, stop immediately if it hurts.

The straight-up and down test checks the rotation of the gleno-humeral joint, and the golf posture test checks the stability of your scapulo-thoracic junction–just in case you’re curious.

If you can’t get your arm to tilt past the plane of your back, and especially if it’s a challenge just to hold it straight up in a line with your torso, you need corrective exercise.

Here are a few you can do:

Take your dominant hand and hold it in front of your face with the palm facing away.  Now take the other hand and bring it up with the palm facing toward you.  Hook your hands together and pull on them like you’re trying to pull them apart.  Pull as hard as possible while trying to squeeze your shoulder blades together.  Hold for three seconds, then move the arms side to side, continuing to try to pull them apart.  Keep pulling, and now make three big circles forward with your hands.  Now make three big circles backward with your hands (starting pulling toward your face, then down, then away at your chest, and so on.)  Now try to swim forward and backward three times with the elbows, like you’re trying to do the crawl stroke but your hands are tied.  Now repeat al these motions, but this time with your hands pushing toward each other instead of pulling.

Standing T’s and W’s:

With your thumbs up and your hands straight out to the side, pinch your shoulder blades together, feel this in your upper back.  Do that 16 times, and then do the same thing with your elbows slightly bent (like a “W”.)

These exercises should enhance your shoulder mobility and make you a better golfer.  There are some specific things I can look out for in the test itself so that I can give you exercises tailored to you, but these should help no matter what.

If you know anyone who could benefit from this information, please share it using the buttons on the left!

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