What Are the Best Shoulder Stretches for Golf?

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Your shoulder flexibility can be the difference between a consistent golf swing and an inconsistent golf swing.

The shoulders play an interesting role in the golf swing. They need to powerful, yet loose and flexible at the same time. It can be a puzzling combination that some golfers never figure out.

Your shoulders deliver the power that your legs, core, and hips create during the backswing. The power won’t be transferred properly if you overuse your shoulders, but it is equally detrimental to underuse your shoulders.

Finding the balance of shoulder flexibility, mobility, and power is key. I suggest beginning with flexibility and mobility, because you want to get your shoulders into the correct swing positions first.

It’s hard to get the golf club into the “slot” if you are lacking flexibility in your shoulders.

Here are some effective shoulder stretches for golfers:

1. Backswing Golf Stretch

The Backswing Golf Stretch will help you get a deeper shoulder turn. It is amazing what a deeper shoulder turn can do for golfers who are pulling or slicing the ball.

You’ll be exaggerating your backswing in this stretch. The focus will be to turn your shoulders and get your lead shoulder underneath your chin.

Here’s how to do the Backswing Golf Stretch:


  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart in your golf stance.
  2. Let your arms hang down, then grab your left elbow with your right hand.
  3. Keep your body relaxed.


  1. Keeping your left arm straight, point your left thumb up and begin to rotate to your right.
  2. Pull your left elbow up and in with your right hand until you feel a stretch.
  3. Your left shoulder should end up beneath your chin.
  4. To complete the stretch, rotate back to right as if you are completing the golf swing.
  5. This time grab your right elbow with your left hand and rotate all the way to the left.
  6. Your right shoulder should end up beneath your chin.
  7. Repeat the stretch 8-10 times.

Backswing Stretch Tips

Really try to mimic your swing with this motion. You will feel a stretch through your shoulders and upper back. Here are a few tips to help you:

  • Pay attention to your feet. Notice how you are shifting your weight and try to mimic the weight shift of your regular golf swing.
  • Keep your posture. Stay in your golf posture throughout the stretch. Stay hinged at the hips and resist standing up tall.

2. Wall Angels

Wall Angels are the ultimate “anti-sitting” shoulder stretch.

The more you sit, the more your shoulders and upper back will get fatigued. Your shoulders begin to roll forward, your head shifts forward, and your body slumps. All those things are bad for your golf swing.

Max Homa changed his golf swing when he learned he had poor overhead shoulder mobility. Here’s a video that details his swing change to accommodate poor shoulder mobility:

As Max found out, there are some stretches to can combat this common problem. Wall Angels are at the top of that list of stretches.

Here is how to perform a Wall Angel:


  1. Stand with your back against a wall. Step about 6 inches away from the wall.
  2. Rest your shoulders, butt, back, and head against the wall.
  3. Keep your lower back neutral and slightly tuck your chin.
  4. Reach your arms up and place them in a “V” position on the wall.


  1. Bend your elbows and slide your hands down the wall, stopping just above your shoulder.
  2. Keep your hands, elbows, head, butt, and shoulders against the wall the whole time.
  3. Hold the lowest point for about 10 seconds and return to the “V” position.
  4. Repeat for 6-8 reps.

Wall Angels Tips

These can be really challenging if you’ve been at a desk job for a while. You’re posture will gradually improve and they will become easier. Here are a few tips:

  • Keep your body against the wall. Your butt will want to come off the wall, but don’t let it. Move a few inches farther away from the wall if you are struggling.
  • Keep your lower back neutral. Arching your back will help you complete the motion, but that means you are lacking mobility elsewhere.

3. Doorway Stretch

The Doorway Stretch is the perfect stretch for tight pectoral muscles or tight shoulders.

If you feel like your shoulders are rounded and your chest is tight, I’ve got the perfect stretch for you. All you need is a doorway to loosen up your pectoral muscles and shoulders. This stretch can instantly relieve any tightness you feel in your upper back by loosing the opposing chest muscles.

Here is how to perform the Doorway Stretch:


  1. Stand in a doorway and raise each arm to the side, bent at a 90 degree angle with palms facing forward.
  2. Place each palm/forearm on the door frame. You can move your elbows down if you feel any pain or pinching.


  1. Gently lean forward and step forward with one foot.
  2. Try to keep your body upright and feel the stretch in your chest and shoulders.
  3. You can do one arm at a time if you can’t reach both sides of the doorway.
  4. Hold for 10-20 seconds for 5 repetitions.

Doorway Stretch Tips

This stretch is another remedy for sitting down too much. It will open up your chest and shoulders, leaving your upper body feeling renewed. Here are some tips:

  • Be gentle. This stretch doesn’t need to be aggressive. You want a mild stretch that you can hold for 20 seconds if possible.
  • Stay upright. Don’t lean your upper body forward too much. A little is fine, but don’t go overboard.

4. Table External Rotation Stretch

The Table External Rotation Stretch will help your trail arm get into the proper position on the downswing. Your trail arm needs to externally rotate to get the club into the proper position.

I struggled with an “over-the-top” swing for a long time due to lack of shoulder mobility. I couldn’t correct it no matter how hard I tried. Once I achieved proper mobility, it has been much easier to get the club into the “slot” and not swing “over-the-top”.

Here is how to do the Table External Rotation Stretch:


  1. Find a chair and a table, box, or countertop.
  2. Sit on the chair with your right side a few inches away from the table.
  3. Place your elbow and palm on flat on the table with your elbow bent at 90 degrees.
  4. Keep your back neutral


  1. Slowly lean forward while keeping your elbow and palm flat on the table.
  2. Keep your body square and don’t rotate away from the table.
  3. Hold for 30-40 seconds.
  4. Return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 3 repetitions on each side.

Table External Rotation Tips

You may not feel that much with this stretch. It is intended to be gentle and help improve your range of motion. Here are a few tips to maximize the stretch:

  • Stay on plane. Keep your shoulder, head, and elbow on the same plane as you lean forward.
  • Be gentle. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds with a gentle stretch. The shoulder can be finicky so don’t push it.

5. Thread the Needle

Thread the Needle opens up your shoulders, neck, chest, and upper back all at the same time. It’s more of a whole body stretch, but it focuses on your shoulders.

Do you want better posture and an improved shoulder turn on your backswing? Thread the Needle is a great way of accomplishing both of those things. It is a deep, yet gentle stretch that will make your relieve any tension in your upper body.

Here is how to perform Thread the Needle:


  1. Find a yoga mat or carpeted floor. Start the position on all fours.
  2. Your knees should be directly below your hips and your wrists, shoulders, and elbows should be in a straight line perpendicular to the ground.
  3. Keep your back neutral in a tabletop position.


  1. Raise your right hand up and “thread the needle” by by pushing your right arm beneath your left arm.
  2. Slightly bend your left arm and keep your hips high.
  3. Reach as far as possible with your right hand and hold for 10-20 seconds.
  4. Return to the tabletop position and repeat with your left hand.
  5. Complete 8-10 repetitions on each side.

Thread the Needle Tips

Thread the Needle really is a full body stretch. You’ll need to be coordinated, but this stretch will leave you feeling great! Here are some tips:

  • Keep your weight back. You want most of your weight to remain on your knees and not overload your wrist. You can transfer a little more weight forward is you need a bigger stretch.
  • Keep your hips stable. The goal is to rotate you shoulders and upper back while keeping the hips still.
  • Stay loose. It can be hard to stay relaxed through the movement. Just be sure you are taking big breaths and focusing on the stretch.

Final Thoughts on Golf Shoulder Stretches

The shoulders play a critical role in the golf swing, but most golfers don’t focus on shoulder. Lack of mobility in the shoulders can lead to loss of power, a shallow shoulder turn, an over-the-top swing, and neck pain. These shoulder stretches will help you get the most from you shoulders on the golf course.

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