Shoulder Strategies

By: David Howatson-Begg

The 2017 Masters Golf Tournament is underway in Augusta, Georgia, and for the world’s elite the winner’s green jacket is the ultimate prize. What about us mere mortals? Those who are looking to reduce your handicap develop your short game or just want to get the ball flying in a straight line? Improving the numerous facets of your golf game can be daunting especially without an experienced coach. The same applies for those who don’t play but are looking to start. And for many people, the task of improving movement for life in general is a challenging prospect without a skill or sports based action.

Thoracic Thinking

Pulling apart and analysing the entire golf swing is a huge undertaking so let’s focus in on a smaller chunk of the action, the shoulders. The thoracic area of the spine houses the shoulder girdle and goes through various motions not only during a round of golf but also in our daily lives: reaching, pulling, pressing, rotating and helping us to walk. The beauty of using Power Plate to enhance movement is in its ability to stimulate the whole body. However, we have the capacity to manipulate waves of vibration in order to target more local areas of tissue in our body. Vibration produced by Power Plate will always go to the points of most tension and will be absorbed in those areas (e.g. during a squat we’d get a lot of vibration passing into the calf, hamstrings, quads and hips but very little in the upper body).


By driving the vibration into the upper body we fire up the nervous system’s activity resulting in subconscious movement in those muscles. Importantly, how we choose to move determines how this increased activity will be used. Therefore, conscious movement of the shoulders is critical. To help you become more adept at activating or ‘switching on’ the thoracic spine we put together a video to showcase the 3D movement strategies we use to mobilize, stabilise and increase the neural messages to the upper body.

We know that shoulder/thoracic mobility, stability and power are all intrinsically linked. Mobility and power are useless without the gift of stability to help guide your body in striking a golf ball, throwing, catching and all other movement endeavours. By loading the system with body weight and vibration combined we create a more authentic, more challenging environment to prepare the shoulders for movement.

By David Howatson-Begg, Performance Health Systems UK Master Trainer