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Are You Missing Out on the Benefits of the Floor Slide Exercise In Your Golf Swing?


There are a few exercises I use with every single person who comes into the gym, and the supine floor slide happens to be one of them. It is a phenomenal stretch for the pecs, teaches us core-control, and helps us get more comfortable in the arms-over-head position, which is significantly important, especially when the word “impingement” comes into play (or if you want to get your arms higher than your head in your golf swing).


Beyond those numerous benefits, it also simply feels good, and while I may not advocate for hedonism as a lifestyle, I generally consider myself to be a “stretching hedonist”- meaning- if it feels good do it.


So let’s dive into what the exercise does, why it feels so good, and how to perform it properly. (Before we actually begin, here is a visual demonstration of how to perform the exercise).




(For an actual video, you can click the link here.)



1. What the exercise does.

I mentioned in paragraph one that the stretch opens the pecs, teaches us core-control, and helps us get more comfortable in the overhead positions.


All true.


-As a population, we are incredibly tight through our pecs, and I think it can generally be attributed to our sedentary lifestyle. We sit in chairs, we look down at our phones, we drive cars, we sit on planes, we travel from seated position to seated position with high frequency. This can produce rounded shoulders, slumping spines, and strained necks. It also can “shorten” the pec muscles.


As you can see from the pictures above, this move forces the chest to open, and the shoulders to externally rotate. It also forces the scapula to rotate and change its angle depending on where you are in the movement. What all of this can do is help stretch the chest, and elongate the pecs, which feels WONDERFUL.


-The core-control portion of this exercise: we have a propensity during this exercise to cheat and try and get the range of motion from our back, and not our shoulders. If you find during the performance of this move that your lower spine leaves the ground, then we have lost the “stacked” position of our midsection.


In an ideal world, for a majority of the time, we want our ribcage to be “stacked” over the top of our hips, where it would basically look like two hula hoops hovering in alignment. This is generally what is considered “good” posture, and allows for a slight engagement of the abs and a proper functioning of the glutes and hips flexors.


-As far as getting comfortable overhead, it is plain to see how this might help. I mentioned impingement earlier, and learning to move well through shoulder internal and external rotation, as well as getting the scapula to rotate along the rib cage, is incredibly helpful to avoiding the dreaded pain.


It is largely considered that normal and healthy scapula movement is a preventative towards shoulder impingement and this move can really help.


2. Why does it feel so good?

In the last section I mentioned that elongating the pecs feels WONDERFUL, and it does. I also second that we are a largely sedentary population, so stretching of any kind feels pretty darn good.


I offer that getting the body into the positions it was designed to be in is incredibly helpful from a feeling standpoint (sort of like a coming home), but I also offer that doing something that we know is good for us has a two-fold effect. One) it just feels good to go home, but then two) a secondary and lesser dwelt on thought is that there is a psychological benefit to doing things that we know are good for us.


Not sending the text message we know we shouldn’t send, eating a salad instead of a cheeseburger, hugging our mom when she doesn’t expect it… all of these create stuff inside of us that spurs us on to better habits long term, and short term, encourages us in our action.


Stretching is a doorway to a healthier life. I’ve seen it, I’ve watched it, I’ve coached it. The person who begins to stretch regularly, then lifts regularly, then eats better more regularly, then becomes more active. So the answer to why it feels so good, in my mind, is it that it is good for the muscles, but it is also good for our souls.


3. How to perform it properly.

To perform this exercise well, it requires intentionality. Really, all exercises do. But particularly here, where getting a little sloppy and lazy is an easy tendency, we need to focus on feeling the right things and getting the body in the right places.


Start on your back, knees bent about 90*. Then take your arms and bend them about 90* with the elbows straight out from your shoulders, and your wrists vertical right over the elbows. Try to keep the forearm and wrists pressed against the ground (if this is too difficult then it affirms that you need this exercise!).


From there, we are going to pin/push our lower back into the ground firmly, and then exhale and slide your arms (maintaining the contact with the ground via forearms and wrists) up overhead. The wider you go the easier this will be, the narrower, the more difficult. Look to find something challenging but doable.


The exhale should be firm, but not like blowing over Little Red Riding Hood’s house. Think like trying to blow a dust bunny away from you.


Pause for a second or two at the top, really focusing on feeling the stretch do its work, then release and drop the elbows down before beginning again—repeating the same process.


I mentioned a second ago that if you can’t get elbows down or forearms down it means you need this exercise. But what do you do if you can’t get in the perfect position? Just do the best you can. Hands can float off the ground, arms can go wider on the way up, there are several ways to “help”. The one I would not recommend is the lower back releasing and losing the core tension. This is important to learn and have the capability to maintain, even if you can’t get quite as far down with the arms.





4.(bonus) How might this help with golf?

There are a few ways this helps with golf, including the aforementioned arms-overhead position. But shallowing the club will be where we really see the benefit here.


If you cannot shallow the club on the way down, you will have a propensity to come over-the-top, or push the hips forwards, have a lot of side-bend, and shallow the club that way. Over-the-top is gonna lead to lefts and slices and the side-bend will lead to big pushes and hooks. Both no bueno.


What shallowing the club looks like during a golf swing
Shallowing the club in transition

You can see in the photos above how the right elbow will work down from picture two to picture three, how the elbow is actually getting closer to the ball while the club head has worked the other way, this is external rotation of the shoulder, especially because you can see that I haven’t begun to bend too much at the side.


So if you find that you are significantly tight here, it is worth taking a look at your swing and seeing how that tightness shows up in the swing; because what the body does or cannot do ALWAYS shows up in the swing.


I would love to see your swing, so if you have any questions, just send me a video or call me and I promise to be generally ecstatic to learn more about how you as an individual swing and how your specific body affects your very personal swing. I mean that.


Give this exercise a try and let me know how it goes and please subscribe to our website if you want more content like this delivered to your inbox!


-Michael



A shoulder external rotation exercise for golf demonstration
Floor Slide Gif

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