Are You a Golfer or a Chicken?
If you’re a GOLFER then you want nothing to do with CHICKEN WINGS unless you’re sharing a bucket with your buddies after a long day of golf.
“Chicken Winging” in golf is defined by the Titleist Performance Institute (www.mytpi.com) as; a loss of extension or breakdown of the lead elbow through the impact area. This swing fault makes it very difficult to develop power or clubhead speed and tends to put excessive force on the outside of the elbow joint.
This is actually known as Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis). If you’re suffering from high-weak shots or you tend to develop tennis elbow on your lead side, you probably have a chicken wing.
Some Startling Statistics
Statistics show that the #1 injury amongst male golfers is low back pain (53%), followed by elbow pain (24%).
Physical Causes: What Causes Chicken Winging In Your Golf Swing?
I am going to look at this from the end backward. In other words, the symptom, not the cause. The cause is NOT your elbow, that’s just the symptom of something else gone wrong!
#1- If you look at the image below you will see the swing is over. The ball is on its way toward the target. The golfer’s belly button is facing the target, the hips are square to the target and the lead elbow is bent approximately 90 degrees.
In order to fully rotate into the target you will need adequate lead hip internal rotation. This is measured by what’s known as the Lower Quarter Test. The vast majority of amateur golfers lack sufficient hip mobility to pass this screen. If you can’t turn INTO the lead hip enough you might finish like the image to the right (open to the target).
As you turn towards the target, the spine and ribcage are rotating. Lack of thoracic spine mobility will limit how much your chest and shoulder can turn LEFT. To measure Thoracic or T-spine range of motion we use the Seated Trunk Rotation Test.
Last I looked, your lead arm was attached to the shoulder girdle, which is at the top of your rib cage, which is attached to the spine.
90 degrees of shoulder external rotation.
Another test we do is called the Shoulder 90/90 Test. This test looks specifically at the shoulders’ ability to externally rotate (trail and lead side, standing upright and in golf posture). If you cannot externally rotate the lead shoulder at least 90 degrees standing upright, you are going to struggle with Chicken Winging. Add that to a lack of Thoracic and Hip rotation to the left and well, Houston, we have a problem!
END OF PART 1.
Longer Drives, Lower Scores, Fewer Injuries.