top of page

MSR Golf Maintenance Program

Golfer Finishing Swing

This blog delves into the essentials of golf maintenance care, a sport where precision and performance reign supreme. As a golfer, your body must be finely tuned to excel on the course.

In this article, we will traverse the realms of maintenance care art and science, shedding light on recognizing muscle restrictions in golfers through palpatory and visual cues such as tenderness, limited motion range, muscle tightness, asymmetry, or postural alterations. You can address these restrictions by adopting proactive measures like osseous and soft tissue mobilization, targeted stretching, and corrective exercises, ensuring optimal performance while minimizing injury risks.

Article Index:

The Upper Body

Core & Lower Extremity


Conclusion & References


Upper Extremity - Golf Maintenance

Your upper extremity is vital in executing a powerful and accurate swing in golf. To achieve consistent performance and reduce the risk of injuries, it's essential to prioritize maintenance care for these muscles. This section will focus on the importance of the upper extremities and how targeted care can enhance your golfing experience.

Golfer Just Finishing a Swing

Primary muscles involved in the upper extremity during a golf swing:


  • Action: Controls shoulder and neck movements. The upper right trapezius is activated once, while the middle trapezius on both sides is activated twice during a golf swing.

  • Palpatory Clues: Tenderness upon palpation in the upper or mid-region, muscle knots, or hypertonicity.

  • Visual Clues: Elevated shoulder on one side, head tilting, or restricted cervical range of motion.

Pectoralis Major

  • Action: Crucial for controlling arm movements. They are activated twice bilaterally during a golf swing.

  • Palpatory Clues: Tenderness on palpation near the sternum or at the muscle's attachment to the humerus, tightness or taut bands.

  • Visual Clues: Rounded shoulders, internal rotation of arms, and inhibited scapular retraction.


  • Action: Assists in internal rotation of the arm and stabilize the shoulder joint. They are activated twice bilaterally during a golf swing.

  • Palpatory Clues: Tenderness deep under the scapula, resistance during internal rotation tests.

  • Visual Clues: Limited internal rotation, compensatory use of other muscles during arm movements.

Serratus Anterior

  • Action: Aids in scapular movement and stabilization. It is activated three times on the right side during a golf swing.

  • Palpatory Clues: Tenderness along the ribs under the scapula, muscle tightness.

  • Visual Clues: Winged scapula, uneven shoulder height, and difficulty in reaching overhead.


  • Action: Helps in external rotation of the arm and stabilizes the shoulder joint. It is activated twice on the left side during a golf swing.

  • Palpatory Clues: Tenderness at the posterior aspect of the shoulder, muscle spasms, or trigger points.

  • Visual Clues: Limited external rotation of the arm, scapular dyskinesis.


  • Action: Helps control scapular movements. It is activated once on the left side during a golf swing.

  • Palpatory Clues: Tenderness between the scapula and the spine, muscle tightness or hypertonicity.

  • Visual Clues: Scapular retraction difficulty, winging, or unlevelled shoulders.


MSR Upper Body Demonstration Video

In this video, Dr. Abelson showcases the efficacy of Motion Specific Release procedures for upper extremity maintenance care in golfers. The MSR approach not only enhances performance but also reduces the risk of injuries.


Core & Lower Extremity - Golf Maintenance

Golfer Performing a Downswing

Primary muscles involved in the core and lower extremity during a golf swing:

Erector Spinae

  • Action: Primarily involved in maintaining upright posture and facilitating rotation and extension of the spine. Activated once on the left side during a golf swing.

  • Palpatory Clues: Increased muscle tone upon palpation, tenderness localized to specific vertebral levels, possible fascial adhesions.

  • Visual Clues: Limited spinal extension or hyperlordosis, asymmetrical lumbar or thoracic curvature.

Gluteus Maximus

  • Action: Crucial for providing power and stability during the swing. Activated twice bilaterally during a golf swing.

  • Palpatory Clues: Hypertonicity, presence of myofascial trigger points, restricted fascial glide.

  • Visual Clues: Decreased posterior chain activation, inhibited hip extension during functional movement.

Gluteus Medius

  • Action: Aids in trunk rotation and provides lateral stability. Activated three times on the right side during a golf swing.

  • Palpatory Clues: Palpable taut bands, tenderness at the muscle origin near the iliac crest.

  • Visual Clues: Trendelenburg gait or stance, lateral pelvic tilt.

Abdominal Obliques

  • Action: Essential for facilitating trunk rotation and maintaining balance. Activated three times during a golf swing (two times on the right, once on the left).

  • Palpatory Clues: Reduced elasticity, localized hypertonicity especially near rib attachments, presence of myofascial trigger points.

  • Visual Clues: Altered trunk rotation mechanics, asymmetrical abdominal contraction or bracing.


  • Action: Provides stability and aiding in force transfer from the lower body to the upper body. Activated twice bilaterally during a golf swing.

  • Palpatory Clues: Taut bands palpable in the posterior thigh, tenderness near the ischial tuberosity.

  • Visual Clues: Limited knee flexion, restricted hip extension during functional movements.

Adductor Magnus

  • Action: Helps stabilize the lower body during the swing. Activated twice on the left side during a golf swing.

  • Palpatory Clues: Tightness along the medial aspect of the thigh, restricted fascial glide, tenderness at the muscle's proximal attachment.

  • Visual Clues: Inhibited hip abduction, possible medial rotation of the affected limb during stance.

Vastus Lateralis

  • Action: Contributes to lower body stability and power. Activated five times bilaterally during a golf swing (four times on the left, once on the right).

  • Palpatory Clues: Hypertonicity or rigid bands upon palpation, tenderness at muscle origin or insertion sites, restricted fascial movement over the anterolateral thigh.

  • Visual Clues: Compromised knee extension, potential valgus knee alignment during loading or dynamic activities.


MSR Core & Lower Extremity Demonstration Video

In this video, Dr. Abelson showcases the efficacy of Motion Specific Release procedures for core and lower extremity maintenance care in golfers. The MSR approach not only enhances performance but also reduces the risk of injuries.


Maintenance Care Image

Recommended Golf Maintenance Frequency

Golf is a highly technical sport that demands both physical skill and biomechanical precision. For golfers, whether amateur or professional, maintaining optimal musculoskeletal health is paramount. This is especially true given the repetitive and asymmetrical nature of the golf swing, which places strain on certain muscle groups and joints. Here's an outline of ideal maintenance manual treatment care frequency for golfers throughout the different phases of the season:


Professional Golfers:

  • Frequency: Weekly

  • Focus: Preparing the body for the upcoming season. Emphasis on enhancing mobility, strength, and balance. It's a prime time to address any lingering off-season issues and to ensure the body is primed for performance.

Amateur Golfers:

  • Frequency: Monthly

  • Focus: Evaluating and improving range of motion, addressing any pain or discomfort from the off-season, and preparing the body for more frequent play.

Golf Season

Professional Golfers:

  • Frequency: 1-2 times per week

  • Focus: Targeted treatment of active issues, recovery from tournaments, and maintaining mobility and flexibility. Regular checks can help in identifying and addressing minor issues before they become major problems.

Amateur Golfers:

  • Frequency: Bi-weekly to monthly

  • Focus: Addressing any pain or restrictions felt during play, maintaining good range of motion, and preventing chronic issues from developing.


Professional Golfers:

  • Frequency: Bi-weekly to monthly

  • Focus: Recovery, rehab of any injuries, and addressing any biomechanical imbalances. This is an excellent time for a more extensive musculoskeletal evaluation and to undertake corrective exercises.

Amateur Golfers:

  • Frequency: Every 1-2 months or as needed

  • Focus: Recovery from the playing season and addressing any chronic or nagging issues. The off-season can be used to work on improving overall musculoskeletal health, potentially through a guided exercise regimen.

The above guidelines are generalized and can vary based on individual needs. Factors such as age, injury history, playing frequency, and overall health can influence the ideal treatment frequency. As always, it's essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to tailor a maintenance plan best suited for the individual golfer's needs. Regular self-care routines, including stretching, strength training, and proprioceptive exercises, can complement manual treatments and enhance overall musculoskeletal health.


Female Golfer Graphic

Conclusion - Golf Maintenance

In the intricate dance of golf, both the amateur and professional player must prioritize musculoskeletal health to excel. Given the sport's repetitive and asymmetrical nature, it's crucial to have a systematic approach to maintenance throughout the golf season, pre-season, and off-season. This not only addresses immediate concerns but also staves off potential long-term issues.

Individual factors like age, playing frequency, and overall health will invariably influence the ideal treatment frequency, making it vital to collaborate with healthcare professionals in fields such as chiropractic medicine or physical therapy. When integrated with self-care routines like stretching and strength training, this holistic approach ensures that golfers remain at the peak of their game, minimizing downtime and maximizing performance. Embracing such a comprehensive strategy intertwines the love of the game with the love for one's health, propelling players to success both on the green and in life.



Photo Dr. Brian Abelson

Dr. Abelson's approach in musculoskeletal health care reflects a deep commitment to evidence-based practices and continuous learning. In his work at Kinetic Health in Calgary, Alberta, he focuses on integrating the latest research with a compassionate understanding of each patient's unique needs.

As the developer of the Motion Specific Release (MSR) Treatment Systems, he views his role as both a practitioner and an educator, dedicated to sharing knowledge and techniques that can benefit the wider healthcare community. His ongoing efforts in teaching and practice aim to contribute positively to the field of musculoskeletal health, with a constant emphasis on patient-centered care and the collective advancement of treatment methods.


Photo of Manual Therapy

Revolutionize Your Practice with Motion Specific Release (MSR)!

MSR, a cutting-edge treatment system, uniquely fuses varied therapeutic perspectives to resolve musculoskeletal conditions effectively.

Attend our courses to equip yourself with innovative soft-tissue and osseous techniques that seamlessly integrate into your clinical practice and empower your patients by relieving their pain and restoring function. Our curriculum marries medical science with creative therapeutic approaches and provides a comprehensive understanding of musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment methods.

Our system offers a blend of orthopedic and neurological assessments, myofascial interventions, osseous manipulations, acupressure techniques, kinetic chain explorations, and functional exercise plans.

With MSR, your practice will flourish, achieve remarkable clinical outcomes, and see patient referrals skyrocket. Step into the future of treatment with MSR courses and membership!



  1. Fradkin, A. J., Sherman, C. A., & Finch, C. F. (2004). How well does club head speed correlate with golf handicaps?. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 7(4), 465-472.

  2. Bechler, J. R., Jobe, F. W., Pink, M., Perry, J., & Ruwe, P. A. (1995). Electromyographic analysis of the hip and knee during the golf swing. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 5(3), 162-166.

  3. Pink, M., Jobe, F. W., & Perry, J. (1990). Electromyographic analysis of the shoulder during the golf swing. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 18(2), 137-140.

  4. Horan, S. A., Evans, K., Morris, N. R., & Kavanagh, J. J. (2012). Thorax and pelvis kinematics during the downswing of male and female skilled golfers. Journal of Biomechanics, 45(9), 1456-1462.

  5. McTeigue, M., Lamb, S. R., Mottram, R., & Pirozzolo, F. (1994). Spine and hip motion analysis during the golf swing. In Science and golf II: Proceedings of the world scientific congress of golf (pp. 50-58).

  6. Myers, J., Lephart, S., Tsai, Y. S., Sell, T., Smoliga, J., & Jolly, J. (2008). The role of upper torso and pelvis rotation in driving performance during the golf swing. Journal of Sports Sciences, 26(2), 181-188.

  7. Zheng, N., Barrentine, S. W., Fleisig, G. S., & Andrews, J. R. (2008). Swing kinematics for male and female pro golfers. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 29(12), 965-970.

  8. Glazier, P. (2010). Game, set and match? Substantive issues and future directions in performance analysis. Sports Medicine, 40(8), 625-634.

  9. Egret, C. I., Vincent, O., Weber, J., Dujardin, F. H., & Chollet, D. (2003). Analysis of 3D kinematics concerning three different clubs in golf swing. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 24(06), 465-470.

  10. Hume, P. A., Keogh, J., & Reid, D. (2005). The role of biomechanics in maximising distance and accuracy of golf shots. Sports Medicine, 35(5), 429-449.

  11. Barrentine, S. W., Fleisig, G. S., Johnson, H., & Woolley, T. W. (1998). Ground reaction forces and torques of professional and amateur golfers. In Science and golf III: proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf (pp. 33-39).

  12. McCarroll, J. R., Rettig, A. C., & Shelbourne, K. D. (1990). Injuries in the amateur golfer. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 18(3), 122-126.

  13. McHardy, A., & Pollard, H. (2005). Lower back pain in golfers: a review. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 4(3), 135-143.

  14. Chu, Y., Sell, T. C., & Lephart, S. M. (2010). The relationship between biomechanical variables and driving performance during the golf swing. Journal of Sports Sciences, 28(11), 1251-1259.

  15. Hellström, J. (2009). Competitive elite golf: a review of the relationships between playing results, technique and physique. Sports Medicine, 39(9), 723-741.

  16. Lindsay, D. M., & Vandervoort, A. A. (2014). Golf-related low back pain: a review of causative factors and prevention strategies. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, 5(4), e24289.

  17. Evans, K., & Tuttle, N. (2006). Improving performance in golf: current research and implications from a clinical perspective. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, 10(5), 481-490.

  18. Tinmark, F., Hellström, J., Halvorsen, K., & Thorstensson, A. (2010). Elite golfers' kinematic sequence in full-swing and partial-swing shots. Sports Biomechanics, 9(4), 236-244.

  19. Bull, M., & Sprigings, E. (1995). A technique for identifying sequences of movement. Journal of Sports Sciences, 13(1), 39-52.

  20. Fletcher, I. M., & Hartwell, M. (2004). Effect of an 8-week combined weights and plyometrics training program on golf drive performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 18(1), 59-62.



The content on the MSR website, including articles and embedded videos, serves educational and informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice; only certified MSR practitioners should practice these techniques. By accessing this content, you assume full responsibility for your use of the information, acknowledging that the authors and contributors are not liable for any damages or claims that may arise.

This website does not establish a physician-patient relationship. If you have a medical concern, consult an appropriately licensed healthcare provider. Users under the age of 18 are not permitted to use the site. The MSR website may also feature links to third-party sites; however, we bear no responsibility for the content or practices of these external websites.

By using the MSR website, you agree to indemnify and hold the authors and contributors harmless from any claims, including legal fees, arising from your use of the site or violating these terms. This disclaimer constitutes part of the understanding between you and the website's authors regarding the use of the MSR website. For more information, read the full disclaimer and policies in this website.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page