Wrist Supination and Pronation Mobility Test for Golfers
Supination and pronation of the wrists are technical terms that simply mean wrist rotation.
Golfers need to be able to rotate their wrists throughout the golf swing. From a proper address position to releasing the club at impact your wrist need to be able to turn 180-degrees.
Improper wrist supination and pronation can cause severe slicing and a huge loss of power in the golf swing.
Besides the wrist, the forearms play a significant part in supination and pronation of the wrist, particularly during the initial movement. For this reason, and because there are so many other wrist mobility tests (four in all), I prefer forearm rotation test rather than wrist supination and pronation test, which is it more commonly called.
In this article, you will learn how to do the forearm rotation test. There is also an exercise to help increase wrist rotation if you find you lack wrist mobility.
Fourth in a Series
This is the fourth post in a series of articles on mobility screens for golfers. To read other articles in the series, links to the posts can be found near the bottom of this article: Put the Horse in Front of the Cart and Get With the Fitness Program.
To receive notice when new mobility screen articles are published, click the “Alert Me” button below and I will send you an e-mail when I post each of mobility screen articles.
Further down in this article there is also a free Mobility Screening Sheet that you can download so you can track your results as you go through the whole mobility screening process.
Supination and Pronation of the Wrist/Forearm
Objective of the Forearm Rotation Test
I doubt it’s necessary to have to explain the importance of forearm and wrist rotation in the golf swing. We have all seen the slow-motion film of a professional golfer at impact as the trailing arm rotates over the leading arm.
Forearm rotation during the backswing also occurs and is essential to setting the golf club at the top of the backswing.
Take a very slow practice swing right now, even without a golf club, and see how the forearms rotate throughout the swing.
The objective of the forearm rotation test is to evaluate two movement patterns necessary for you to swing properly. These are of course supination and pronation.
The mobility test is quick and easy. It’s a pass/fail test, but you can measure the lack of rotation if you can’t pass the test. Measuring and documenting screening results is useful as you can compare the results after re-testing to see if the corrective exercises are helping.
What are Supination and Pronation?
Supination is the outward roll of the wrist, or to picture it better supination occurs when you rotate your hand, so your thumb moves out away from your body.
Pronation is the opposite; it’s the inward roll of your wrist as when you rotate your hand, so your thumb points toward your body.
How to Perform the Forearm Rotation Test
The forearm rotation test is a simple and easy test conducted in the standing position. To repeat the test exactly the same, I like to start with you standing upright, looking straight ahead (not down at your wrists) in a good posture position with your feet together.
Place your elbows against your side and hold out your forearms parallel to the floor. Make a fist with your hands and stick your thumbs straight up, like your hitchhiking.
This is the starting position.
You keep your elbows firmly to your sides, so you don’t use your whole arm to help you rotate your hand. It is easier to see how much rotation you have by keeping your thumbs out and compare their position to the floor.
The test involves you rotating your wrist/forearm/hand outward and inward as shown in the video below.
- Stand upright with good posture, feet together, head looking straight ahead.
- Place your elbows at your sides and raise your forearms so they are parallel to the floor.
- Roll your hands into a fist and rotate your forearms, so the palms of your hands are facing each other, your thumb pointing straight upward.
- Without looking at your hands, keeping your forearms parallel to the floor, and elbow tight to your side, rotate your wrists, so your thumb is pointing outward. Your palm should be facing upward.
- Now look down at your hand and see if you can rotate your hand, so the palm is facing directly up. Your thumbs should be parallel to the floor and point directly away from your body.
- Move back to the starting position.
- Now rotate your wrists inward, so your thumbs are pointing directly at each other and the palm of your hand facing the floor.
If you can turn your wrists at least 80-degrees in both directions, you have passed the forearm rotation test.
Not able to rotate your wrists 80-degrees? Then you have a limitation. Mark your results on the Mobility Screening Sheet that you can download below.
TMF Mobility Screening Sheet
You can download a copy of the TMF Mobility Screening Sheet by pressing the button below and entering your name and e-mail. I will deliver it to your inbox.
Below is a video of the forearm rotation test.
Causes of Reduced Wrist Supination and Pronation
Past injuries to the wrist or forearms such as broken bones or severe wrist sprains can cause limitations. You will improve wrist mobility by exercising. Rarely do past injuries cause irreversible mobility problems.
Other causes can be joint limitations and muscular strength and flexibility limitations. Again, overcome limitations with corrective exercises and proper use.
Many people overcome limitations by using their arm and shoulder to rotate the wrist to full mobility. By keeping the arm closer to your body and with practice your wrist rotation will improve.
Supination and Pronation Exercise
Below is a video with an exercise that will help your increase your wrist and forearm rotation.
Holding the weight at the end enhances the effectiveness of the exercise.
The forearm rotation test is easy, right?
Well, there are quite a few more, and they do get more complicated.
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The this is the fourth screen of sixteen.
To find links to the other mobility screens go to Put the Horse in Front of the Cart and Get With the Fitness Program, they’re listed near the bottom of the article.
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