Wrist Extension or Cupping – Mobility Test for Golfers

Published on Dec 14, 2016

Wrist extension or cupping is the sixth mobility screen I use to evaluate the mobility and stability of golfers.

The lack of wrist mobility during the backswing and downswing can lead to swing compensations that will cause inconsistent ball striking and could lead to wrist and forearm pain or injuries.  

Because the wrists are so important to the golf swing, Titleist Performance Institute has included four wrist mobility screens to evaluate limitations that will affect your golf swing.

Wrist extension is the last of these wrist mobility screens.

Sixth in a Series

This is the sixth post in a series of articles on mobility screens for golfers. To read other articles in the series, you will find links near the bottom of this post: Put the Horse in Front of the Cart and Get With the Fitness Program.

To receive notice when I publish new mobility screen articles, click the “Alert Me” button below and I will send you an e-mail.

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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. 

Wrist Extension or Cupping

Objective of the Wrist Cupping Screen

The wrist extension screen will evaluate if you can extend, or bend your wrist backward to the degree that will allow you to swing a golf club without some other part of your body compensating for a lack of mobility. 

As mentioned above, having proper wrist extension is important during backswing and downswing. Furthermore, after hitting the golf ball, your lead wrist goes into extension during the follow-through. Here, I believe, is where injury can occur if your wrist lacks mobility. 

The mobility test is quick and easy. Rather than a pass/fail test, there are three possible outcomes. Do your wrists bend backward less than, equal to, or greater than 60-degrees?

Obviously, less than 60-degrees isn’t useful, and you need to add corrective exercises to your golf conditioning program. Sixty degrees is the minimum amount of mobility necessary, but you should eventually add some wrist extension corrections or at least make sure movement doesn’t degrade over time. You should word toward having wrist extension of over 60-degrees.  

Measuring and documenting screening results is useful as you can compare the results after re-testing to see if the corrective exercises are helping, or if there has been some mobility degradation.

How to Perform the Wrist Extension Test

The wrist extension or cupping screen is easy to do, and the steps are listed below.

I have also created a video to show you how to do the wrist extension test.

Before you start, you will need a device to gauge or measure your wrist angle. 

I recommend the Clinometer App as it’s an easy way to measure angles by laying your phone on the surface you want to measure. You can also use a goniometer or protractor.

You can also use a 6-iron, as the angle between the shaft and the bottom of the club is around 60-degrees. As you will see in the video, using a club is hard to do by yourself. 

The Steps

  • Stand upright and hold out your arm parallel to the floor or ground.
  • Make a fist.
  • Keeping your arm still, bend your hand backward.
  • Repeat this motion two or three times to loosen up your wrist.
  • Making sure your arm is parallel, gauge or measure the angle between parallel and the top of your hand. 
  • wrist cuppingThe angle will vary slightly between the index finger side and the pinky side (see image). Choose the middle of your hand. 
  • If you are using the App or goniometer, note the angle, if you’re using a 6-iron, note if your wrist extends less than the club, equal to the club, or more than the club angle.
  • Test the other wrist.
  • Mark the results on the TMF Mobility Screening Sheet (download below). 

As you can see in the image, the left side of my hand is at a greater angle (66-degrees) than the right side (64-degrees). Which do you mark down? Measure in the middle of your hand or average the two measurements. 

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.

Click to Download the PDF

Below is a video of the wrist extension test.  

On the Screening Sheet

Once you’ve downloaded the TMF Mobility Screening Sheet, go to the 6th test, Wrist Cupping, and circle “Yes” next to the line that describes your wrist mobility for both the right and left wrist. 

If you measured the angle, there’s room to write down the angle and use this as a baseline when you re-screen yourself, either after corrective exercises or at a later date.

Wrist Extension Exercises

Don’t worry if you can’t cup your wrists 60-degrees there are a few exercises that will improve your mobility. 

You can do these exercises while you’re watching TV. I recommend you get a Flexbar by Theraband. 

The Flexbar is easy to use, hold it in front of you and use one hand to keep it in place then rotate your other hand and wrist over the top of the Flexbar as far as you can twist it and hold it for as long as you can. 

You can use the Flexbar for other wrist, forearm, and elbow exercises too. 

Wrist Extension Using a Dumbbell 

You can use light dumbbells to help you increase the range of your wrist extension.

The exercises used to help with wrist extension aren’t difficult. All it takes is some time and patience to stick with the movements until you improve your mobility. 

I like the Theraband exercise as it provides resistance to the movement pattern. The further you rotate the bar, the more it pushes back. Plus you can use it for other exercises. 

Mobility Screenings

There you have the wrist extension test along with a few corrective exercises. 

We got through all of the wrist screenings and next we will move on to a screen that will test the mobility of your neck, and then we move to the lower body.

Click the Alert Me button below, and I will send you an e-mail when I publish the next mobility screening article.

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The this is the sixth of sixteen screens.

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 post.

If you think someone else might be interested in these mobility screens, use the social share buttons along the left side of the article to share with your friends. If you would like to follow me on social media, I’m on the sites below.

Disclosure: The content on this website is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, suggestions, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. Any statements here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Always seek the advice of your personal healthcare provider before changing your health regiment. The information on this website is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment. You assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions. I may earn a small affiliate commission for my endorsement, recommendations, testimonial and or link to any products or services on this website. Your purchase helps support my work and bring you real information about golf conditioning and performance. Thank You!

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