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Your Body Affects Your Motion...

Posted on 3rd February, 2016 / Source: Jody Jackson, Arbutus Ridge


You Cannot Fire a Cannon From a Canoe, Your Body Affects Your Motion...

At this time of the year, I feel it is important to address a big factor to better performance – your BODY! Putting it plain and simple – golf is an athletic endeavor with serious physical demands. Here is some proof:

Swinging your driver once maximally requires 90% voluntary contraction of your muscles. That equates to a weight you can only lift four times before you fatigue. Now think about how many times you swing a golf club at full throttle during the course of play. There is no denying that you have to be fit to play this sport to your full potential.

Some questions I get asked quite frequently are: How do I get started on a fitness program for golf? What exercises should I be doing? Is stretching important?

It can be confusing; therefore I have categorized a golf-specific training program into four areas, based on my 29 years of experience via education, professional development and personal application.

FLEXIBILITY/MOBILITY
Improving your flexibility may be the single most important factor for maintaining joint health and achieving optimal swing mechanics. My first recommendation: a head-to-toe assessment of your range of motion, i.e. flexibility.

We have come a long way in golf-specific fitness over the last decade; today Titleist Performance Institute (mytpi.com) leads the way. They are very well known for training golf professionals, fitness trainers and medical practitioners to work together to provide high-level fitness programming for golfers. So, I would recommend that you find a TPI Golf Fitness professional to work with.

With a program designed from assessment results, i.e. TPI Body Screen, only those stretches necessary to restore optimal function are given. You need not spend a lot of time on areas of the body that do not need it. Quite often, people who perform generalized stretching programs do not see results and eventually quit. If you receive proper instruction and use the correct technique, you should start to notice results within days!

BALANCE/STABILITY
There are two terms that golfers should become familiar with: 1) static postural stability and 2) dynamic postural stability. Static PS is the optimal alignment of your body while you are at rest, as in the Set-Up Position. Dynamic PS refers to the alignment of the body and the working relationship of your joints when you are moving or swinging the golf club.

During your next visit to the driving range, take a look at some folks; it will only take a few moments to notice exaggerated spinal curves, hunched backs or forward head carriages.

Improved postural alignment and stability is the first step to improved execution of dynamic stability. We are talking about static balance transferring to dynamic balance. To achieve consistent ball striking, a golfer requires excellence in both static and dynamic postural stability. To coin a phrase from legendary strength coach Charles Poliquin, “you cannot fire a cannon from a canoe”.

If you didn’t do anything else, but simply devoted time to improving your static postural stability, it would be a huge step in improving your game and handicap. By the way, Yoga is a fabulous activity to do exactly that!

STRENGTH
Golf asks for a significant amount of twisting (rotating), bending (the Set-Up position), squatting (marking your ball) and lunging (walking fairways/hills), so your strength-training program must address this.

Be aware of exercises performed on the machines in the gym, where you sit and push/pull a weight over the same path repeatedly. This has zero carry-over to the game of golf.

Find a trainer who utilizes your own body weight and/or free weights, exercise balls, balance boards, medicine balls, etc. and stay away from those machines.

POWER
After completing the flexibility, stability, strength phases of your program, it is recommended that you finish with the power phase as you approach the start of the season.

The term power is used to describe force generation respective of time. A person who can lift 300 lbs. over his or her head is strong; an Olympic lifter who can lift 300 lbs. overhead in one second has both strength and power.

Power training will improve your dynamic strength, however to do so effectively you require the foundation training of the previous phases. Skipping over flexibility, stability and strength phases and going straight to power is a recipe for disaster!

Golf demands the coordination of multi-dimensional movement. A sure way to start your road to success this year is by improving your physical fitness. Get an assessment of where you are right now. From there, elicit the guidance of a fitness professional and follow the golf-specific training formula combining training in the areas of: balance, flexibility, strength and power. The resulting ball flight will bring a smile to your face; I have experienced it myself. Go for it!

Jody Jackson
LPGA Teaching Professional, Class A
GBC Academy Instructor

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