Improve Your Golf Swing

Why Every Golfer Needs Better Mobility

When we look at the joint by joint approach to movement, we see that our body alternates between joints that need more stability and mobility. Mobility and stability are necessary for all joints, but certain joint articulations will be more stability-focused, while others are mobility-focused.

Joint by Joint Approach by Mike Boyle and Gray Cook

Joint by Joint Approach by Mike Boyle and Gray Cook

By understanding the joint by joint approach, we’re better able to train our body to maintain optimal function with whatever physical activities we partake in. Think of each joint segment as members of a football team. If the hips are tight and don’t do their job well, a surrounding joint will have to pick up the slack and of the limited joint. Similar to a player on a football team that is working too hard, fatigue kicks in faster and there’s a higher risk of injury as the game goes on.

This is an everyday example of the middle age golfer with tight hips that tries to play pain-free golf on the weekends. The lower back or knees have to work overcome the lack of hip motion to swing a golf club, carry groceries, or any other type of physical exertion. The end result over time? Pain.

Golf is a game of high repetition and high force that’s executed within the same plane of motion with each and every swing. We ask our bodies to rotate at high velocities hundreds of times in an attempt to drive a little white ball as far as we can.

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When our mobility becomes restricted, we ask our body to work harder to do this.  Lack of shoulder, hip, or ankle mobility can all cause increased forces to act on the spine, increasing your risk of injury.

Now, this might not have high implications on tomorrow’s round of golf. When we talk about taking hundreds of swings over the course of the next decade, however, these implications can be detrimental to your daily quality of life. The injury statistics are staggeringly high to backup this point.  8 out of 10 people (not specific to golfers) will suffer a bout of low back pain at some point in their lives. With low back pain being the most prevalent injury in golf, something has to change.

By creating and learning how to control those motions, we can inherently improve our joint health and make our bodies more resilient to the forces we place on it. This can be done through various mobility drills, good massage therapy, and strength training through full ranges of motion. It’s not difficult to improve the way you move, it just takes consistency.

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Unlocking Your Swing Installment 5: Fix Your Grip

The way you grip the golf club can dictate whether you're landing in the fairway or searching for your ball in the deep rough courtesy of a nasty slice.

This week, we'd like to discuss the quite often overlooked positioning of your hands at ball address. In the video below, Adam Kolloff, Director of Instruction at the Jim McLean Golf School at Liberty National, provides us with insight on proper grip as well as a quick drill to assess whether your positioning is correct or not.

While grip technique is going to help improve your performance on the greens, it's important to improve your wrist strength and mobility. You don't want to put a ton of work into lowering your handicap, just to have a bad divot or tree root injury your wrist at contact. To combat this, you should be implementing wrist Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs) into you daily movement agenda. Wrist CARs can be performed anywhere, take no more than two minutes to complete numerous reps, and will help solidify any range of motion gains you will see over time. 

Want to learn more about how we prescribe mobility drills and the importance behind each one we use? Sign up for our newsletter and receive your complimentary Virtual Kinstretch Class. Fill out the form below to receive yours when released.

Back Pain? Learn How to Use Your Hips Properly

You see it all the time on television with over-the-counter medication commercials. There's a middle-aged man on the golf course with his hands grabbing his lower back. The sport that all of us love is robbed from us by the back pain inflicted when we lack quality movement.

Lower back pain is the most common injury suffered by recreational golfers, according to the Mayo Clinic. On the current Injury Report by the PGA, 7 out of 20 professionals are sidelined due to back injury (4 of these injuries are undisclosed). In a sport that produces high amounts of torque on the upper and lower extremities as well as the spine, it's virtually impossible to prevent all lower back injuries. However, there are routes we could explore in order to improve our chances of avoiding injury.

When it comes to lower back injuries, we have to account for all the possible factors that could equate to injury. Poor swing mechanics, lack of adequate mobility, and poor lifestyle habits are three major problems present in most of the golfers we've come across to date.

As we've mentioned previously, we aren't swing coaches. We could however, improve the way a client moves and feels tremendously through proper movement and healthy behavioral changes. Today, we'd like to focus primarily on movement at the hips to help relieve any lower back issues you might be dealing with.

So, why are the hips typically the culprit? 

A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research notes that poor hip mobility can alter lumbar spine kinematics. Basically, when the hips do not move well, the spine has to pick up the slack. This leads to tightness, decreased elasticity of joints and the muscles involved in moving these joints. Eventually, this combination leads to pain that we think will wear off through rest and pain medication. This isn't the case as we all know; any injury you've previously had is prone to rear its ugly head again in the future.

Hip and torso rotation are two of the most important characteristics required for a fluid and powerful golf swing. If your hips lack the necessary mobility and stability required to swing a club, other areas will have to make up for the lack of motion.  When there's less elasticity in your golf swing, that tight spine of yours will suffer from increased forces and angles that would be absorbed if you had the necessary mobility requirements.

We understand that this sounds negative, but there's hope to correcting these mobility restrictions. Below are two of our favorite drills that will improve your hip mobility for a pain-free golf game:

Active Straight Leg Raise

The active straight leg raise is a great mobility drill that mimics the hip hinge position.  Lack of mobility on either side can effect your ability to get into your optimal golf posture. Compensation at the hips can lead to excessive movement at the lower back, which we're trying to avoid. Proper dissociation of the hips from the spine will lead to better maintenance of golf posture, which will improve the overall dynamics of your swing.

Hip Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs)

We use Hip CARs with every single one of our clients that works with us. The only exception is for clients that deal with Femoralacetabular Impingement (A bony block that occurs at the hip joint), which is another topic for another day. We use CARs because they help teach you how to properly control the hip joint throughout its entire range of motion. The ranges that we don't properly control are typically the positions that we get injured in. Therefore, it's crucial to control as much of our joint's ranges of motion as much as possible.

Want to learn more about how we prescribe mobility drills and the importance behind each one we use? Sign up for our newsletter and receive your complimentary Virtual Kinstretch Class. Fill out the form below to receive yours this week.