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March 29 2012

1:35 PM

Fitness: Flexibility key to golf swing

By Sean Cochran, Golf Fitness We are all very aware the execution of a proficient golf swing requires the golfer to draw the club through a large range of motion. In order to complete this requirement of the golf swing a certain level of joint mobility and muscular flexibility is required. If the golfer is lacking in either the joint mobility or muscular flexibility needed to draw the club on the intended swing path, we will most likely see some sort of compensation to offset these physical limitations affecting the swing. This situation can be very limiting in terms of development and improvement in the fundamentals of the golf swing. As a result, we as golfers understand the importance of flexibility for golf. Where we commonly get off track relative to swing flexibility is what muscles require flexibility to execute a proficient golf swing. Not every muscle in the body needs to be flexible to execute a proficient swing. To answer this question of muscular flexibility for golf we can turn our attention to the Mobility/Stability Pattern of Human Movement Principle. This principle developed by noted physical therapist Gray Cook explains how efficient athletic movement occurs. An oversimplification of this exercise science principle states the golf swing requires joint mobility in the ankles, hips, thoracic spine (area of spine between shoulder blades), shoulders, and wrists. In order for the aforementioned joints to be mobile, the muscles surrounding each of these joints must be extensible. If “tightness” exists in the muscles surrounding any of these joints, range of motion will most likely be limited, thus adversely affecting the golf swing. Understanding this information provides a blue print for developing swing flexibility. In the most basic of terms, a flexibility program for golf must create extensibility in the musculature surrounding the ankles, hips, thoracic spine, shoulders, and wrists. The hips tend to be a troublesome area for many golfers as it pertains to joint mobility. It is very common to find “tightness” in the muscles surrounding the hips limiting a golfer in the execution of a proficient swing. The exercise A common flexibility exercises used to address the musculature surrounding the hips is the Piriformis Stretch. To perform the Piriformis Stretch lay on the floor, knees bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor. Slowly place the outside of your right ankle on the thigh of the left leg. Grasp the right ankle with your left hand and place the right hand on the inside of the right knee. Elevate the left leg to a position where the lower leg is parallel to the floor and the knee is bent at 90 degrees. If an additional stretch is required, simultaneously pull with the left hand and press with the right hand until a stretch is felt. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat with the opposite leg. To learn more about Sean Cochran and his golf fitness training exercises and golf fitness programs go to http://www.seancochran.com
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