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April 12 2012

2:04 PM

Fitness: Challenge limits of stability

By Sean Cochran, Golf Fitness Balance is a term frequently mentioned relative to the golf swing. It is recognized as a very important aspect of the swing by instructors and players alike. We are aware as golfers there is a necessity to maintain our balance during the execution of the swing and a loss of balance can be connected to a number of swing faults such as a sway, flat shoulder plane, or slide. Even though we aware of the importance balance plays in the execution of the swing how do we improve it and what does this process entail? To answer this question let us first define balance. According to Michael Clark of the National Academy of Sports Medicine, balance is the ability of the neuromuscular system (nervous and muscular systems) to maintain proper alignment, center of gravity, and coordinate the body during biomechanical movement patterns. Throughout the entire golf swing, it is necessary for the golfer to maintain the proper spine angle, create a weight transfer, generate forces in multiple planes of motion, and coordinate muscular movements. To perform this properly, you must be able to maintain balance of the body as a unit and control your extremities (i.e. arms and legs). Balance in the golf swing becomes a responsibility of both the body and mechanics of your swing working seamlessly together. We can improve one’s balance capacities via a number of different channels, one of which is on the “physical side of the equation”. Over time improvement in your balance will allow your body the ability to maintain the anatomical positions, coordinate movement, and create a weight transfer within the golf swing more efficiently and effectively. The process by which we can improve your balance capacities on the physical side of the equation is via specialized exercises. These types of exercises are based upon the principle of challenging your limits of stability (i.e. balance threshold). Limit of stability is the distance outside your base of support you can go without losing control of your body. For example, if you were to stand with both feet on the floor with your eyes open, this would most likely be very easy to accomplish. Now if you lifted your left foot off the floor and balanced on one leg, this would be more difficult because you are now beginning to challenge the limits of stability of your body. The exercise Through this process of challenging your body’s limits of stability, improvement in your balance capacities will occur. An example of a balance exercise very conducive to the golf swing is Single Leg Address Position Rotations. To perform Single Leg Address Position Rotations place your body in a proper address position, knees flexed slightly, fixed spine angle, and arms crossed over your chest. Raise the right foot slightly off the floor while maintaining your address position and fixed spine angle. Begin to slowly rotate your shoulders to the right to the point of a complete shoulder turn. Return to the starting position of the exercise and repeat for 10-15 repetitions maintaining balance on the left foot. Repeat the exercise balancing on the left foot. 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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