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August 8 2012

2:03 PM

Fitness: Correct the over-the-top move

By Sean Cochran, Golf Fitness

Swing faults or compensation patterns within the mechanics of the golf swing are a common problem area for many players. Generally speaking, swing faults are a result of issues pertaining to improper swing mechanics, physical dysfunctions within the body, or improper equipment.

For example, a very common swing fault for the higher handicapper is the over-the-top move. The over-the-top move is a situation where the upper body dominates the downswing resulting in a change to an out-to-in swing path typically causing a slice or pull.

Assuming equipment is not an issue, dissecting this swing fault to a greater degree we could discern the root of such a compensation may be a result of mechanical inefficiencies where the golfer is not sequencing the downswing correctly, or possibly the golfer is unable to initiate the downswing with the lower body due to physical limitations.

What this example begins to point out is the interconnection between the body and execution of the golf swing. In order to execute a proficient golf swing where each phase of the swing is performed correctly, certain levels of joint mobility, muscular flexibility, segmental stability, strength, and power are needed.

If the body is limited in any of these aforementioned physical parameters, the ability to execute an efficient golf swing may be limited resulting in the development of compensation patterns to overcome these physical limitations impeding the golf swing.

That being said, when looking at a swing faults it is important to take a look at both the mechanics of the swing and the body. Taking this approach and returning to the over-the-move swing fault, execution of a proficient golf swing where the lower body leads in the downswing requires certain levels of joint mobility in the hips, thoracic spine (i.e. area of spine between the shoulder blades), and segmental stability (strength) within the core.

If the body is lacking in any of these physical components it can very easily lead to a tendency by the golfer to lead the downswing with the upper body. In such a situation where limitations in the hips, thoracic spine, or core are impeding the golf swing, it is ideal to implement corrective exercises to improve the physical dysfunctions affecting the golf swing.

Three very good golf fitness exercises to utilize in a situation where limitations exist in the hips, thoracic spine, and core are as follows:


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Piriformis Stretch (Hip Mobility) 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. Maintain a 90-degree bend in the knee when elevating the leg.

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Thoracic Spine Foam Roll (Thoracic Spine Mobility) Lay flat on your back, knees slightly closer than shoulder width, hands clasped behind your head, elbows next to the ears, and shoulders placed on the foam roll.

Slowly roll the foam roll down the upper back. Continue to roll until you reach the mid-point of the back. Reverse the exercise and roll upward to the shoulders. Alternate back and forth 3-5 times. Keep the elbows next to your ears, and focus on the upper back throughout the entire exercise.


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Physio-Ball Table Top (Core Stability) Place the head and shoulders on top of the ball with feet shoulder width apart on the floor. Elevate the hips to a position horizontally in line with your knees and shoulders. Place your hands on both hips.

Extend the lower right leg outward from the knee. Continue to extend the lower leg until it is straight. Hold the extended position of the right leg for one second and return to your starting position. Repeat the exercise with the opposite leg. Alternate back and forth for 10-15 repetitions and keep the hips elevated throughout the entire exercise.

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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