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August 23 2012

5:00 PM

Fitness: Reverse Spine Angle

By Sean Cochran, Golf Fitness

The reverse spine angle is a common swing fault affecting a number of amateur players in the game of golf. This swing fault is characterized by a backward bend of the upper body during the backswing.

The reverse spine angle makes it very difficult for the golfer to initiate the downswing with the lower body due to the poor postural positioning at the top of the backswing. This typically results in the upper body dominating the downswing thus causing issues with swing path and power outputs. Secondly, a reverse angle swing fault is a primary cause of lower back pain due to the crunch factor created by this compensation pattern on the lower back.

Alternating Arm & Leg Extension The cause of swing faults in general are a result of biomechanical inefficiencies, improper equipment, and/or physical dysfunctions. On the physical side of this equation, in order to execute each phase of the swing efficiently with the correct timing certain levels of joint mobility, muscular flexibility, segmental stability, and power must be present. If limitations in any of these aforementioned physical parameters exist, the ability to execute a proficient swing may be impeded.

Relative to the reverse spine angle swing fault, physical limitations impeding the golfer to maintain a fixed spine angle due to an inability to create separation between the upper and lower body can be the culprit behind this compensation pattern.

Separation between the upper and lower body allows the golfer’s shoulders to rotate around the spine without going into an excessive backward bend (i.e. reverse spine angle). In order to create this separation, mobility in the hips, thoracic spine (i.e. area of spine between shoulder blades) and stability in the lower body and core are needed.

Bent Knee Side to Side Leg Swings Start In situations where physical limitations are impeding the golfer’s ability to create separation it is ideal to implement golf fitness exercises to assist in the correction of physical dysfunctions affecting the swing.

Golf fitness exercises conducive to developing separating between in the upper and lower body in the backswing are the Alternating Arm and Leg Extension, Bent Knee Side-to-Side Leg Swings, and Kettle Bell Swings.

Alternating Arm and Leg Extension (Core Stability): Place both of your hands on the floor directly under the shoulders. Position both of your knees directly under the hips, eyes looking down, and back flat.

Simultaneously extend the left arm and right leg. Extend both the arm and leg until completely straight. Hold this position for one second and return to the starting position of the exercise. Repeat the exercise extending the opposite arm and leg. Alternate for 10-15 repetitions.

Bent Knee Side-to-Side Leg Swings (Dynamic Hip Mobility): Stand 6-10 inches away from a wall, post, or cable column with the feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed directly at the wall, legs straight, hips facing the wall, and hands planted firmly on the wall at shoulder height. Lift the left leg off the floor, placing the knee in-line with the left hip.

Begin rotating the right leg in a swinging motion in front of the body. Keep the knee elevated at hip height and swing the leg left and right as far as possible while keeping the right heel firmly planted on the floor. Perform 10-15 swings of the right leg and switch to the right.

Kettle Bell Swing Kettle Bell Swings (Lower Body Stability and Power): Stand with feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed forward, knees bent, hips press backwards, arms extended, and both hands grasping the kettle bell slightly in front of your feet.

Swing the kettle bell backwards through your legs by hinging at the hips keeping both arms straight. Forcefully extend the hips and knees driving the kettle bell back through your legs. Continue to extend the legs and hips until your torso is upright and the kettle bell is directly front of your chest with the arms extended. Continue the exercise by bending the knees, hinging the hips, and returning the kettle bell in a swinging action back through the both legs. Repeat the swing of the kettle bell for 6-10 repetitions.

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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