October 10 2012
By Sean Cochran, Golf Fitness
Execution of a proficient golf swing requires a physical foundation grounded in a body having certain levels of flexibility, joint mobility, segmental stability, muscular strength, endurance, and power. This physical foundation provides the golfer with the opportunity to execute a proficient golf swing.
If the golfer lacks in the required physical parameters of the golf swing, the ability to execute a proficient swing may be hindered. This hindrance is due to the body being unable to perform the athletic actions or maintain the postural positions required in the golf swing. The end result of such physical impedances is typically the development of compensation patterns in an attempt to overcome these physical dysfunctions.
The process by which the golfer can overcome physical dysfunctions affecting the execution of the golf swing is through the implementation of golf fitness exercises. Such exercises focus on developing the required levels of flexibility, mobility, segmental stability, strength, and power needed to execute a proficient golf swing.
Generally speaking physical limitations for the majority of golfers are centered on a lack joint mobility in the hips, thoracic spine (i.e., area of spine between shoulder blades), and/or segmental stability in the core. That being said, a good starting point for most golfers is the implementation of fitness exercises to develop the required levels of mobility and strength in the aforementioned areas of the body.
Joint mobility development is centered upon creating extensibility in the muscles surrounding a joint in order to allow for a full joint range of motion to occur. A number of modalities can be utilized to achieve this goal such as static stretching, self myofascial release, and dynamic flexibility training.
Segmental stability is predicated upon developing muscular strength in the sections of the body utilized in the golf swing. The core is one of these sections and is comprised of all the musculature from just above the knees to slightly below the chest on the front, sides, and back of the body. Muscles groups included in the core are the abdominals, obliques, glutes, and lower back.
Resistance training is by far the most common training modality to develop strength within the muscular system. The golfer has a number of different training tools such as dumbbells, cable systems, exercise tubing, medicine balls, suspension trainers, and even body weight at their disposal to utilize for strength training of the core.
Exercises which I utilize with the PGA TOUR player to develop joint mobility in the hip and thoracic spine are Windshield Wipers and Kneeling Club Rotations. Relative to the development of segmental stability in the core I gravitate towards the utilization of the TRX Suspension Trainer and exercises such as Pikes and Jack Knifes.
Windshield Wipers (Hip Mobility): Place yourself on the floor, back flat, knees bent at 90 degrees, hands between both knees, feet together, and head resting on the floor.
Slowly separate your feet keeping the knees bent at 90 degrees. Create the separation of the feet through rotation at the hip joint. Separate the feet as far as possible while keeping the knees and hands in contact with one another. Return to the starting position and repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
Kneeling Club Rotations (Thoracic Spine Mobility): Position the lower body in a kneeling position with the right knee in contact with the floor. Grasp a golf club or dowel rod with both hands and extend the arms straight overhead. Position the torso upright with the eyes looking forward.
Slowly rotate the upper body to the right while keeping the arms overhead. Rotate as far as possible the right while keeping the torso upright and arms overhead. Pause slightly at the end point of the rotation and repeat to the left. Alternate rotating left and right for 10 repetitions. Repeat the exercise sequence with the left knee in contact with the floor.
TRX Jack Knife (Core Strength): Squat down and place your feet in the foot cradles of the TRX suspension trainer. Extend the legs straight and position your body in a standard push position.
Hold the push up position and pull your knees in towards the chest. Continue to pull the knees forward as close as possible to your chest. Hold this position for one second, return to the starting position of the exercise and repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
To learn more about Sean Cochran and his golf fitness training exercises and golf fitness programs go to http://www.seancochran.com