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June 20 2013

11:47 AM

Fitness: Improve your flexibility

By Sean Cochran, Golf Fitness PGATOUR.COM          

Executing a proficient golf swing does require certain levels of flexibility and mobility. This allows the golfer the opportunity to execute each phase of the swing proficiently. Unfortunately many amateur players are limited in terms of joint mobility and muscular flexibility thus affecting their ability to perform a repeatable golf swing. 

The result of these mobility and flexibility limitations typically manifest itself in the development of compensatory patterns in an attempt to overcome these physical dysfunctions, leading to the development of swing faults. 

The process by which the amateur can begin to overcome mobility and flexibility restrictions limiting the execution of the golf swing is via the introduction of flexibility, mobility and corrective exercises to address the areas of dysfunction.

Two segments of the body where limitations are typically present in the amateur player are the hips and thoracic spine. The hips are a ball and socket joint with a very large intended range of mobility. Hip mobility is imperative in the rotary components of the swing, the creation of an X-factor, initiation of the downswing and generation of speed. 

If limitations exist in the hips due to a lack of extensibility of the surrounding musculature, the ability of the hips to rotate through their intended range of motion will most likely be limited thus causing restrictions directly affecting the golf swing.

The thoracic spine (T-spine) is a section of the spine located between the shoulder blades. This section of the spine is mobile and very much involved in the rotational components of the swing. Limitations in the T-spine can cause difficulty in the creation of separation, completion of the shoulder turn, and maintaining of a fixed spine angle. 

Windshield Wipers and Kneeling Club Rotations are two very good exercises to address limitations in the hips and thoracic spine of the golfer. Both of these exercises overtime can improve muscular extensibility and joint mobility allowing the golfer with the opportunity to execute a more proficient golf swing.

Windshield Wipers

To perform Windshield Wipers position 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 in place and bent at 90 degrees. Create the separation of the feet through rotation at the hip joint. Separate the feet as far as possible apart while keeping the knees and hands in contact with one another. Return to the starting position and repeat for the 10-15 repetitions.

Kneeling Club Rotations 

Kneeling Club Rotations will require the utilization of a golf club or dowel rod to perform. Begin the exercise by positioning 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.

Joint mobility and muscular flexibility are key physical components in the execution of the proficient golf swing. Limitations in either joint ranges of motion or muscular extensibility the will most likely be inhibit the ability to perform a repeatable swing.

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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