So have you finally realized the importance of flexibility and stability to the game of golf? How many times has your teaching pro told you that your swing is being limited by your inflexibility? Is that inflexibility and instability affecting your life and daily activities as well as your game? Most importantly, is it creating or contributing to pain?
Pain + golf = inconsistency, higher scores, compensation and permanent injury! So what are you doing about it? I think the biggest question I get from my clientele and others is, "what do I see is the biggest issue for the average boomer to senior golfer?"
My answer is always, "mobility and stability of the areas that should be mobile and stable." I'd say from the 25 handicapper to my PGA Tour winners...most everyone I see have various degrees of immobility and instability throughout their body. It is these two primary issues that cause the most swing faults, the most pain and inability to perform at optimal levels!
One of the easiest ways to think about how the body works was stated by Mike Boyle...the body works in a mobility and stability stacking system that looks like this... Normal Pattern:
- Foot- Stable
- Ankle- Mobile
- Knee- Stable
- Hip- Mobile
- Pelvis/ Sacrum/ Lumbar Spine- Stable
- Thoracic Spine- Mobile
- Scapulo-Thoracic- Stable
- Gleno-Humeral/ Shoulder- Mobile
- Elbow- Stable
- Wrist- Mobile
- Cervical Spine- C1/C2- Mobile C3-C7-Stable
For now, let's focus a few of the most important parts of this system, the hips, the core, and the thoracic spine.
As a professional who has worked on hundreds of clients over the last ten years utilizing hands on therapy like, trigger point massage and Muscle Activation Techniques, I can tell you that muscle and fascia adhesion has created "havoc" in my clients' bodies! A majority of clients who come in with pain have been told by the "medical establishment' that they have...
- An "itis," like "arthritis," or osteoarthritis or something else
- Tears in the joint capsule
- Torn ligaments
- To get a joint replacement
- To take some kind of anti-inflammatory for a long period of time
This is why this information will be so valuable for you. It's for you who feel as if they are stuck in the middle of the "medical establishment" and a "gut" feeling that says there is something better and easier that will solve your problem. These recommendations are for you to spend a few minutes a day "treating yourself."
It is very important to consider that when we move, there is a complex mix of neurological and neuromuscular activity working together in synergy to create the complex patterns that we call human movement.
We all know that human movement involves muscular contractions and relaxation. In order to have optimal muscle contraction, there needs to be "freedom" in the muscle fibers and the fascia that incases each muscle. The trouble comes when there is a "trigger point" (TP) or an "adhesion," that prevents the muscle from contracting and relaxing and/or sliding on top of each other.
A common example of a trigger point would be the one that you get in that mid trap area of the neck between the neck and the shoulder. You usually get that one from stress, poor posture and repetitive stress like the seated work place.
An example of adhesion of the fascia is "Carpal Tunnel" syndrome. This is where the fascia, which looks like the casing of a hot dog, gets stuck to fascia of other muscles that surround it. Another food example is like when spaghetti gets stuck together at the bottom of the pan. It's all clumped together, and each individual "piece of spaghetti" cannot move independently like it's supposed to.
Both trigger points and adhesions will lead to pain, decreased joint range of motion, decreased circulation and a diminished ability to properly "re-educate" good movement. It is for these reasons that it is vitally important that the mature golfer perform the recommended stretches and exercise daily.
Now that you have a bit of understanding to the importance of immobility, let's look quickly at instability. The most important area of the body to be stable is the "core." This is the region of the pelvis and sacrum, to the lower thoracic spine (mid back). The core is crucial because it is where the body's center of gravity is found. If there is instability of the core, it will open up the spine, sacrum and hips to injury, compensation, and inefficient movement.
The core's job is to stabilize the aforementioned sacrum, pelvis, hips and lumbar spine. Unlike what many people think, the core does not create rotation per se'. Think of it as an "anti-rotator." In the golf swing, the core is only responsible for approximately 20 degrees of rotation while the hips and thoracic spine together create 65 degrees of rotation! Knowing this, you want to think of the core as the place where the lower body and upper body are separating and that's where we get all of our power, stability and balance. If your core is weak, then all of these important characteristics of the swing are in jeopardy and you will never be able to play the golf you desire.
Now that you have a better understand of mobility and stability, let's look at some solutions you can do at home that will begin to change your game from the inside out!
PLEASE FOLLOW THESE RULES!
- If you don't have it already, get an ok from your doctor to participate in an exercise program.
- Be gentle with your stretches!
- Do the stretches every day. Ideal is before your workout (before you play or practice) and before you go to bed.
- Do the exercises every other day. If you add them to a workout you are already doing, do them first.
- NEVER work through pain! If something hurts...STOP!
- Please follow recommended workout plans just below each exercise name listed. If you are a beginner, follow the beginner plan!
- Pay attention to your body changes...things are going to change and you should expect them to, just be aware! A good thing to do is to take a picture of yourself in a bathing suit before you start this program from the front and side, then be diligent on the program and take the same pictures again in a month, and enjoy the differences!
- If you have questions, please contact us.
- ON YOUR STRETCHES- MAKE SURE TO DO THE TIGHTER SIDE THREE TIMES MORE THAN THE LOOSER SIDE TILL THEY FEEL EQUAL! (ex- Right 12times/ Left 4times)