A good golf swing starts with a strong base of support (hips, pelvis and lumbar spine). A highly conditioned base of support provides stability during the swing and ensures that the forces are effectively transferred from the legs through the hips to the upper body for optimal strength and control. A strong base helps protect the joints and other supporting tissues against the strong pressure, shear and torsion forces that occur during the golf swing. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that predispose the golfer to developing bad postural patterns and muscle imbalance that result in a weak support base.
For many of our young lives, we were stuck in school at our desk. We finish school and start our career. Many of us now notice that we spend an excessive amount of time in our cars or sit in badly designed chairs for a computer. In the course of time we have been conditioned to have tight hip flexors and a lazy posture. Poor posture and muscle imbalance reduce musculoskeletal efficiency and disrupt communication within the neuromuscular system. Short tight muscles show a lower activation threshold, which means that they fire at times when they should be less active or inactive. About activation of dominant muscles leads to reduced neural control to their opposite muscles. Put simply, "when a muscle becomes tight and overactive, its opposite muscle becomes loose and lazy." Tightly dominant hip flexors create weak and lazy hip extensors (gluteals) and cause a chain reaction of dysfunction.
Tight hip flexors draw the pelvis forward in a direction that leads to an excessive curvature of the lumbar spine. As a result, the muscles of the abdominal wall become longer and weaker, while the muscles of the lumbar spine become short and tight. This pattern also causes disruption in the lateral stabilization system of our body. The hip abductors (muscles that move the legs away from the middle of the body) together with their opposite adductors (muscles that move the legs to the middle of the body) work to stabilize the pelvis during lateral movement. Inefficiency in this lateral stabilization system inhibits coordination and impedes proper weight change due to the golf swing. So what remains are weak hip extensors (gluteal muscles) that can not swing the hips through the swing, dominant hip flexors that do not allow the hips to open to allow a full turn, tight spine muscles that are forced to do the work of the weak hip extensors, but too tight to make a complete rotation, and a lack of coordination needed to make good ball contact consistently. To make matters worse, most golfers spend hours on the driving range to reinforce and reinforce this dysfunctional pattern. Is it any wonder that the average golf score has not dropped in decades?
To break this pattern of dysfunction and build a strong foundation of support, we first need to establish coordinated muscle burn between deep-firming abdominal muscles, hip flexors and extensors, hip abductor and adductors and spinal flexors, extensors and rotators . This is achieved through the activation and strengthening of weak and inhibited muscles, and the stretching of the tight and dominant muscles. Once these muscles have been re-trained and coordinated muscle burning is established, we can then work on building optimal strength and strength.
The first step in this process is the development of the deep abdominal and pelvic muscles. This is done by controlling the abdominal brace. The belly brace differs from traditional abdominal training that promotes "hollowing out of the abdomen" a.k.a. the "overtaking" maneuver. With the "draw-in" maneuver we are told to pull or pull our umbilical stitches to our spine. Research has shown that retraction reduces abdominal activation and reduces the stability of the lumbar pelvic hip. The abdominal brace is an isometric contraction of the abdominal muscles, which means that the abdominal muscles are not pulled in or pushed out. This maneuver should be the first step of every exercise, because it forms the basis of lumbar, pelvic and hip stabilization. The following exercise will allow you to master this movement and re-educate the lower abdominal wall and let the deep pelvic stabilizers burn efficiently.
o Lay in a lying position (on your back) with bent knees and feet flat on the floor.
o Hold your stomach muscles by tensing the abdominal muscles as if you were punching a stump in your stomach.
o Return to a relaxed spot position and repeat.
o Control Movement is the key. When performing these exercises, strictly supervise NOT allowing the use of the legs (hip flexors and / or buttocks) during the abdominal muscles. The only muscles that contract are the abdominal wall; place your hands on the navel to feel this isolated contraction
o There should be no tension in your neck or shoulders.
Do not limit the abdominal position to practice. Practicing the brace with all activities (sitting, walking, riding, golfing, etc.) will help you develop the endurance that your abdominal muscles need to maintain a strong foundation of support and a healthy back.
A study presented by researchers at the 51st annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine showed that golfers with strong hip muscles have lower disabilities and longer driving distances than those with weak hip muscles. This is logical because hip and pelvic muscles play an important role in stabilizing the trunk and transmitting forces of the lower body through the upper body and arms during the golf swing. The ability of the hip extensors (gluteals and hamstrings) and lumbar extensors to fire together, also allows the body to respond to the rapid rotational forces of the golf swing and counteract it. The problem here, as we have already discussed, is that many golfers have inhibited hip extensors and tight and dominant loin flexers. Under the best conditions, our spines were not designed to swing a golf club. Now we add the problem repeatedly and force our spinal cord muscles to do the work of our hip extensors to work through the swing. Spinal extensor muscles do not have the size or strength to do this, hence the huge incidence of overuse injury and low back pain in golfers. So, what we have to do is free about our lumbar extensors to let the hip extensors do their work.
The Bird Dog movement progression effectively helps to develop stabilization, coordination and strength of the spine. The key to this type of exercise is learning and then maintaining the "neutral" spine. Neutral does not mean straight, it means that the natural curves may be present. This is necessary to allow the spine to function properly and to allow movement to take place in a stress-free manner. The golf club placed along the length of the spine is an excellent cue with which the golfer can feel the correct position of the spine and make the necessary corrections. The club shaft must only touch three points; the base of the head, the middle of the back and the middle of the pelvis. Hollow spaces should be seen in the neck and lower back.
o Sit on your hands and knees with a golf club along your spine; make sure that the bar only makes contact with 3 points (main middle back pelvis).
o Hold your abs and slowly lift a hand and the opposite knee just off the floor (no more than 1/4 inch). Hold for five to ten seconds.
o Return to the starting position and the other sides.
o The club must keep in touch with all 3 contact points (head, middle back, pelvis).
Once you have mastered the dog 1, you can go to the next progression. Dog 2 adds the components of hip extension and shoulder flexion. This exercise is extremely effective in restoring the efficiency of the extensor chain (hip, lumbar and cervical extensors).
o Put yourself on your hands and knees with a golf club along your spine; make sure that the bar only makes contact with 3 points (main middle back pelvis).
o Hold your abdominal muscles, slowly pull one arm (thumb up) straight forward and the opposite leg behind you.
o Hold for five to ten seconds and repeat with the other side.
o The club must keep in touch with all 3 contact points (head, middle back, pelvis))
o Do not allow your hips to rotate.
The key with dog 2 is not to allow the lumbar extensors to fire during this movement. After controlling Dog 2 you can further challenge the hip extensors by adding the bridge exercise. The bridge adds the resistance of the body weight to the hip extension movement and forms a further challenge (and strengthens) the deep stabilizers or the lumbar pelvic hip complex.
o Lie on your back with your arms beside you.
o Hold your abs and squeeze your buttocks (buttocks) and raise your hips to a bridge position. Pause and return to the starting position.
o Your feet should stay flat.
o This movement is started with the hips, not with the spinal extension muscle; no pressure should be felt in the lower back.
o Make sure that the muscles of the abdomen and the buttocks contract during the entire movement.
It is important to implement a good stretch program to extend the tight muscles as you become stronger. your basis of support. Apart from the already mentioned hip flexors and lumbar extensors, other areas usually close to golfers include the muscles of the hamstrings, neck, scapular elevators (upper trapezius and levator scapulae) and internal shoulder rotators. A qualified strength and fitness or golf fitness professional can provide you with a postural and biomechanical analysis that can provide a more detailed picture of your specific needs. By improving your support base, you can add distance and control to your game and help prevent, reduce and possibly eliminate wave-related pain and injuries.