Get Greater Range of Motion in Your Golf Swing

Get Greater Range of Motion in Your Golf Swing

Now that golf season is here, many of our clients are making their way back to the links for some much-needed and long-awaited tee time. These early months of the golf season are extremely crucial. If you haven’t prepared your body for the technically challenging movements of golf, then your season may be over before it begins. 

In the past, we’ve covered how technically challenging and impactful a golf swing is on the whole body. When we think about stretching for golf, the focus is on relieving tension in the hips, adductors, and low back muscles to increase drive and create tension relief on the low back. These are the obvious areas to treat to allow for increased rotation and overall stability over the ball, but they are not the only muscles to investigate.

There are small nuances that go into the sport that can have a similar impact on your body’s range of motion and ability to function. One of those nuances is influenced by something we do every day; walking. With the implementation of golf carts people are walking less and less on the course, and although this is convenient, it’s really not doing your body any favors. Similar to hip and back overuse injuries of the golf swing, you can produce similar overuse injuries in your feet from walking, sitting, walking, and sitting again. This aspect of the game warms up the muscles, lengthens them, and then once you stop moving, contracts and thus shortens the muscles. Shortened muscles in the feet can lead to inflamed plantar fascia (plantar fasciitis), achilles/soleus injuries and calf tightness; all which eventually lead to limited motion and subsequently knee or hip problems.

When your feet are not functioning properly, the impact is felt on your golf swing. Your feet are first contact and therefore first to initiate the movement of the swing. If the range of motion of your feet and ankles are limited, then so will be your rotation. A limited ability of the feet will lead to limited follow through in the golf swing. 

At LYMBR we have specific protocol for feet, ankles, and toes to make sure you are getting optimal performance from those areas. Remember that feet are the first point of contact to the ground, if they are weak, then the rest of the body is functioning on an unstable foundation. By stretching your feet and ankles we can restore range of motion and overall flexibility of those specific muscles. This will make them more able to absorb impact, withstand hours of stop and start walking, and allow for proper rotation of the ankles through the duration of your swing.

Written by Conner Fritchley, Stretch Therapist in our Darien studio.

Are You Ready For Golf Season

Are You Ready For Golf Season

As winter comes to a close and spring tries to make an appearance, golfers in the northeast are eager to play their first round. If you are fortunate to play year-round in warmer weather, chances are you have many rounds under your belt, with many more to come.

Is your body up to par?

Every golfer knows the importance of a finely tuned swing and the need for flexibility, yet their body often resists.  The golf swing is one of the most complex motions in all of sports. It uses the entire kinetic chain to transfer forces from your feet, through your hips and back, to your shoulders and hands. It’s no surprise this motion can take a toll, causing sore muscles, and often injuries from overuse.

The primary objectives of the golf swing are to produce maximum distance, be accurate, and be in control through every phase of the swing. To do this successfully with less risk of injury, proper strengthening and proper mobility and flexibility are key. 

Golfers perform a lot of repetitive motions and do so for long periods of time. During the backswing, muscles like the quadriceps, glutes and obliques are activated in the hips and core. When these muscles are working together properly, the latissimus dorsi and pectoralis muscles can efficiently be stretched at the top of the swing to the full position of the backswing.

During the downswing, the quadriceps, psoas, obliques and glutes are a couple of the major players responsible for creating hip stability, hip extension, and internal rotation. Speed in the golf swing is created through rotation. You can’t rotate efficiently if you’re tight and off balance. The pectoralis muscles and latissimus dorsi generate force and energy that will travel to the forearms. The forearms are very important to the swing as they will affect your grip and can be a factor in your drive ending up in the center of the fairway or in the rough.

In the follow through phase, muscle groups like the core and rotator cuff muscles take charge in deaccelerating the body after maximum power is generated. This is very taxing on the body and with the proper stretching and strengthening program put in place, these muscle groups can be conditioned to perform at a high level. Keeping these muscles in good shape will also aid in injury prevention.

Flexibility is equally important for a good golf swing – and many golfers come to us feeling like they don’t have enough of it. The most common areas we treat with our golfing clients are the low back, hips and shoulders. Long days in the office during the week sitting behind a computer while having to endure a lengthy commute, often hinders many. Maximal rotation in backswing and downswing is hard to achieve if your hips are locked up from sitting. Often, these muscles are tight and underused which will directly affect your swing and the way you feel swinging. It’s crucial to correct muscular imbalances and tightness before compensation occurs, throwing off the entire chain.

In order for your muscles to perform at their best, they must also be limber. For example, if you have strengthened your hip flexors to help power your swing load and turn, but the range that muscle can go is limited, so too will the power you hope to generate with that motion. When your hip flexors are able to assist in a full and smooth rotation, the power behind your swing will be optimal. This is true for all the muscles that fire in unison when you set your tee and hope to drive the ball down the center of the fairway.

Tiger Woods is a prime example of healthy play versus non-healthy play. We’ve seen him play like a well-oiled machine and we’ve also seen him end his day very early. A few years ago, he talked about not being able to activate his glutes and thus leading to low back pain. There are several reasons this could have happened. Possibly compensation of weak or underused glutes, poor posture or compression of nerves to name a few. These are things that can happen to anyone if the proper preventative measures are not taken.

Getting ready for golf season or trying to improve on your current season takes a lot more than going to the range and hitting buckets of balls. You will get a lot more out of your game if you invest in a program designed to hit all the major muscles involved in the swing. The right program will keep you limber, strong and playing as much golf as you wish to play.

Written by Michael Eaton. Michael is a Stretch Therapist and Assistant Manager in our Darien Studio.

 

Stretching For Golf

Stretching For Golf

The golf swing is one of the most complex and beautiful motions in all sports. It utilizes the entire kinetic chain to transfer forces from your feet through your hips and back, to your shoulders and hands. The spiraling golf swing is truly a full body movement. We have clients come in sharing that golf is doing a number on their body – making them feel older than they are, and by the end of the season they are really hurting. Assisted stretching can make a big difference, as long as each client is evaluated for their individual needs.

If we look at common ailments that sideline golfers we see overuse and low back issues topping the list. Overuse injuries are just what the name indicates, and often easily preventable. Overusing an area, simply put, is performing motion, stopping, and performing the action again and again. The stopping and resuming occurs between shots, between holes, between rounds and between days. Every time a muscle gets warm, which occurs during frequent use, it eventually cools down. During the cool down phase the muscle contracts. Without any activity to restore length muscles will get incrementally shorter. Some players may feel discomfort after their first round while other players can go weeks even months before feeling something. Including stretching to keep you muscles long and your nerves relaxed at any time is helpful to prevent injuries.

Every part of the body is involved in a golf swing, yet not everyone swings the clubs or hits the ball the same. Because everyone is different there are specific stretches for each person. The differences in swings cause the body to brace and store impact forces differently for each of us.

Therefore, the entire body should be considered and considered on an individual basis. We see two very common areas that clients see relief from; stretching the hip flexors and adductors which greatly increase the golfer’s drive, and stretching the low back which relieves tightness and pain. These finer details are what a stretch therapist highlights for you to keep you out on the course, competing in tournaments, and getting the most out of your season.