February's Golf Today NW article from Diana
Ying and Yang For Your Golf Swingby Diana Del Garbino
Mobility and Stability. It is like a golf bag and your clubs; you can’t have one without the other. When these two components work together, they are the link to having balance in your golf swing and stance as well as preventing injuries.
Injuries occur when there are imbalances in the muscles or joints. Incorrect mobility can throw off your balance, creating a ripple effect in your swing thus causing your shot to be way off target. An unstable stance will prevent consistent ball striking.
The same is true if you have too much tightness in your joints. When you are not able to rotate into your backswing and pre-load your muscles, this causes loss of power. As if a poor shot isn’t bad enough, a joint or muscle injury could occur. For example, our golfer who does not have mobility in his upper body and stability in his stance may try to achieve more power in his downswing. This is usually seen by the “over the top” swing fault. This can cause strain in the chest muscles. Now that our golfer feels pain he will compensate and cause even more swing faults. Had he gained more mobility in his thoracic spine and stability in his lower body he could correct the original swing fault.
According to physical therapist Gray Cook and strength coach Mike Boyle, the principle of efficient movement for golf occurs in an alternating pattern of mobile joints and stable segments. For example, the foot has stability, the ankle has mobility, the knee has stability, etc. From the feet to the fingers this alternating pattern can be found. When this pattern is altered there becomes a dysfunction and the potential for injury increases as you move to compensate.
There are several ways to achieve both mobility and stability through your workout. Weight training provides the quickest and most reliable results. I know what you’re thinking, weight training is going to make you “big and bulky,” however the opposite is true. With controlled movement and working the muscles through their full range of motion you will get both strength and flexibility.
How it works: the muscles in the body work in such a way that when you flex your bicep muscle, your triceps muscles have to relax and stretch. This is called antagonist and agonist. All of the muscles have the ability to work in this pattern from the abdominals contracting and the back relaxing, to the gluteus maximus contracting and the hip flexors stretching and relaxing.
By working opposing groups of muscles you gain strength while maintaining proper mobility in the ligaments, thus helping to preventing injuries to you the golfer.
Your golf swing and stance will be most effective when the areas in the mobility pattern are worked to their full range of motion and when the areas in the stability pattern are stabilized for their maximum potential. With proper form, you will have the basis for a great stance, swing and follow through, along with improved endurance, balance and power. All of this will keep you playing the links for years to come.
Diana Del Garbino is TPI-Certified Level 2 fitness pro in Oregon. She works out of Muscles in Motion-Professional Training Studio in Lake Oswego, where she works regularly with local LPGA & PGA Professionals.
To learn more about Diana and her golf fitness program go to www.mymusclesinmotion.com.
Please read more articles from the February 2010 issue at: http://golftodaynw.com