The Critical Pieces of a Solid Golf Swing
The current trend of the fitness industry has been putting a predominate focus on moving the body as a whole. If you continue to train your body as a whole, sooner or later your body will eventually hit a plateau. Also if you progress or advance your exercises inappropriately by adding more weight or going faster, there’s a higher risk of injury if your body is not prepared for it. Muscle soreness can also be a measuring tool or warning sign that you could be doing more than what your body can tolerate. To find out more about how to mitigate muscle soreness click HERE. If you want that extra edge in your golf game or any sports, start to be more mindful and master what is going on inside (not only outside) of your body while you are strength training and stretching. I will explain further in detail as you continue to read this article on how to focus more on the internal forces within the body.
There’s one simple rule to moving the body. You need muscles to move and muscles to support your movement! The adult human body has about 206 bones and about 640 muscles total. Before we can move the body as a whole, we have to master controlling and getting stronger with one piece at a time. Precision and accuracy is required before we can move faster. It is very hard to continue to get faster or stronger unless you train each individual piece that you orchestrate with. The whole body is only as good as the individual pieces. You’re only as strong as your weakest link. Don’t get me wrong you can still get stronger and faster if you constantly train your body as a whole. In the beginning your body may have a higher tolerance of handling harder or intense movement of workouts, but how long will that last? How long will your body handle football games/practices, golf swing, other sports activities, squats, or pushups at a high rate of intensity? Our body can only tolerate those high intense or overloading forces on the body for so long.
We can easily hide or avoid our weak pieces when we involve big movement or move our body as a whole. The current trend of the fitness industry has been putting a predominate focus on moving the body as a whole, but they skip or forget about one important component. One of the most important pieces of exercising is training the muscles how to efficiently fire or contract before moving. Teaching your brain to connect or communicate with the muscle. Any motion or movement will generate some form of momentum or inertia force (a hidden force applied within the body). How you train your body to handle various loads applied on your body and inertia is a critical line to either appropriately challenging your body or damaging your body. You are more likely to unknowingly use your joints, ligaments, tendons if your muscles are not trained to optimally contract during a movement. This could potentially put your body in a protective mode and lead to soreness, stiffness, aches, pains and injuries.
If that’s the case, how can you efficiently improve the body mechanics and function of your golf swing with your fitness workouts? Strength training is about learning how to efficiently contract the muscles before performing the motion, and appropriately manipulating load or forces during an exercise. The forces influence structure and structure of the body determines function. So what is the best way to improve the function of the golf swing?
3 Golf Fitness Training Secrets
Below are my three training principles to follow for proper progression in your golf workouts and stretches.
1) Own It – Control & manage each piece to be “rock solid” first under stable or fixed path of motion or fixed position training environment. Learn how to focus and comfortably contract the muscles you are targeting first. Start out with slow movement with minimal to small range of motion where you can fully focus and feel the targeted muscles you are contracting. Also find a comfortable range of motion that doesn’t put any stress on the joints or ligaments (this also refers to stretches). It may be just holding the load in one certain position and performing isometrics before increasing the range of motion of the exercise. By teaching your body how to own every piece of your body, then you will create more body awareness and move your body more efficiently. Do this until it’s second nature.
An example of this would be starting on a chest press machine and find a comfortable path range of motion for the arms to move without putting too much stress in the shoulders or elbows. Then comfortably contract your chest muscle without thinking about anything else but your chest muscles as you perform the exercise. If you don’t have access to equipment but just your body weight, apply the same principles above with a pushup exercise. Just keep in mind that you now have to hold other parts of your body (trunk, lower body, head, etc.), so it lessens the focus on the chest muscle.
2) Optimize it– Controlling and Increasing ranges of motion (this also refers to stretching), speed, load, adding “wobble” or unstable movement, multi-joint exercises, skills or coordination training, separating pelvic rotations or torso rotations drills, etc. An example would be increasing range of motion on chest press machine before increasing speed and/or load while still focusing on optimally contracting the muscles. You can strategically progress to doing pushups on the ground, Bosu, TRX, etc. Here’s a video demonstration of one way to properly progress a pushup exercise >> Golf Exercises Proper Push Up Variations
3) Use It– After practiced and mastered the first two training principles or golf fit tips, then go out and use your body as a whole. Always go back on actively engaging the first two principles on a regular basis so that it becomes second nature. Then finally just go out and physically use or move your body without having to think about the pieces. The first two are making the pieces stronger, and the last one is juggling or having all the pieces work together. Examples would be daily activities, other physical activities, sports, etc.
A lot of people tend to skip straight to number two or three, which is fine as long as you have a rock solid foundation with the first training principle as far as owning and controlling every single piece of your body. If you don’t have a strong foundation first then your body may not be efficient which could lead to missing links, compensations, misalignment, tightness, aches, pains or injuries.
Here’s something to be aware of when training the body. Sometimes we may get so caught up training the movement because it’s flashy or cool but has no substance behind it. Don’t be caught doing “circus act” exercises just because everyone else is doing it. Think about the three training principles and making each piece of your body stronger before you actively engage your body as a whole. This can ensure more sensitivity and body awareness in your golf swing sequence or mechanics, and provide a strong foundation for optimal golf performance. Please consult with your physician before performing in any physical activities.
If you are in the Oklahoma City, OK area and would like to schedule a private training session please go to www.golfswingfittips.com/contact. For our latest golf and fitness tips videos, articles, products, or product reviews please go to www.golfswingfittips.com and subscribe to our golf fit tips e-newsletter.