Better movement: A key to golf performance and health

Understanding how your body moves and how to improve is just the start to getting your game where it needs to be.

By: Levi Pole, PT, DPT, TPI-M3 .

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Movement is the foundation of any skill and ultimately performance. How our body performs is directly based on one’s ability to move, or movement performance.

We typically measure this by how close we come to the optimal or desired functional skill we are being asked to perform. There are a number of factors that play a role in our movement performance, including mobility and stability. Our movement performance is not based on a single static movement but is a byproduct of three-dimensional movement performed by the human body.

Movement’s impact on golf swing

The body is made up of joints, tendons and muscles that have to be able to move through the desired range of motions to perform a swing. If any of those elements off, even the slightest, it shows up in your body and game.

Have you ever asked yourself “Why does my low back hurt?” at the end of a round or, say “My hips just don’t turn that way!” You are not the only one!

In every swing, our ability to move plays a factor. If your hips are tight and you can’t rotate completely, the body is smart and finds ways around your lack of mobility, usually placing increased stress on your muscles, joints and tendons. That leads to an achy back that could be playing a vital role in that ugly slice. Understanding how your body moves and how to improve is just the start to getting your game where it needs to be.

Our bodies and joints must be able to move through a wide range of motions and possess the ability to create torque and separation in order to produce speed and power. The body needs the stability, or integrity, in order to control the required motions without placing undo and unnecessary stress on us.

This all begins with the foundation of all skills, our ability to move. Now add in the strength and conditioning we need to maximize this effort repeatedly to create consistency, accuracy and power. There is a lot more that goes into a golf swing and the starting key is our ability to move.

Tips

Here are some simple steps golfers at any level of play can do to improve their movement:

  1. Before hitting the course make sure you are properly warmed up to reduced stiffness on the course, as this may be the key to that extra yardage you’re looking for.
  2. Key areas to focus on are the upper back, the hips, and making sure our glutes are engaged.
  3. Don’t just stretch in a single plane but make sure your body is being challenged in all three planes of motion when focusing on your mobility, as the golf swing is performed in multiple planes.

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