Golf is one of the biggest and most well-funded sports in the world. A golfer spends a long period of time in the driving range perfecting his swing before feeling fully equipped to play in an 18-hole course. A professional golfer would do anything to get additional power in his/her peak torque swing. A swing is often related to technique, acceleration and power. All these variables are important. However an increase of range of motion may also give you a definite edge.
We need flexibility to enhance performance in golf. With range of motion in golf, we tend to focus on thoracic rotation. However, looking at the entire bio-mechanics of the kinematic motion is what makes the biggest difference. Optimal range in golf involves motion of the shoulder joint, the pelvis and hips and all through the leg muscles and joints.
Stretching is a technique to increase the range of motion within a muscle and its tendon unit. The goal is to improve and maintain flexibility; it is an effective method to prevent injury whether it is in your muscles, ligaments or tendons.
Christopher Joyce, a leading bio-mechanics expert in golf, published an article using a 3D MX-F20 Vicon-Peak motion analysis system. The system enabled him to measure spinal motion of small magnitude with flexion/extension, lateral bending and axial rotation. He measured 6 specific movements from the top back swing to the ball on impact. What he found was that a combination of range of motion and strength was crucial in perfecting a powerful swing. A good swing involves motion from the shoulder to the pelvis all the way down to the toes grasping the floor. Lateral bending, rotation and flexion/extension movements are crucial from the start of the back swing to the top of the back swing all the way to the moment of impact.
Christopher et. al. (2010) reported that a combination of rotation and lateral bending should be at its maximal range of motion during the top of the back swing phase to enable a greater moment of impact. This is often a struggling problem with many golfers even at a professional level.
With Active Isolated Stretching, we are able to go into the specificity of the muscles. It is muscular imbalance that causes limitation in movement. Whilst one side can be flexible, the other could be tight. When the torso rotates, the muscles work contra-laterally. This means that a co-contraction of the internal oblique and external oblique on the opposite side occurs simultaneously. This is why identifying muscular imbalance with flexibility and strength is crucial. With specialized stretching catered to your individual needs, our therapists are able to reeducate the body. Active Isolated Stretching involves mapping the brain neurologically and preparing you physiologically. This would enhance mechanical change in a swing. Functional range of motion is needed to enable a peak torque at the moment of impact.
Here at Stretch Asia, the therapists understand the kinesiology of the body. They combine exercise and sport- specific training with Active Isolated Stretching. This enables them to develop a program that caters to your specific needs.
I would like to finish off with a quote from Tiger Woods, the man who made a big comeback in his career:
If you look at some of the players on tour who can really bomb it-guys like Hank Kuehne and Charles Howell they’re not the most physically intimidating athletes. But they all are very flexible players who can generate tremendous club head speed while swinging in balance. That’s also one of the keys to my power. I’m convinced that if you increase your flexibility, you’ll add power to your swing.” – Tiger Woods