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I am not a golf specialist by any means

but I do know about human movement.


Golf is a very refined, complex, precise type of sport with finese to it that I completely suck at but have a great appreciations and respect for the game. The mental aspect of the game is a different challenge in of itself but this dynamic, high velocity rotation sport that requires a great deal of mobility around almost every joint especially the legs, hips and spine.

Many golfers, competitive and recreational encounter pain or injury at some point in their lifetime. The knees, low back, shoulders and neck are most at risk due to the high velocity rotation required. Injuries can occur at any time of the season from the first round of the season to the hundredth round, in either case it prevents you from doing what you enjoy the most.


Like any activity or sport, if played enough, they can create imbalances in the body due to the repetitive uni-directional movements. Being that we are asymmetrically dominant by nature and we have a tendency to move or hit on one side, over time we can develop strength and increased range of motion towards only one side of the body and not the other. If we continue to allow the body to only move predominantly in one direction, excess stress to tissues can accumulate and injuries occur.


The body moves in an alternating sequence ofmobility and stability joints. Mobility joints are: ankles, hips, thoracic spine shoulders. Stability joints are: knees, lumbar spine, scapula, neck. Injuries can occur if one of theres joints start to move or don't move as they should. For example, if your job requires you to sit for the majority of the day its very likely you have stiff hips or poor mobility at the hip joint. If you lose the ability to rotate and extend the hip movement/energy/forces will translate into the lumbar spine to compensate for the lack of range at the hip joint.This will cause the lumbar spine to become a mobility joint from a stability joint, this creates abnormal wear and tear in the vertebrae and discs which will break down over time and can become symptomatic.


I am not a golf specialist by any means but I do know about human movement and where/ how we generate power. Proper strength and conditioning with corrective mobility and stability exercises can help prevent overuse injuries by keeping imbalances in check and improve your golf game.


We use several methods and tools at Concept of Movement to correct movement and enhance athletic performance. Our greatest tool is the ability to teach our clients how to be mindful and enhance their body awareness so they can make the mind body connection with their movements and self correct them. Some examples:

  • Teaching posture and the hip hinge movement for basic functional strength we incorporate various dead lifting techniques for foundation functional strength.
  • Posture plays a big role and scapular stability. If you can't keep the shoulder blades fixed in a safe position we start to move and muscle through the shoulder jointand can create impingement or small tears over time of abuse.
  • Ignoring the pain signals can progress into ruptures. Training proper push/pull movements in various planes with an emphasis on scapular stability and control can decrease the risk of shoulder pathology.
  • The hips are where power is generated from, improving hip drive and power in the golf swing is a key component to hit the long ball. Kettle bell training and swinging specifically teaches the hip driving sequence and kinetic linking through the core to the shoulder for club speed and efficient power transfer. Kettlebell quick lifts teach the natural athletic rhythm of tension and relaxation and selective tension for energy efficiency.
  • Regular assessment and screening of the body's movements and mechanics to measure change and assure training is achieving the desired goals.
  • Improving stability in the trunk and joints with planks or anti-rotational exercises, turkish get ups will improve trunk strength and protect the spine.
  • Increasing soft tissue extensibility with foam rolling, stick work.
  • Yoga to improve Mobility in the ankles, hips and thoracicspine by stretching fascial lines and improving motor patterns with specific transitions between poses.
  • The need to recover basic human movements with specific patterning and mobility/stability training will allow proper sequencing and timing for sport and reduce injury occurrence from overused movements.


A lot of trainers try and load up the end of a club or stick with bands and weights to increase club speed but it doesn't teach where power is generated from. Just because an exercise looks functional or sport specific doesn't mean that it is, just because it doesn't look functional doesn't mean it isn't, it's what the movement produces.


Having a proper screen or biomechanical assessment by a professional will help to recognize where mobility/ stability issues reside and asymmetries and correct them before an injury occurs. Most common injuries that I see at the clinic are not nerve impingement, rotator cuff tears or strains, its low back injuries and knee injuries.


We'll reluctantly start to move abnormally through areas were not supposed to move, back orthopedic breakdown or injury occurs.


Tom Swales

PT, ATC, FCAMPT, CSCS, CAFCI, RKC, MCT


References

Boyle, Michael. Functional Training for Sports; Human Kinetics. 2004.

Pavel. Enter The Kettlebell; Dragon Door Publications, Inc. 2006

Cook, Gray. Athletic Body in Balance;

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