Improve Your Flexibility and Help Your Golf Swing!
Since the early ’90s, the pursuit of distance has dominated the conversation in golf. When Tiger Woods emerged, the focus shifted to gaining strength and speed through fitness.
Golfers on all the professional tours provide clear evidence of the effect of golf-fitness programs on today’s game. Once it was noted that a player’s fitness and flexibility increased their distance, speed, and longevity, a whole new competitive level opened up to golfers.
There is a vast amount of outdated and incorrect information out there on the best methods for improving flexibility and gaining distance, so we’ve pinpointed the best practices and strategies that accomplished golfers are using so that you too can level up.
Understanding Muscle Activation
To begin, we must understand the importance of muscle activation. Muscle activation should be a primary focus for golfers attempting to improve their game, while gaining speed in the full range of joint motion. We are tossing out the old way of using anti-rotation exercises and implementing core training.
When we walk, run, swing, and do anything athletic, we utilize the spine in all motion planes. The spine’s physiology allows us to rotate, side-bend, flex, and extend all at once, allowing for a full range of motion without injury. Training to coil the core is crucial to activating the spine to move efficiently.
Mobility is a combination of stability and flexibility. If a muscle attached to a joint (e.g. the thigh muscle on the leg/hip) is flexible, the joint is free of restrictive tension. If a muscle can activate on command, stability is available to the player, and the joint can move freely.
The pre-golf-warmup objective is to stretch any tight and restricted muscles that may be inhibiting range of motion. It’s important to note that the body will resort to tension when the activated stabilizing muscles are not properly supporting a movement.
Here’s how to stretch like the PGA Tour players: Inhibit, Stretch, Activate (MAT®).
Inhibit (Mash and Move)
Let’s keep this nice and simple. There are many tools to help athletes with self-massage, such as foam rollers, massage guns, vibrating balls, rolling sticks, etc. All of these are to help target areas of the body where tension is present. When performing self-massage, players will know that they are working an area of tension because it will be painful, tickle, or feel like a knot beneath the skin.
The best practice is to start with a foam roller or mobility tool. Push it around, searching for sore areas. Relax the muscle groups as you mash into areas that are sore and tense. As you relax those muscles, begin to move the joints they are connected to for 20–30 seconds. It’s worth it. Mash and move!
“Is yoga good for golf?” Players often see the flexibility required to make long, powerful swings and immediately assume they need to stretch. While yoga is a fantastic tool for flexibility, it is just one tool of many.
When pursuing flexibility, make sure that your stretches are appropriate for your lifestyle and swing. There is no guarantee that yoga will be the correct route for every golfer. Firstly, try zeroing in on the three or four stretches you need to get better at golf without risking injury.
Activate (Muscle Activation Technique MAT®)
The final and most crucial part of the mobility system is activating the muscles for motion. Muscle-activation techniques are the latest tool to hit the fitness industry for players on the PGA Tour (such as U.S. Open winner Bryson DeChambeau) to maximize their performances.
Muscle Activation Technique, or MAT®, is a better, faster, more comfortable, and more efficient way to play your best.
MAT® establishes the communication pathways between the nervous system and the muscular system to restore muscle contractile capabilities. The primary indicator of muscle(s) losing its contractile efficiency is limitation in the range of motion.
MAT® works to improve a muscle’s contractile capabilities and the resulting range of motion and strength of that muscle/limb. By improving these aspects, you will see an increased ability to exercise and physically perform.
In the next section, we’ll discuss how Mobility and MAT® are maintained and trained to build the right workout for your game.
Anti-Rotation is Anti-Golf
First and foremost, stop freezing your core. The anti-rotation concept of training a golfer’s body to resist rotation has not provided a truly functional carry-over to the course. Instead, golfers should shift to training for a coiling core. This coiling-core principle provides for a more dynamic, fuller range of motion.
Chances are, you have seen or used a piece of exercise equipment called the Bosu ball (the physio ball that is cut in half so it’s flat on one side). Inventor and fitness expert David Weck (Creator of Weckmethod) uses the Bosu ball and many other tools to train for a coiling core.
Coiling Core Training
Coiling core training methods have occasioned great success in all rotational sports, including PGA Tour golf. Training the core for a full, multidimensional range of motion is a dramatic contrast to the anti-rotation program.
Not all coiling methods are equal. Weckmethod fitness training and its related concepts are tailored to your goal and activity. Ensuring that the coiling is coming from the significant golf muscles (lats, glutes, and obliques) is a top priority.
Limit Force Elastics Training
The icing on the cake with Weckmethod is Limit Force Elastics Training, which uses bands to vary your resistance during the workout. Any golfer of any physical condition will be able to take the exponential elastic-load increase of a band to its given motion end range.
Once your muscles and joints are adequately activated through MAT, you can use this Limit Force Elastic Training to strengthen and condition to your fullest potential. Elastic bands can effectively supply you with a tremendous amount of speed in a short amount of time, whenever you tee up.
Golfers who implement better activation and mobility have a stronger foundation for creating power and clubhead speed. Join the players at Integrity Golf Performance and start training these elements today!
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