If you follow any of the PGA and European tour golfers on social media you will have no doubt come across a snippet of their fitness regime. Today’s golfers are mobile, strong and powerful. It is no surprise that they are hitting that little white ball well over 300 yards! Yes, they have a little help from modern technology, but they are also ‘well oiled’ ball striking machines!
To be a top golfer you need to have your body performing at its best. Whether that is a player on a professional ticket or a casual Saturday morning club golfer. The professional golfer dedicates a lot of time to ensure that they can move through their particular swing pattern in the most efficient and safe way. You will have seen the videos of the pro’s squatting, deadlifting, chins using bands and balls and all sorts of apparatus for their training regime.
‘Golf fitness’ is not just important for the professionals, it is important for everyone who swings a club. Firstly, every golfer must be both mobile and stable. During your golf swing there are parts of your body that we want to stabilise, or to remain strong. For example we want the pelvis to remain stable while we rotate through the thoracic spine. There are parts of our body which we want to be mobile, such as the hip as we ‘turn our hips towards the target’.
Having the correct mobility/stability pattern is very important for not just optimising your golf swing but also in preventing injury. For example, if you have poor mobility through your hips and your thoracic spine, your pelvis and lumbar spine may sacrifice stability in order to achieve a greater range of motion. This is bound to lead to a lower back injury at some point. If you walk into the clubhouse after a round and you’re holding your lower back then this is you!
So, what can you do to optimise your swing pattern and help to prevent injury? The first step is to assess your body’s current movement capability to identify stability and mobility patterns. This will identify stability faults and mobility restrictions. We use the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) physical screen, Matt is TPI certified. The physical screen is a very quick and easy 16 point assessment of your body’s limitations. It is very easy to perform and provides us with a host of information about our golfer.
The results of a screen will determine what stretches and exercises will be best suited for you that will help you to improve your movement pattern. These more often than not don’t involve the lifting of big heavy weights, but require mobilising and initiating the correct muscles and doing movements that will increase and encourage mobility.
The development of power in the golf swing is also important. However, without first addressing stability and mobility you will be heading into serious trouble with injury. Power is essentially your ability to generate club head speed with force. This requires a lot more than just a few mobility and strengthening exercises. I will save information on power for another day.
For now, focus on stability and mobility to enhance your movement patterns and ultimately improve your golf swing.
(Titleist Performance Institute Certified)