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Improving your golf swing through fitness

Ever have a day on the golf course you feel tight or sluggish? Do you ever take days off for back pain or feel like you just aren’t connecting with your swing? Golf is a skill based sport and by increasing fitness you can dramatically enhance the skills needed to succeed.

Chances are your movement patterns are limiting your ability to sustain form and function with consistency. 60% of time on the golf course is spent preparing and performing swings, with 25% on the putting green. A full swing requires a rapid expenditure of energy when performed adequately up to 90% of maximal voluntary contraction! That is why when analyzing heart rate data of Roy McIlory you see his heart rate spike- increasing muscular contractions results in greater muscular activation (read hit the ball with more force!)

The following 3 steps will guide you to create the movement patterns enabling you to increase endurance and greater power behind your swing.

Step 1: Establish proper movement patterns using a Golf Movement Screen

Without full range of motion, you are limiting the area for your body to perform.If you are trying to fling a rubber band across the room you will pull it back to its greatest length in order to shoot in the furthest distance. The two proven factors in increasing golf performance are: balance and x factor (the ability to separate your torso and pelvis).

A golf movement screen consists of a series of movements that are proven to enhance golf performance and decrease injury. Once full range of motion is achieved, stability and motor control are addressed. Stability is the ability to mainta

in full range of motion during activity. This is essential during the 25% of time on the putting green. The golf movement screen addresses the following skills:

  • Hip mobility to allow for stability and power during swing.

  • Hip stability to create a base for the spine to rotate and produce greater spine movement

  • The transition between pelvis and torso helps to facilitate movement from backswing to downswing to enhance sequency and power.

  • Adequate torso rotation allows for a full shoulder turn to create power.

  • Adequate shoulder external rotation allows the trail arm to externally rotate to achieve shallowing of shaft into transition.

  • Balance which predicts thorax and pelvic swag and thrust.

Step 2: Endurance, Strength & Power

After ensuring you can achieve these positions you can now move on to decreasing energy expenditure by increasing repetitions and loads in exercise. This means you can achieve that full 90% maximal voluntary contraction consistently and won’t find yourself loosing form on the back 9 holes.

You can then move on to increasing pure strength and power. By decreasing load and increasing velocity you begin to enhance the stretch shortening cycle. This improves the elasticity of your stroke, utilizing stored energy to create energy.

Step 3: Overspeed training

The next step is where you transition the movement patterns and fitness into your swing. Overspeed training enhances how fast your body is responding by reducing load and increasing speed in your swing. This concept of training is used in sprinters by running downhill to increase speed beyond what would be achieved on the track. Super Speed Golf is a 49-week program that utilizes a progressive program with three training sticks- one 20% lighter than your driver, 10% lighter and 5% heavier. This protocol is used by professional golfers such as: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Billy Horschel and Martin Kaymer.

Contact Milly for more information on Golf Movement Screen and the SuperSpeed training program. Milly is an exercise physiologist and SuperSpeed certified coach.

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