By Shayne Cleary PT, DPT, MTC
IMPACT Physical Therapy- South Loop
A healthy and effective golf swing requires many different components, including mobility, stability, strength, power and motor control. These all go hand in hand; it is difficult to have an efficient golf swing if you lack even one attribute. This article will discuss the foundation of a healthy golf swing. That component is MOTOR CONTROL.
Motor control is the ability to produce the movement you intend to perform. In other words, how coordinated a person is. One may have the strength and/or flexibility to perform a certain movement, but lack the ability to coordinate the motions and carry out the intended act or exercise. Have you ever tried a new exercise and during first couple sets found it unusually hard to perform a simple movement? After several sets the pieces come together and the movement comes more like second nature; that is motor control!
Good motor control is important in golf because helps dissociate – or separate – the upper body from the lower body; all while maintaining the correct pelvic posture during the golf swing. When a golfer is unable to dissociate the lower body from upper body, potential for injury can occur. For example, when a golfer is unable to rotate their hips over a stable mid-section or vice versa, risk for increased compression on the lumbar facet joints can occur. This compression may cause low back pain during or after your golf match.
How can a golfer improve motor control? The three exercises below help to incorporate the coordination a golfer requires during their golf swing. The exercises will help to control/stabilize the pelvic posture as well as improve the ability to separate the lower body from the upper body during the golf swing.
An important skill incorporating overall mobility of hips, lumbar spine and the ability to control the position of the pelvis. This helps a golfer produce power transfer from the lower body to the upper body during the golf swing.
This exercise helps a golfer train their brain to separate/move their hips independently from a stable thorax or mid-section. Pelvis rotation helps proper sequencing of the back swing and downswing as well as being able to generate the proper separation between the upper body and lower body.
This exercise helps the golfer to rotate the upper body separately from the lower. This skill is important to help properly sequence the back swing leading to better power and efficiency.
Each of the following exercises should be performed 2-3 times a week to have the greatest success. They can also be used as a warm up before teeing off to improve hip mobility and coordination.
Motor control plays an imperative role in the efficiency and health of a proper golf swing. There are of course other aspects that will help with the golf mechanics, but motor control is the foundation for a healthy golf swing and proper sequencing. If you have found yourself with any golf injuries during this golf season or would like a physical therapist who specializes in golf to perform an injury screen; please feel free to email or contact us at IMPACT Physical Therapy.
References: Titleist Performance Institute, “The Golf Screen,” TPI Certified Level One Seminar Manual, p. 94-103, Acushnet Company, 2013.[/fusion_text]