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How increasing mobility can help your golf swing

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How do you increase consistency and accuracy through mobility?

OK, you are doing the lessons, you have great clubs and you are engaging in golf fitness; the trinity of going low for a round of golf. But if you miss one of the most important keys to unlocking the ability to utilize all of this hard work, then your back to square one. So what are the keys that unlock your potential?

The primary foundational key is “mobility.” One of the biggest problems that I see before a round of golf is that most golfers jump out of the car and go straight to the range hitting balls at 100 percent full speed. Better yet, they’re running late so it’s off to the first tee box in hopes of hitting it straight down the pipeline. But what they end up with is a block, pull, slice or hook. But rarely in the fairway with the distance they want.

Then, following a first-hole double-bogey, the golfer proclaims “I’m just warming up.”

Mobility is a foundational key that unlocks the potential for consistency, accuracy and distance. Performing movement patterns centered on joints that are designed to be mobile, you will able to move efficiently, or as we commonly say, “get through the ball.”

You will be able to maximize your full potential because you’ll have full range of motion. If the range of motion is limited, then you start to compensate and use other parts of the body to do the work that its not intended to do. Hence wayward shots and possibly injury.

To locate those mobile joints, we will refer to the joint-by-joint approach of the mobility-stability chart in figure A.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 1.57.55 PM

As we can see, the mobile sites are Ankle, Hips, T-Spine, Neck, Shoulder and Wrist. When these sites have limited range of motion, we will compromise and start to use the stable sites to perform mobility work. This is how we get the injuries in the knees, lower back, upper back and the elbow. When the mobile joints have the capacity to move within a full range of motion, the stability joints can do their job, resulting in consistency and accuracy.

Mobility is the foundation that needs to occur first to increase improvement.

“Mobility before stability, stability before movement, movement before strength,” says Gray Cook, Titleist Performance Institute Advisor and founder of Functional Movement Systems.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 1.58.08 PM

To understand mobility during a golf swing, we need to understand the range of motion needed to be efficient. Utilizing TPI screening, we have the required ranges needed.

  • Ankle: Plantar flexion (pointing toes down) 0-50 degrees, Dorsiflexion (pointing toes up) 0-20. This will allow an efficient lateral push from trail to forward foot with feet planted firmly on ground at impact.
  • Hips: Rotate greater than or equal to 45 degrees in both directions. This will provide good spine mobility, as well as the ability to generate speed and separation between lower body and upper body.
  • Torso: Shoulders that can rotate freely without hips moving, provides proper sequencing in the backswing to generate good separation and coil.
  • Neck: Head rotates 90 degrees left and right and can lower so that chin touches mid-collar bone, which creates good neck mobility. This allows the ability to control head movement in backswing and downswing.
  • Shoulders: Arm can rotate backwards more than 90 degrees when standing, and in golf posture. Good shoulder mobility allows the golfer to create proper arm positions at top of swing and follow through.
  • Wrist hinge: Can hinge up 20 degrees. Can hinge down 30 Degrees. Good wrist mobility is necessary for setting wrists in backswing and releasing wrists for power in downswing.

The average golfer has limited range of motion. This range is limited even more so because of inactivity and large amounts of time dedicated to sitting behind desks hunched over a computer. So when you go straight to full speed, hitting golf balls with limited mobility, you then breakdown the primary key to the foundation. Thus, compensation occurs and inconsistency becomes a factor during your round. As we look back at the pyramid, we can see that lack of mobility creates instability, which causes an uncontrolled movement and final it destroys the skill that we worked so hard to get. This is that day when you ask yourself, “what happened to my swing? I was hitting great the other day.”

During the season, spend more time on mobility movements to increase improvement. Here are a few exercises that you can do on a daily basis to help increase your range of motion.

Medicine Ball mobility: http://youtu.be/8jM3OA6v-TY

TRX Mobility: http://youtu.be/YRbUFwHTh6I

You can also visit this link for more exercises on mobility: http://www.golfperformancefitness.com/golf-fitness-professionals

Also, utilize this mobility warm up prior to hitting balls or play for 5-10 min. to increase range of motion. http://youtu.be/3sLMjjGQYds

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Dave is the owner of Pro Fitness Golf Performance in Walled Lake, Mich. He's certified Level 2 Titleist Performance Golf Fitness instructor, K-Vest 3D-TPI biomechanics specialist and a certified USA weightlifting Instructor. He's also a Wilson Golf Advisory Staff Member. As a specialist and leading provider of golf-performance conditioning, Davis takes pride in offering golf biomechanics assessments and strength and conditioning training. His philosophy focusing on two things: the uniqueness of each individual and creating a functional training environment that will be conducive and productive to enhance a positive change. He is dedicated to serving the needs of his customers each and every day. Website: www.pgfperformance.com Email: dave@pgfperformance.com

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Pingback: Golf Mastery from Your Body’s 6 Mobile Zones - Golf Slot Machine

  2. Pingback: Golf Mastery from Your Body’s 6 Mobile Zones

  3. Louis

    Aug 19, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Dave,
    thanks for info. All tips are needed for this newbie. Looking forward to hitting the links.

  4. P Davis

    Aug 17, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    i agree with K Sanford. good article

  5. K. Sanford

    Aug 16, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Very informative article. i now have a better understanding of how the LPGA Pros create distance and accuracy. When watching them swing, they have great mobility and stability.

  6. Jack

    Aug 16, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I agree 100%. The chart showing the pyramid from mobility to skills is very useful to show how a golfers skill level would breakdown when one of the chains in the pyramid breaks.

  7. DR D

    Aug 15, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    very interesting and good article

  8. mike

    Aug 15, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    if mobility is the foundation, where does stability fit in? i thought stability was the foundation.

    • Dave

      Aug 15, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      Good question Mike. The answer will come in the next installment to this series with the next article on stability. So stay tune. Thanks

  9. Henry Lee

    Aug 15, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Dave’s article has been a life saver for me. He takes the obvious and makes it practical and useful. Where have you been hiding Dave? Keep up the good work in order to continue making a difference!!!!

  10. sam

    Aug 15, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    This is great information that all golfers can really apply. This will definitely stop the back injury that are so common. Keep it coming. Great article.

  11. Dr. Troy

    Aug 15, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Ive been trying to get my buddy to understand this principle for over a year and yet he wont listen…Stubborn as hell…Good article!

  12. Joel

    Aug 15, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Great article. Right to the point

  13. RAT

    Aug 15, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Great idea , like it ..

  14. Sherman

    Aug 14, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    It’s amazing to see McILROY swing with control. But now I understand why. Thanks for the information. The videos are great as well. Will incorporate the exercises in my fitness program

  15. Pingback: How increasing mobility can help your golf swing | Spacetimeandi.com

  16. Yrrdead

    Aug 14, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Nice article , will have this bookmarked.

  17. Pingback: Increasing Your Mobility can Help Improve Your Golf Swing - I'd Rather Be Golfing

  18. jeff

    Aug 14, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    This really helped me to understand that I need to use my lower body to start and create speed not my upper body. Thanks

  19. Morris

    Aug 14, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Great article. Keep them coming. Very informative

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