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tighten your abs muscles (abs in) before swing?


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#1 xiaoxiong

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:06 PM

While I was browsing "the game before the game"  by Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson on my commuter train yesterday, One paragraph jumped in to my attention.  A great book by the way. It talked about three principles must be involved with every exercise toward building a body designed for golf:

  • feel the ground
  • Stay aligned
  • Abs in

And here is an except straight from the book on how to build a solid foundation for a solid swing:
"standing with a solid base and straight spine, pull your belly button in and up. You will feel some pressure against your lower spine from the stomach wall pushing back. You might also feel your rib cage has lifted some and the breathing might be a little restricted. That is normal until you learn how to dissociate your core from the upper body. Try to relax the upper and lower body adjacent to your midsection so they can move freely while your core is tight. This will take some time and practice, but once achieved it willl make a huge difference in your stability and strength.

I also read Steve Elkingtons swing book that in fact right before he hits the ball he tightens his ab muscles, and he says "violently" turns them into his ribcage on the backswing and again on the follow through.

I definitely agree with the three principles here, though I need learn/work on to dissociate my core from the upper body and relax the upper and lower body adjacent to the midsection while the core is tight.

I am curious about other teachers, player's thoughts on this.

Cheers,
Jay


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#2 tony_teetime

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:18 PM

I tighten the abs also.  I find it help me to maintain better posture and spine angle.

#3 Pepperturbo

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:19 PM

Informative, but IMO consciously doing so when addressing the ball will have consequences; as will tightening any other muscles.  

Upper and lower abs are strengthened during work outs so when over the ball, thoughts can be about a making a good swing.  I don't know this for fact, but anyone with a gut that isn't tight from working out isn't going to able to tighten his gut when he's over the ball, because he doesn't have stomach muscle control.  That said, I am hard pressed to believe Steve Elkington consciously tightens his abs over the ball.

Edited by Pepperturbo, 07 January 2010 - 12:20 PM.

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#4 kevcarter

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:20 PM

View Posttony_teetime, on Jan 7 2010, 11:18 AM, said:

I tighten the abs also.  I find it help me to maintain better posture and spine angle.

I've heard of abs, they might be under all the fat somewhere, not really sure...  :lol:

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#5 tony_teetime

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:54 PM

Kevin,

Once upon a time I could see my 6 pack abs, but after too many almond joy candy bar,  I can no longer see it.  However,  it's there somewhere,  I swear I can feel it.   :lol:


#6 CHRIS509

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 01:13 PM

Someone who postís in the long drive section will probably shed more light on the subject in regards to power etc in the golf swing.

Personally Iíve been doing this for a few years on all shots from putts upwards.
I started ďflexingĒ after a chance meeting with a sports physio and having a minor back problem and he just starting out in golf, we got chatting.
As you know the core is not just power, in relation to the golf swing, but itís the whole bodies support structure. Anyone whoís had a minor back problem has been told to firm up their mid-rift to help support and protect their back.

Itís helped me, but I would be interested to hear a more in depth explanation

Cheers Chris

#7 xiaoxiong

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 02:51 PM

another food for thought:

One of fruits I got from Martin's beautiful bow-to-cross bow concept is to engage mid-section (especially abs muscle on the right side) in my downswing, I kind of feel tightening of the abs muscle before swing is some kind of "presetting".

Hope Martin will chip in and share his thoughts.

Cheers,

Edited by xiaoxiong, 07 January 2010 - 02:54 PM.


#8 PGAPro270

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Posted 07 January 2010 - 03:07 PM

Yes this is correct, Having toned & strong abs will help your posture and spine alignment!  Wish I was 25 again though!

Edited by PGAPro270 , 07 January 2010 - 03:08 PM.


#9 martinez

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Posted 08 January 2010 - 01:50 PM

Jay
I personally find the thought of 'ABs in' while relaxing the body above and below an awfully difficult procedure. It may be what I'm doing but it sure is a convoluted way of looking at it to my way of thinking.

If you stand in a relaxed posture and breathe in....then as you exhale you consciously narrow your ribcage you will get the same effect....that of firming up the muscles around the base of the spine while simultaneously freeing up the shoulder girdle and allowing that to move freely and independently of the torso.

You should practice really exaggerating the narrowing of the rib cage with forceful exhalations......you don't need all of that when you stand over a Golf ball, but it will help make it a more natural state for your body to be in.

I'm with Kev and Tony_T, only ,it's not the 6 pack abs you need to worry about....it's the obliques and those even deeper in the core that we want to activate. Simply sucking in your guts will do nothing for the function of your body imo.

#10 justhackin

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 12:49 PM

View Postkevcarter, on 07 January 2010 - 12:20 PM, said:

View Posttony_teetime, on Jan 7 2010, 11:18 AM, said:

I tighten the abs also.  I find it help me to maintain better posture and spine angle.

I've heard of abs, they might be under all the fat somewhere, not really sure...  :lol:

Kevin

Same here ...... LOL


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#11 parpar41

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 02:08 PM

All I know is this:  

In those seasons where I get to play a lot of golf, I find that my abs get very firm and stay firm for the season.

Conversely, in the Winter, when I am not playing golf , I find my abs get soft.

#12 stryper

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 02:14 PM

View PostPepperturbo, on 07 January 2010 - 12:19 PM, said:

Informative, but IMO consciously doing so when addressing the ball will have consequences; as will tightening any other muscles.  
Yeah, I'm no expert, but I just don't see it.  To me the golf swing is a flowing, athletic motion, and if it is accomplished correctly, any necessary tightening will occur naturally on its own.  Consciously tightening anything disrupts the natural flow.
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#13 gxDD

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 02:16 PM

View PostPepperturbo, on 07 January 2010 - 12:19 PM, said:

Informative, but IMO consciously doing so when addressing the ball will have consequences; as will tightening any other muscles.  

Upper and lower abs are strengthened during work outs so when over the ball, thoughts can be about a making a good swing.  I don't know this for fact, but anyone with a gut that isn't tight from working out isn't going to able to tighten his gut when he's over the ball, because he doesn't have stomach muscle control.  That said, I am hard pressed to believe Steve Elkington consciously tightens his abs over the ball.



Agree here.  The word "tighten" should never be included in a pre-shot routine.
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#14 cuzyouhavecable

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 09:55 PM

View Postxiaoxiong, on 07 January 2010 - 12:06 PM, said:

While I was browsing "the game before the game"  by Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson on my commuter train yesterday, One paragraph jumped in to my attention.  A great book by the way. It talked about three principles must be involved with every exercise toward building a body designed for golf:

  • feel the ground
  • Stay aligned
  • Abs in

And here is an except straight from the book on how to build a solid foundation for a solid swing:
"standing with a solid base and straight spine, pull your belly button in and up. You will feel some pressure against your lower spine from the stomach wall pushing back. You might also feel your rib cage has lifted some and the breathing might be a little restricted. That is normal until you learn how to dissociate your core from the upper body. Try to relax the upper and lower body adjacent to your midsection so they can move freely while your core is tight. This will take some time and practice, but once achieved it willl make a huge difference in your stability and strength.

I also read Steve Elkingtons swing book that in fact right before he hits the ball he tightens his ab muscles, and he says "violently" turns them into his ribcage on the backswing and again on the follow through.

I definitely agree with the three principles here, though I need learn/work on to dissociate my core from the upper body and relax the upper and lower body adjacent to the midsection while the core is tight.

I am curious about other teachers, player's thoughts on this.

Cheers,
Jay


speaking as someone who has undergone TWO back surgeries, I feel certain that if I had focused on this very thing I would have not had the problems that I had.

When you "activate" your abs you basically activate your entire core. When you activate your core you USE IT! Concentrating on activating your core will eventually become second nature, This activation is especially usefull chipping and putting. It just makes sense. If you've ever worked with a personal trainer they are constantly coaching you to "tighten your abs" Do it.

#15 martinez

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 11:01 PM

I have two problems with that comment having read it a second time......"Pushing the stomach wall back against your spine"...is not activating your core. Your 'core' is not your abs....your 6 pack (or Keg)....it's the muscles around the base of the spine that provide stability.....if done correctly it's the whole way around the spine...not merely squashing all your internal organs.

"The rib cage has lifted some and the breathing may become restricted"....if you have done this you have just put your scapula and sternum in a position that's out of alignment with the lower spine imo.


#16 dream_stryker

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 02:57 AM

Ab tightening is a scab technique for establishing lumbar spine stability which it does indirectly by helping to keep the pelvis in forward tilt. I used it for a time and it was effective but added another step to the preshot routine so I abandoned it. Basically it is the transverse abdominis you are looking to activate...not the rectus abdominis or obliques. This is a tricky muscle to isolate from the six pack and obliques...do a google search for info on how to get the feel of it. As I mentioned before...if you have no lumbar stability this is better than nothing..... Experiment with different techniques while monitoring how it affects the tailbone....Martinez's advice is certainly a step in a better direction.:rolleyes:

#17 cuzyouhavecable

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 06:51 PM

View Postdream_stryker, on 10 January 2010 - 02:57 AM, said:

Ab tightening is a scab technique for establishing lumbar spine stability which it does indirectly by helping to keep the pelvis in forward tilt. I used it for a time and it was effective but added another step to the preshot routine so I abandoned it. Basically it is the transverse abdominis you are looking to activate...not the rectus abdominis or obliques. This is a tricky muscle to isolate from the six pack and obliques...do a google search for info on how to get the feel of it. As I mentioned before...if you have no lumbar stability this is better than nothing..... Experiment with different techniques while monitoring how it affects the tailbone....Martinez's advice is certainly a step in a better direction.Posted Image


well that changes everything. If it adds another step to the pre-shot routine by all means eliminate it.
In all the re-hab I've done the most effective excersize we did was pelvic tilts. Typcially on an excersize ball. One of the biggest detriments to the lower back is not so much the swing itself but the posterior sticking out of the butt. If you activate your abs or core before you bend from the hips at set-up it's much more effective.

Like I said before, if you can do it enough times to where it becomes second nature you are doing yourslef a huge favor.

#18 Jon Robert

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 09:21 PM

"I am curious about other teachers, player's thoughts on this."

A video is worth a billion words. It proves or disproves the abs effect.

I have found that I and probably most use the back muscles of the "core"  to swing a golf club which results in a lot of head movement rear and up and or forward and up,  Standing in my living room doing swings and trying to sense muscle cause and effect revealed this.  I then tried contracting the left stomach muscles to dominate the back swing and the right stomach muscles to dominate the downswing.  I do not mean weight lifter like he man firing of the muscles but a definite in control factor.

I then video recorded this swing controlled by the stomach muscles. I found my head movement up and down to be cured and my side to side reduced. The side to side was further tamed by a renewed  reverse "K" emphasis. (reverse "K" may not be for your swing)

In summary I don't just tighten them to get a little bonus,  rather I find them being in control is a huge key to a successful repeating swing.  The video does not lie.




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