My back is killin' me!!
I am preparing a Power Point presentation for a class I am teaching with my buddy Eanna Rushe, a master in the biomechanics of the golf swing and owner of BioSport Technologies in Greenwich, CT. The class is for fitness professionals and it's called "Designing Golf Specific Fitness Programs."
One part of the presentation is an overview of "Common Swing Faults and the Physical Limitations That Can Cause Them", so Eanna and I are filming some of these common swing faults. I should say that Eanna is filming and I am "swing faulting."
After filming all of these swing faults, my body is in pain! I couldn't imagine hitting the ball like that 50-60 times a round, 4 or 5 times a week. I wouldn't be able to walk and I didn't even swing that hard.
I'm in pretty good shape; I have good flexibility, core stability, and total body strength. I'd say I am in "golf shape" and after all, I train golfers for a living! I warmed up before we filmed and I had a breakfast rich in vitamins and minerals. Shouldn't my high level of fitness be enough for my body to combat what the golf swing throws at it?
Not a chance. Fitness (strength and conditioning, rest and nutrition) is only one part of the equation. It needs to be integrated with golf skills practice.
When golf skills are mixed with a
balanced training program of core stability, dynamic flexibility, strength and
power -- the result is fewer injuries, longer drives, greater control, and lower scores .
In my opinion, the number one objective of a golf fitness program (or
any fitness program) should be to reduce the chance of injuries. Less
injuries= more golf.
It is becoming increasingly clear that there is a connection between optimal fitness levels, proper technique and injury prevention. A recent survey that I read about in Dr. Divot's Guide to Golf Injuries compared the characteristics of amateur golfers who were injured playing golf to those who were injury free. The findings? The injured golfers:
- Were less likely to have taken lessons
- Played more rounds per week
- Felt more fatigue after golfing
The authors of the study concluded that if those injured golfers improved their overall fitness level and started taking some lessons to improve their swing mechanics, they might decrease the risk of injury. Might? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that developing core stability, increasing dynamic flexibility, and training to get stronger and more powerful, while working to improve your swing technique WILL increase your performance and decrease your injury potential.
The key to optimal golf performance is to have the right balance of the two. There is no magic formula for determining the right balance, because we all have different strengths and weaknesses. Keep in mind that you are only as good as your weakest link so you should start trying to improve your weak areas first.
When I train golfers, the first thing I do is a physical assessment to identify weak links. Correcting those weak links will be the objective of our sessions. I know not everyone is going to go to a trainer, so as a general rule in the beginning of your training, you should focus on core stability and dynamic flexibility. I have found that those are two areas of general weakness in most individuals and if you improve those two areas, you are going to give the teaching pro a better athlete to work with. You want to make sure you give your body the opportunity to perform a swing that it will be unable to perform if there are any physical restrictions.
So get your fat butt in shape and start working on improving your swing mechanics. It doesn't have to be with a pro. Get a video or a book, videotape yourself, swing in front of a mirror or get one of your golfing buddies to help you. There are even lessons online now, where you send in a video of your swing and they analyze it for you.
I am actually getting a 3D kinetic link analysis of my swing done, so I'll keep you posted on that.