How to improve your golf swing
-Tips From A Physio
To celebrate the Golf Masters that recently took place, we would like to provide you with some tips and advice about how to improve your golf swing.
The quality of your golf swing is probably the most important factor affecting your performance on the golf course. Optimizing your swing will improve your overall play. A good swing will enable you to use your energy more efficiently, play excellent shots, potentially improve your handicap and will help prevent injuries.
Tip 1: Improve your upper back mobility
Upper back mobility is crucial for good sporting performance, not only in golf, but in most other sports as well. The golf swing involves a lot of rotation, and the thoracic spine is the main area in your body that can provide this rotation. According to the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) in California, rotation during the golf swing is “one of the main generators of club head speed, which correlates directly to distance”. With their extensive research, the researchers at the TPI found that without proper thoracic mobility, especially into rotation, your golf swing will be compromised.
Muscle memory is important in golf and your body may have learned faulty movement patterns. With repetition, these movements can ultimately lead to overuse, strains, pain and inflammation. When you lack mobility in your thoracic spine, your lower back, hips, shoulders or arms will try make up for the lack of rotation. This compensation that makes up for thoracic spine restriction could potentially lead to injury anywhere from your wrists, your spine, through to your ankles.
Exercises to improve your mobility
Try some of these exercises to improve your upper back mobility:
Lying on your side with your knees bent. Bring your arms straight in front of you. Open your top arm up and overhead toward the other side, rotating in your upper back. Hold this position for 1-2 deep breaths, and then return to starting position. Repeat x10 each side.
Hands-and-knees thoracic rotations
On your hands and knees. Place your right hand behind your head. Bring your right elbow toward your left elbow as you breathe out, trying to touch your elbows together. Then breathe in and rotate your right elbow up toward the sky as far as you can. Simultaneously, press the floor away from you through your left arm. Repeat x10 each side.
Standing, either upright or leaning forward, holding a stick or golf club behind your head. Rotate your upper spine left to right x10.
Tip 2: Improve your core and hip strength
Optimal movement starts from the core. You will get power into your golf swing if the movement is initiated from your core and hip. If your body is not initiating from your core, other areas will have to take over its work, resulting in compensatory movement patterns. This means that there will be increased overload and risk of injury in these body areas that now have to work harder.
How to activate your core:
At Just Physio, we offer a unique treatment approach called the Be Activated system. This treatment can be extremely effective in improving how your body functions, not only during your golf performance, but in your everyday life. The aim of this approach is to get your core to function more optimally, since our core is where most of our bodily movements should initiate from.
The Be Activated system allows us to identify compensatory patterns. Firstly, we assess how your body moves and breathes. Then we use techniques to restore normal movement and breathing patterns. By restoring better patterns, we also remove any restrictions that are limiting your body’s movement. Once you understand how your body moves and what your compensation patterns are, you can learn to fix them. We also teach you how to perform these quick techniques on yourself.
We can help!
If you want to improve your golf performance, have faulty movement patterns, pain or recurring injuries, consider consulting one of our physiotherapists. A thorough assessment and consistent treatment will help to identify and then address your specific movement restrictions and teach your body the proper movement patterns. Your body will need time to recover and learn these new patterns. Therefore it is important to be consistent with your treatment and be patient with your body.
At Just Physio, we assess each player individually, determine where their restrictions are, and provide a treatment program specifically designed for them. We can give you the best advice, assist in improving mobility and function with a hands-on approach, and also provide you a conditioning program.
Call us today if you want to find out more about how we can help you improve your golf swing!
– Written by: Marelize Grobler