Over the years I have come across a lot of smart people in the field of rehabilitation, fitness and sports performance. Of the many things I have learned, I’m always making sure that each of my clients are doing exercises that are specific to their own unique problems and goals. With that being said I want to describe a systematic approach to exercise that will help those that do not have personal coaching.
An interesting concept I have been utilizing for the last year or so, is a joint by joint approach to rehab, fitness and performance of golfers. This concept was first discussed by Mike Boyle and Gray Cook, two leaders in the area of sports performance. The idea is that each major joint (or area of the body) has a tendency to function more as a mobile joint, or as a stable joint. Yes, they all require a certain degree of each, and joint injury plays a role, however, this concept tends to hold true.
This mobility/stability concept occurs in an alternating pattern, and if this pattern is changed then dysfunction and compensation will occur. The normal pattern is shown below.
Foot – Stable
Ankle – Mobile
Knee – Stable
Hip – Mobile
Pelvis/Sacrum/Lumbar Spine – Stable
Thoracic Spine (upper back) – Mobile
Scapulo/Thoracic (shoulder blade) – Stable
Gleno-humeral (shoulder) – Mobile
Elbow – Stable
Wrist – Mobile
Cervical Spine – Stable
Regarding dysfunction in the body, we can use the low back as an example. If you do not have good mobility in the hips and in the upper back (thoracic spine), then the low back will give up some of its stability to obtain more motion when needed in those areas. A tight upper back & hips are big causes of low back pain in golfers.
A training error I see all the time is golfers focusing on strengthening their core in a dynamic and sometimes violent manner. This will not only lead to low back injury, but in fact it’s the hips and upper back that often times need improved mobility. That would not only help prevent injury, but also improve the overall golf swing.
So take a good look at the above table and make sure you have mobility where it is needed and stability in the ares where it is needed. Then let this be a guide in your selection of golf specific exercises.
Mark Tolle – Owner of Golf Fitness Chicago