Saturday, March 29, 2014

Golf Swing Conditioning and Habit Building - Stance

Explosive Golf, Using the Science of Kinesiology to Improve Your Swing is a book by Dr. Michael Yessis that demonstrates ways to enhance your physical approach and understanding of swing mechanics though golf focused training movement. Try incorporating these routines with your functional fitness work as prescribed by ep golf and build your golf foundation for performance improvement.

Changing or creating habits is not simple or easy. Off course in the morning or evening, is a great opportunity for building or maintaining habits for a strong foundation of golf fundamentals which will lead to lower scores and fewer golf related injuries. A combination of general activities for overall body conditioning which strengthen basic muscle groups to increase functional potential and specialized activities that mimic swing movements and actions are keys to improving the golf swing.

Most days, when you arrive home from work (or before you leave if that works better for you), engage in movement activities that will improve your conditioning and improve your game. Activities that will improve the proficiency of your stance, backswing, downswing, and follow through can be mixed or you can focus on one aspect of the swing during each session. Each element is important and each builds upon its predecessor to create a great swing.

Stance – The golf stance refers to the both the body position at address and body position during the swing. When hitting the ball on non-level surfaces, different types of terrain, under tree branches and in heavy rough, you must usually make modifications to the swing. Maintaining a stable position during execution of the swing is a key element to smooth, well-coordinated body actions. Achieving a stable body position with normal spinal curvature when you rotate the hips and shoulders during the golf swing is one of the keys to hitting more accurate and powerful shots in addition to prevention of back injuries.

Relatively strong quadriceps muscles (front of the thigh) and hamstrings (back of the thigh) help maintain a stable lower body during all phases of the golf swing. They also help maintain level hips during weight shift and hip rotation. The knees, hips, and ankles are all involved in maintaining a balanced position with body weight slightly lowered and centered over the feet. The back squat and delay squat are great movements for enabling us to assume and maintain an effective golf stance.

  • Basic Squat: (see video below) Start without any external resistance until you have mastered the movement and can perform at least 25 consecutive repetitions without weight or resistance.
  • Delay Squat: (see video below) During the golf swing, the leg muscles must remain under static contraction to hold a steady position. The delay squat helps develop the muscles involved in maintaining the static posture required.
  • Good Morning: (see video below) Strong hip extensors and lower back muscles are required to maintain the proper trunk position and spinal curvature, both at address and during the swing. The good morning helps develop the muscles responsible for achieving proper and safe curvature of the spine during the swing.
Do these simple movements several times per week. Don’t just go through the movements like a chore. Visualize yourself at address and making a balanced swing from different lies. Play the game in your mind while building a solid stance. Establish a habit of regular golf development and watch your scores come down.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Golf Swing Conditioning and Habit Building - Introduction

Changing or creating habits is not simple or easy. If it were, we would never shank an iron or “peek” at the line before completing our putting stroke, we wouldn’t overeat and would all be thin, and we would all be up early enough to eat a healthy breakfast before work.

The commonly recited 21 day rule for forming or breaking habits is a myth. For most people, breaking and refraining from a bad habit is a lifetime effort, compounded by the fact that our brains form strong associations between activities and their context which never go away. No apparent scientific reason has been established which indicates it should take three weeks to break an old habit or make a new one. Depending on your unique goals, physical, and psychological profile and the activity/habit you which to establish or break, it could take three weeks, it could take five days, or it could take nine months.

Research shows that habits are formed through a process called ‘context-dependent repetition’. For example, imagine that, when you get home each evening, you do a simple exercise. When you first exercise upon getting home, a mental link is formed between the context (getting home) and your response to that context (exercise). Each time you subsequently exercise in response to getting home, this link strengthens, to the point that getting home comes to prompt you to exercise automatically, without giving it much prior thought; a habit has formed.

Habits are mentally efficient: the automation of frequent behaviors allows us to conserve the mental resources that we would otherwise use to monitor and control these behaviors, and deploy them on more difficult or novel tasks. Habits are likely to persist over time; because they are automatic and so do not rely on conscious thought, memory or willpower. We ultimately want to capitalize on this phenomenon of the mental links associated with ‘habits’ in establishing and sustaining our desired behaviors.

If one of your golf game goals is to increase your driving and iron shot distance and accuracy, start with these steps to increase your chances of success:

  • Take small steps and build up gradually. Instead of “I’m going to exercise every single day,” start with “I’m going to do some type of simple exercise at least twice a week right when I get home.”
  • Only try to change one habit at a time. (Instead of “I’m going to quit eating all junk food, start exercising, and go to sleep at 10 p.m. instead of 2 a.m.,” start with “I’m going to walk (weather permitting or do a golf exercise when I get home from work.”)
  • Write down the habit you want to change, and write down specific plans for achieving that goal. Rather than writing “I will exercise,” write, “I will start walking or doing a simple golf exercise 30 minutes twice a week when I arrive home from work.”
  • Repeat the behavior you’re aiming for as often as you can. The more a behavior is repeated, the more likely it is that it will become “instinctive.”
In the coming weeks, we will outline groups of both general and golf specific movements that you can do to improve your overall golf game and conditioning.