In recent years, golfers have started a golf fitness revolution to develop even more distance and speed in their game. We can see that the golfers on the PGA Tour provide clear evidence of the effects that golf fitness programs can have on a player’s numbers.
The challenge with golf fitness today is that our mobility systems are outdated. Muscle activation should be a significant focus when golfers prepare for golf creating speed in full ranges of joint motion.
To make matters worse golfers are still training under the fog of anti-rotation exercises. It is not helpful and misguided to resist rotation when training for maximal amounts of force in full ranges of motion during the golf swing. Players should be training the core to coil the engine in the trunk of the body to create powerful rotation. Not freeze up and stop moving, also known as anti-rotation.
Learn more now of the latest methods to access your best range-of-motion activation, and also how a golfer should incorporate a rotational coiling intent when they train to play.
A System for Mobility and Activation
Mobility by definition can be described as the combination of Stability and Flexibility. If a muscle in a given joint (for example the thigh muscle on the leg/hip) is Flexible, the joint is free of restrictive tension. Also, if a muscle is able to activate on command, then the stability would be available, and the joint would then also then be able to move freely.
The warmup and pre-golf objective should be to inhibit and stretch any golf muscles that are tight and restricted in joint range of motion. Be warned… the body will revert back to tense when activated stabilizing muscles are not engaged to support movement. Do not skip the activation after inhibition or stretching before you play. Here’s how to perform each step like the players on the PGA Tour.
3 Main Steps: Inhibit, Stretch, Activate
Inhibit (Mash and Move): Let’s keep this nice and simple. There are many tools on the market to help athletes with self-massage techniques such as foam rollers, massage guns, vibrating balls and rolling sticks. All of these address areas of the body where tension is present. Commonly when performing self-massage players will know that they are in an area of tension because it will be painful, tickle, or just feel like a speed bump underneath the skin.
As a best practice, a great way to start is with a foam roller or mobility tool to push around searching for sore areas of the muscles. Relax the muscle groups as you mash into the area that is sore and tense. Then as you stay relaxed in that area, begin to move the joint its connected to for 20-30sec. It’s worth it. Mash and Move!
Stretch: “Is yoga good for golf?” Players often see the flexibility required to make long powerful swings and immediately assume that they need to stretch. While yoga is an amazing tool for flexibility, it is still one tool of many. When we attempt to get more flexible for golf, we need to make sure that the stretches that we are doing are appropriate for our lifestyle and our swing. It is not a guarantee that doing yoga is the correct route to go for every golfer. For some, possibly. For many, it would be a better use of time zeroing in on the 3-4 stretches needed to get better at golf without risking added in flexibility somewhere not needed for the golf swing.
Activate (Muscle Activation Technique): The final, and most important part of the mobility system is the activation of the muscles to a motion. It is far too common that individuals will foam roll or self-massage, then stretch, then hit the first tee. The issue is that both of those steps are turning off systems of the body and creating weakness. The brain will not allow you to perform in a state of weakness. An auto-shutoff will occur as soon as you step on the tee if you do not follow the stretches with an activation of the muscles responsible for stabilizing that movement. The body is too smart to let you hurt yourself when you are weak and will return right back to being tight before you stretch.
Muscle Activation Technique (MAT)is the latest tool to hit the fitness industry for players, such as U.S. Open winner Bryson DeChambeau, to maximize their performance.
MAT is designed to re-establish the communication pathways between the nervous system and the muscular system in order to restore muscle contractile capabilities. The main indicator of muscle(s) losing their contractile efficiency is limitations in range of motion (ROM).
MAT works to improve a muscle’s contractile capabilities and the resulting range of motion and strength of that muscle/limb. By improving these aspects, a person will see an increased ability for exercise and physical performance.
When golfers are looking for more speed and distance, having the muscles activated to perform is crucial. MAT is a better, faster, easier, more efficient way to play your best.
Let’s discuss how Mobility and MAT are maintained and trained in this next section all about building the right workout for your game.
Anti-Rotation is Anti-Golf
Stop freezing your core. The anti-rotation concept of training a golfer’s body to resist rotation has not provided a truly functional carry-over to the course. Instead golfers should shift to training for a coiling core. This coiling core principle provides a more functional, full range of motion system of exercise with rotational intent for golf.
Weckmethod + Golf
It goes against the grain and the accepted norms of the golf fitness industry, but anti-rotation is a thought of the past. Coiling the trunk in three dimensions properly is a much better use of time in the gym to optimize your performance.
Chances are, you have seen or used a piece of exercise called the Bosu ball (the half physio ball that is flat on one side). Inventor and fitness expert David Weck (Creator of Weckmethod) uses the Bosu and many other tools to retrain this unique approach to how humans create and manage their coiling core/trunk.
Weckmethod pairs very nicely with rotational athletes and those who have taken the time to warm-up properly using MAT. We will explain how band elastic training layered into MAT activations creates opportunities for success like never before.
Coiling Core Training
The adoption of a Coiling Core training has had great success in all rotational sports including PGA Tour golfers and World Long Drive champions. The ability to train the core in a multidimensional full range of motion is a dramatic contrast against a neutral/frozen/restricted/anti-rotation program. We had dramatic evidence when Justin James won the World Long Drive Championship in 2017 after implementing a Weckmethod coiling core program. Clearly the longest, fastest golfer on the planet improved once he shifted his intent in the gym from anti-rotation to rotational coiling core movement training.
It should be noted that not all coiling is created equally. Weckmethod fitness training and its related concepts are/and should be tailored to the persons goal and activity. Making sure that the coiling is coming from the major golf muscles (lats, glutes, obliques) will be top priority. As deconditioned athletes, our default has become to avoid and anti-rotate. The problem with not training the full ranges of the muscle groups through anti-rotational programming is that the brain senses weakness when we challenge the body during a round of golf.
Coiling core training is serving to reprogram the brain to access and pattern in Proper rotation and effortless swings.
Limit Force Elastics Training
The icing on the cake with Weckmethod training and golf is the approach of using bands as a means to vary the type of resistance an athlete gets while training an END RANGE OF MOTION.
Any golfer, of any physical condition will have the ability to take the exponential elastic load increase of a band to its given motion end range. Once properly activated through MAT, a player can use this Limit Force Elastic training to strengthen and condition to their fullest potential. Elastic bands are extremely effective in helping players gain tremendous amounts of speed in a short amount of time when they tee it up.
These are new golf fitness concepts on the horizon. Golfers who implement better activation and mobility have a better foundation to create power and clubhead speed. Anti-rotation is not as effective an approach for golfers to get stronger for golf as a coiling core training program. Coiling core training with limit force elastic bands in full ranges of motion is a recipe for success at all levels of golf.
Like the players at Integrity Golf Performance, start training these elements today or seek out a local certified golf fitness professional to improve your fitness today.