As I look ahead to this upcoming Golf Season, I can’t express enough how excited I am to implement all the stuff I have learned over the last year going through the Grey Institute Golf Performance Specialist program. The information I have gained has allowed me to not only become a better golfer myself but also begin to help others unlock their full potential out on the course.
A couple very common questions I get from my patients who are golfers include “how can I increase my mobility in my swing” and “what can I do to become more flexible to help my golf swing.” Many times I hear this from the aging golfer who has started to see their mobility decrease in their backswing and finish and as a result has seen their distance decrease off the tee and with their irons as well as notice a decrease in their endurance for playing multiple rounds.
When I hear golfers talk about not being able to “hit it as far,” “swing as hard,” or even “take a full swing” like they used to, it breaks my heart. I truly feel if you take the right approach to maintaining your mobility in the spine, hips, shoulders, and ankles all while providing your body with the proper swing specific exercises you can not only outperform your previous self in these areas, but you can also beat your buddies on the course and fight off the associated effects of “aging.”
I’ve very much changed the way I approach mobility with my golfers. I used to have them lay on the ground and perform the “open book” stretch or give them a club and put it over their shoulders and rotate. Don’t get me wrong, these isolated activities are better than nothing and can certainly give you an improvement in your mobility and swing, but I really like to emphasize the importance of swing specific mobility in all three planes of motion.
- The sagittal plane. This is your forward and backwards movement or your flexion and extension of the spine, shoulders, hips etc and is super important in the swing. Having adequate mobility and stability in these planes can be a game changer for your swing.
- The frontal plane. This is your side to side or lateral flexion movement of the spine and abduction of the shoulders and hips. Many times as we start to feel more stiff this is the plane of motion we begin avoiding and using less and less, but is super important for your backswing, impact, and finish.
- The transverse plane of motion. This is your rotation of the spine and is the most commonly associated plane of movement with golf. There is no doubt that not having adequate mobility and stability in rotation can significantly hinder your ability to perform a backswing or finish optimally.
So now that you have an idea of the planes of motion needed for a golf swing, you are probably asking yourself, “how do I know if I have adequate motion in these planes?” Well, great question and that is why I’ve put together a quick self-assessment to see what your motion looks like.
- Sagittal Plane:
- Test your ability to lunge and reach overhead. Download the information on where you feel tight in your back and hips.
- Next Test your ability to lunge forward and bend down to touch your foot. Again download the information on where you feel tightness.
- Frontal Plane
- Test your ability to lunge to the side and reach overhead in the opposite direction. Download where you feel tight or restrictions in movement
- Now test to the other side with the opposite reach overhead.
- Transverse plane
- Test your ability to lunge in a 45 degree angle to the right and rotate fully with your upper trunk and arms in to the backswing position
- Next perform the 45 degree angle lunge to the left and rotate your upper trunk to the left with rotation and see how you feel in regards to tightness and restriction
- Full Swing Simulation
- Last perform a full swing operating through as much mobility as you can see where you feel limitations.
Now I know I make this sound easy, but if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. But, the reason people fail is that they aren’t consistent with how often they perform these mobility exercises and the accountability of maintaining these exercises throughout the season is not there. So, in order to create a good habit, pick two of these exercises and perform them before every round and every time at the range and see if your mobility improves.
If you’re looking for additional help with your swing mobility and performance, I help people on a 1-on-1 basis and can help you if you are interested in learning more.
Also, check out our YouTube Channel to learn more about specific videos on these movements as well as mobility in general.