By Dr. John Mishock, PT, DPT, DC
In the first article, “Golf Specific Exercises Improves Golf Performance and Prevents Injury: Part I”, I reviewed the essential biomechanics of golf and how improving strength and power through exercise training can improve golf performance. Found at:
In this article, I will review the importance of training balance, flexibility, and range of motion to optimize golf performance and prevent injury.
Balance is maintaining the body’s equilibrium by keeping the center of mass within the individual’s base of support. Balance is a vital component of golf performance. Studies have shown that players with a lower handicap (<0) have demonstrated superior balance when compared to those with a higher handicap (10-20). (Sheehan et al. 2021)
Balance in golf is essential because the body needs to shift weight and transfer force while in difficult stance positions. Good balance prevents energy leaks (loss of muscle power due to inefficient movements) by optimizing the sequencing of the golf swing from the bottom-up (ground reaction forces from the feet to impact of the ball). Specific balance training exercises have been shown to improve club head speed by 3% and carry distance by 6-7%. (Sheehand et al., 2021)
Beyond balance, range of motion and flexibility is essential to the golf swing. Kinematic studies have highlighted the importance of adequate flexibility in the legs, hips, trunk (spine), and shoulders to achieve the body positions required to optimize the golf swing. (Speariett et al., 2019) For example, during the driving golf swing, the elite golfer’s range of motion is between 78-109 degrees of pelvic rotation. With this range of motion and flexibility, muscle length-tension relationships can be optimally reached, optimizing explosive power from the rotational muscle.
Shoulder-hip separation, termed the X-factor, is believed to facilitate a muscular recoil or rubber band effect, increasing the muscular rate of force development and lending to faster club head speed and ball flight distance. Long drive champion Jason Zuback stands at 5’10” tall but can drive a golf ball 463 yards, partly due to his ability to create a significant range of motion during the golf swing (130 degrees). (mytpi.com, 2022)
Burden et al. observed that 75% of sub-10 handicap golfers rotate their shoulders greater than 90 during the backswing. They found that training-related improvements in trunk flexibility and various strength measurements improved golf performance. (Burden et al. 1998)
At Mishock Physical Therapy, our doctorate-level TPI-certified physical therapists will perform a thorough physical movement exam to assess movement limitations and weaknesses. They will then provide an individualized exercise prescription to meet your individual needs. The TPI exercise training program is scientifically proven to improve strength, power, flexibility, balance, and postural control. These changes will help you improve your golf game, prevent injury, and return to a healthy lifestyle.
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Dr. Mishock is one of only a few clinicians with doctorate level degrees in both physical therapy and chiropractic in the state of Pennsylvania.
He has authored two books; “Fundamental Training Principles: Essential Knowledge for Building the Elite Athlete”, and “The Rubber Arm; Using Science to Increase Pitch Control, Improve Velocity, and Prevent Elbow and Shoulder Injury” both can be bought on Amazon.