Golf Specific Exercise Improves Golf Performance and Prevents Injury: Part I

By Dr. John Mishock, PT, DPT, DC

Worldwide, 55 to 80 million people from 136 countries play golf. (HSBC Group, 2020) With this popularity, golf has been among the most highly studied sports. Advances in technology and sports science have allowed healthcare providers to use this information to create specific sports performance exercise programs to improve golf performance, increase fitness, and prevent injury.

Mishock Physical Therapy & Associates uses the scientifically proven Titleist Performance Institute Golf Performance program that can optimize individual golf fitness from youth to pro or middle age to senior trying to be their best.

Golf is a sport that involves a relatively long duration of low-intensity activity interspersed with short bursts of high-intensity activity. In order to excel the golfer must be able to precisely control the direction of the ball with touch and feel while having the ability to hit the ball far with power and explosiveness. (Tinmark et al. 2010)

Most golfers concentrate on technical skills, with few working on the physical part of their game. However, the difference between a poor versus great golfer is the crucial physical factors such as muscular strength, segmental stability, postural awareness (proprioception), balance, and fine motor control.

Overall muscular activity can reach 80-90% of maximum voluntary contraction when attempting to hit the ball far, which accounts for 30-40 swings for every 18 holes played. Approximately 25% of the time is spent on the green requiring fine motor control, postural awareness, and balance. (Wells et al. 2009)
Many electromyographic (EMG) muscle studies have identified the crucial muscles of the golf swing. The acceleration phase of the golf swing is the most active, with key muscles of the lower body, trunk, and upper body providing the explosive power needed to hit a ball far.

The power and explosiveness of the golf swing starts with the energy transfer from the linear push-off or weight transfer from the back leg “bottom-up phenomenon.” During the acceleration phase, the torso is first fully rotated with the club in a horizontal position. Energy from the weight shift and push-off progresses up the kinetic chain (link of movable body parts), sequentially stacking and adding forces while recruiting the most important muscle groups at the right time. As energy is transferred, there is a need for stability of the body segments below the moving part.

Power is transferred sequentially through the lower half, core, shoulder, arm, and hand, leading to the explosive release at the club head to the golf ball. At the highest levels, this explosive transfer of power leads to an illusion of an effortless swing with the ball almost jumping off the club head, resulting in a long drive distance.

During the Mishock Physical Therapy TPI golf training program, exercise training is targeted at the key muscles of the golf swing. These muscles include the lower legs, hips, trunk, abdominals, back, chest, and arms. The trunk and lower trunk muscles generate up to 67% of the club head speed during golf. (Joyce et al. 2012)

At Mishock Physical Therapy, our doctorate-level TPI-Medical certified physical therapists will perform a thorough physical movement exam to assess movement limitations and weaknesses. Then they will 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 you to a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s make next year your best year ever on the golf course!

Schedule your golf assessment now and begin training at our PHOENIXVILLE location (across from the Hospital on Nutt Rd.)

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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.

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