Want the secret to a more powerful Golf swing? Read on...
Should You Be Flexible?
If you’ve been on social media at any point in the past year, chances are that you’ve seen a fitness personality or two resting in what seems to be an impossible stretched position for any normal human body. On the other hand, you may have noticed a friend struggling to reach down and tie their shoe laces. These 2 examples really exist on 2 opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to flexibility. Where is the balance, and just how much flexibility do you need to enjoy your daily activities?
For the average person, flexibility can be an afterthought, literally. It pops into their minds either just before a workout or, right after a workout as they run to change their clothes and move on with their day. Hey, at least there was a workout in there somewhere right? Most people do not realize how much flexibility affects not only their workouts, but also their performance and overall health in general. But what exactly is flexibility?
What Is Flexibility?
Flexibility can be defined as the ability of the human movement system to have optimum range of motion and neuromuscular control throughout that range of motion. A simpler explanation would be the ability of your muscles to passively move through a range of motion and extensibility.
This is often confused with mobility. Mobility can be defined as the ability of your joints to actively move through a range of motion. This means that with mobility, your muscles and central nervous system are responsible for actively moving your joints through ranges of motion. While mobility is very important, mobility can’t happen without a measure of flexibility. Therefore, in this article we will focus more on flexibility.
Flexibility & Performance
How can flexibility affect your performance? Take the example of a golfer. A golfer’s back swing builds up a certain amount of torque. This torque then can translate into the power behind the swing that creates that 300 yard drive. Torque is the sum of force multiplied by distance. (Ok, no more physics I promise.)
Let’s just assume that you could gain no more force with your swing. Just by increasing the distance, or more range of motion in that swing, we get a greater amount of torque. A key component of that increased range of motion would come from healthy levels of flexibility.
It goes without saying that ultimately, it would be advantageous to work on increasing the force part of that torque equation. However, proceed with caution. With movements such as the golf swing, strength can have diminishing returns. The body adapts to the stresses placed upon it. Heavy strength training can tend to make the body stronger but also stiffer. A stiffer spine would become less flexible. Look at what nature teaches us from trees.
The Oak is a stalwart and strong tree. However, it lacks the flexibility of a Palm tree. Palm trees survive hurricanes when oaks tend to break. The dynamic effort of a golf swing needs the strength and flexibility of the palm tree instead of the oak to be effective and reduce the chance of injury.
Putting It All Together
How would this work? Look at the shoulder joint. One of the most mobile joints in the body. The shoulder must be able to move in a large range of motion from the backswing to the finished position in a golf swing. That range of motion can be hindered if the pec minor, latissimus dorsi, or rear delt are not flexible enough.
Here are 3 stretches that can help to improve the flexibility of those muscles. These stretches are best done throughout the day or after a workout.
Wall/ Pec Stretch - This stretch targets the pecs and helps to open up some of the muscles that cause shoulders to round forward.
Rear Delt Stretch - This stretch targets the rear delt, helping give the shoulder joint more room to move.
Doorway Lat Stretch - This stretch targets the lats which can pull the shoulder into a poor movement pattern when tight.
Golf Flexibility Routine
A1 Wall/ Pec Stretch: 30-60 Sec Each Side
A2 Rear Delt Stretch: 30-60 Sec Each Side
A3 Doorway Lat Stretch: 30-60 Sec Each Side
By increasing the flexibility of those muscles, the shoulder has the ability to assist in creating a wider swing. And by doing these stretches often, the body also learns to have the neuromuscular control needed to use that new range of motion.
Now does this mean that every muscle needs to be stretched every day?? No. Each person tends to have certain muscles that may tend to be shorter or tighter due to injury or daily routine. The key would be to find those muscles, and spend the time working to help them improve.
Here at Dark Horse Sports, we want to assist you in being as successful as possible in what you love to do. Let us perform an assessment to find out what areas of you can work on to see some improvement in your performance. Contact us HERE to get started today!
Thanks for reading!
Dark Horse Sports