Spine And Sports Center Of Chicago latest 2023

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A Good Swing Starts with a Strong Base of Support

A good golf swing starts with a strong base of support (hips, pelvis and lumbar spine). A highly conditioned support base will provide stability throughout the swing and allow forces to be efficiently transferred from the legs to the hips to the upper body to produce optimal power and control. A strong foundation helps protect joints and other supporting tissues from the strong compressive, shearing and twisting forces that occur during the golf swing. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that predispose the golfer to developing poor posture and muscle imbalance that results in a weak base of support.

For much of our young lives, we were stuck sitting in school hunched over our desks. We finish our studies and start our career. Many of us now spend too much time in our cars or sit in poorly designed chairs hunched over a computer. Over time we are conditioned to have tight hip flexors and lazy posture. Poor posture and muscle imbalance decrease musculoskeletal efficiency and disrupt communication within the neuromuscular system. Short, tight muscles show a lower activation threshold, meaning they fire at times when they should be less active or inactive. Excessive activation of dominant muscles results in decreased neural control of their opposing muscles. Simply put, “when one muscle becomes tense and overactive, its opposite muscle becomes loose and sluggish.” Tight dominant hip flexors create weak and lazy hip extensors (glutes) and start a chain reaction of dysfunction.

Tight hip flexors pull the pelvis forward causing excessive curvature of the lumbar spine. As a result, the muscles in the abdominal wall get longer and weaker while the muscles in the lumbar spine become short and tight. This pattern also causes a disruption in our body’s lateral stabilization system. The hip abductors (muscles that move the legs away from the center of the body) as well as their opposite adductors (muscles that move the legs towards the center of the body) work to stabilize the pelvis during sideways movement. The ineffectiveness of this lateral stabilization system inhibits coordination and hinders proper weight transfer throughout the golf swing. So we’re left with weak hip extensors (glute muscles) that can’t drive the hips through the swing, dominant hip flexors that don’t allow the hips to open to allow a full turn, tight spinal flexors which are forced to do the job of weak hip extensors, but are too tight to rotate fully, and lack of coordination is required to make good consistent contact with the ball. To make matters worse, most golfers spend hours at the driving range reinforcing and reinforcing this dysfunctional pattern. Is it any wonder that the average golf score hasn’t dropped for decades?

To break this pattern of dysfunction and build a strong base of support, we must first establish coordinated muscle triggering between the deep stabilizing abdominal musculature, hip flexors and extensors, hip abductors and adductors, and hip flexors. , extensors and rotators of the spine. This is accomplished by activating and strengthening weak and inhibited muscles, and stretching tight and dominant muscles. Once these muscles are retrained and coordinated muscle triggering is established, we can then work to build optimal strength and power.

The first step in this process is the development of the deep abdominal and pelvic musculature. This is done by mastering the abdominal brace. Abdominal bracing differs from traditional abdominal training which encourages the “abdominal dip” aka the “pull in” maneuver. With the “bringing in” maneuver, we are told to pull or pull our navels towards our spines. Research has shown that suction actually decreases abdominal activation and decreases lumbo-pelvic-hip stability. The abdominal brace is an isometric contraction of the abdominal muscles, which means that the abdominals are neither pulled in nor pushed out. This maneuver should be the first step of every exercise because it is the basis of lumbar, pelvic and hip stabilization. The following exercise will allow you to master this movement and re-educate the lower abdominal wall and allow the deep pelvic stabilizers to pull effectively.

Abdominal splint

o Lie in a prone position (on your back) with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

o Brace your abs by squeezing the abs as if you were going to take a punch in the stomach.

o Return to a relaxed position and repeat.

Tips

o Motion control is key. When performing these exercises, be very careful NOT to allow use of the legs (hip flexors and/or glutes) while contracting the abdominals. The only muscles that contract are the abdominal wall; place your hands on the navel to feel this isolated contraction

o There should be no tension in your neck or shoulders.

Don’t limit the abdominal brace to exercise. Practicing the brace with all activities (sitting, walking, driving, golfing, etc.) will help you build the endurance your abs need to maintain a strong base of support as well as a healthy back.

A study presented by researchers at the 51st Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine showed that golfers with strong hip muscles have lower handicaps and longer driving distances than those with strong hip muscles. the hip are weak. This makes sense since the hip and pelvic muscles play a major role in stabilizing the core and transferring forces from the lower body to the upper body and arms during the golf swing. The ability of the hip extensors (glutes and hamstrings) and lumbar extensors to pull in concert also allows the body to react and counter the rapid rotational forces of the golf swing. The problem here, as we’ve discussed before, is that many golfers have inhibited hip extensors and tight, dominant lumbar flexors. At best, our spines weren’t designed to swing a golf club. Now we compound the problem by repeatedly forcing our spinal muscles to do the work of our hip extensors to power the swing. The spinal extensor muscles don’t have the size or strength to do so, hence the huge incidence of overuse injuries and lower back pain in golfers. So what we need to do is lower our lumbar extensors enough to allow the hip extensors to do their job.

The progression of the Bird Dog exercise effectively helps develop spinal stabilization, coordination and strength. The key to this type of exercise is to learn and then keep the spine “neutral”. Neutral doesn’t mean straight, it means allowing natural curves to be present. This is imperative to allow the spine to function properly and movements to occur without stress. The golf club placed along the spine is an excellent reference that allows the golfer to feel the correct positions of the spine and to make the necessary corrections. The shaft of the club must be in contact with only three points; the base of the head, the center of the back and the middle of the pelvis. Concave spaces should be seen at the neck and lower back.

Dog 1

o Position yourself on your hands and knees with a golf club placed along your spine; make sure the rod only contacts at 3 points (head-middle-back-pelvis).

o Brace your abs and slowly raise one hand and the opposite knee just above the floor (no more than 1/4 inch). Hold the position for five to ten seconds.

o Return to starting position and alternate sides.

Tips

o The club must remain in contact with the 3 points of contact (head, mid-back, pelvis).

Once you have mastered Dog 1, you can move on to the next progression. Dog 2 adds the components of hip extension and shoulder flexion. This exercise is extremely effective in restoring the efficiency of the extensor chain (hip, lumbar and cervical extensors).

Dog II

o Position yourself on your hands and knees with a golf club placed along your spine; make sure the rod only contacts at 3 points (head-middle-back-pelvis).

o Brace your abs, slowly extend one arm (thumbs up) straight out in front of you and the opposite leg behind you.

o Hold the position for five to ten seconds and repeat with the opposite side.

Tips

o The club must remain in contact with the 3 points of contact (head, mid-back, pelvis).

o Don’t let your hips rotate.

The key with dog 2 is to not allow the back extensors to pull during this movement. After mastering Dog 2, you can then further challenge the hip extensors by adding the bridge exercise. The bridge adds the resistance of body weight to the hip extension movement and further challenges (and strengthens) the deep stabilizers or the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex.

The bridge

o Lie on your back with your arms placed at your sides.

o Brace your abs and contract your glutes (buttocks), then lift your hips into a bridge position. Pause and return to the starting position.

Tips

o Your feet should stay flat.

o This movement is initiated with the hips and not with the extensor muscle of the spine; no pressure should be felt in the lower back.

o Maintain contraction of the abdominal and gluteal muscles throughout the movement.

It’s important to have a good stretching program in place to lengthen tight muscles while strengthening your base of support. Besides the hip flexors and lumbar extensors already mentioned, other areas commonly strained in golfers include the muscles of the hamstrings, neck, scapular levators (upper trapezius and levator scapulae) and internal shoulder rotators. . A qualified strength and conditioning or golf fitness professional can provide you with a postural and biomechanical analysis which can provide a more detailed picture of your specific needs. Improving your base of support will add distance and control to your game and help prevent, reduce, and eventually eliminate golf-related pain and injury.

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