Rigidity in one’s body is a huge detriment to a fundamental golf swing, not to mention most all other forms of sports and movement. I believe strongly as the Yogi’s say, ‘You’re only as Young as your Spine’.
Keeping your spine healthy will go a long way to a healthy and fit life!
Over a lifetime of golf, I’ve observed literally thousands of different body types and have come to the conclusion that the golfers who play the longest are the ones who have the best Flexibility and Range of Motion. Although Strength is obviously another vital component, I feel strongly that Flexibility Reigns Supreme in maintaining the fountain of youth.
One of my favorite exercises is Roller Coasters – which we feature in the CORE STRENGTHENING PORTION OF THE POSTURE SYSTEM – demonstrated in today’s video with Victoria and Keith. Roller Coasters have It all: Flexibility, Strengthening, and Cardiovascular, which are all the ingredients of a complete workout.
However, if doing the Roller Coasters the way Victoria is demonstrating is too challenging, or if you have back and/or disc problems in your back, then do them the way that Keith is demonstrating.
Creating a better golf swing has many different facets and there are thousands of aspects that can be looked at; but in short, I believe that THE TWO major factors are Weight Transfer and Rotation. Along these lines, there are legions of different ways to make a back swing, but the majority of good players have a balanced blend of Turning and Shifting. I’ve come to call the backswing a ‘Turning Shift’. And, even here we have some exceptions as seen in the swings of Freddie Couples and Kenny Perry – who tend to ‘pick the club up’ first, then turn their shoulders later.
A drill I’ve learned to get my students turned behind the ball and get their weight shifted, is what I call the ‘Turn Over the Chair’ Drill. As I explain in today’s video, stand a few inches away from the backrest of a chair, then make a first with your Left Hand and stick your thumb into your sternum. From here, simply Turn your Left Elbow over the chair. If you look in a mirror, you’ll see that your spine angle is angled off to the right and your left shoulder will be behind the ball (Note: Make sure that your left shoulder is tilted down underneath your chin and not raised high….We don’t want your shoulders to be flat). You’ll find that after doing this drill a few times, that you’ll begin to feel a very nice Blend of the shoulders and weight shifting in harmony.
You can also practice this drill standing a few inches away from a wall.
One of my common themes is that due to our Forward Bending Culture that has us Bent over at desks, cars, and even golf stances, our bodies get out of ‘True’ as a carpenter would say. Remember:
YOUR BODY WILL MOLD ITSELF INTO WHATEVER ACTIVITY IT’S DOING OVER LONG PERIODS OF TIME.
When you see the Rounded Shoulder Forward Head Look, it simply means that the muscles on the Anterior (front) of our torsos have tightened and pulled the torso forward, and the back muscles then become too weak due to the dominance of the Anterior torso.
A Great Exercise, and one that I do most days along with my overall Flexibility Program/Posture Programs, is Skydivers (as shown in today’s video). Generally speaking, I like to do around 3 SETS of a count of 5, or 1 or 2 SETS OF 5-10 Active Movements where you hold the pose for 1-2 seconds.
IF YOU HAVE DISC INVOLVEMENT YOU CAN EITHER DO THE ALTERNATE METHOD THAT KEITH IS DEMONSTRATING, OR ELIMINATE IT FROM YOUR PROGRAM.
AND, Of course, I highly recommend that you do the Flexibility Programs before and after to make sure you’re warmed up.
Very seldom do I see a high handicapper who’s in a good Impact Position, and very seldom do I ever see a good player who’s in a bad Impact Position…..Hmmm?
The majority of golf instruction seems to be focused on getting into a good backswing position – so that the golfer will automatically be able to get into the good Impact position. That makes sense, but without question, the overwhelming majority of amateurs tend to get stuck on the rear foot and then be forced to flip the club in order to catch up with the lack of weight going forward. I’ve learned that where you focus, your energy will flow there. Often times, spending too much time thinking about your back swing, will sometimes freeze you up and not allow you to swing freely to – and through the ball.
A simple drill to free up your swing is to take a golf club and swing it with your trail arm only (so if you’re right handed, swing with just the right arm, and vice versa if you’re left handed). By doing this simple drill, you’ll be able to move freely and automatically shift your weight onto your front foot and rotate accordingly. If you were watching golf back in the early 90’s when Nick Price was dominating the tour, when he was coming down the home stretch, he’d do this drill before his actual shot, and nearly always hit it good.
Our bodies were designed for One Reason: TO MOVE! Yet our sedentary lifestyle of sitting down so much is robbing us of that one crucial activity. The Good News is that Research has proven that MODERATE and Consistent Exercise is far superior to exercises that ‘punish’ the body over ‘Long’ periods of time. If you’re thinking that I’m saying that the body shouldn’t be stressed, I’m not. The body definitely needs to be stressed – BUT, for short bursts, not for hours on end.
This is called HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. In other words, High Intensity cardio exercises for SHORT DURATIONS, periodically during the day, preferably when you’re going on long walks, is VERY beneficial to your overall health and well being.
One of my personal favorite cardio exercises is Mountain Climbers, which my models Victoria and Keith are demonstrating in today’s video. Just doing a limited number of reps (10 or 20?…your call) of Mountain Climbers periodically throughout the day or on your walks, or in your office or home, will do wonders for increasing your overall fitness and state of well being. Note: Be sure that you do a few stretches before embarking on the Mountain Climbers and especially after.
Without question, there is nothing more important in the golf swing than BALANCE – RHYTHM – and (especially) TIMING! As I mention in today’s video, you can have the greatest Swing Mechanics in the world, but if your Timing is off, it won’t do you much good. And, the reverse is true: i.e., you can have poor Swing Mechanics, but if your timing is good, you’ll be able to get away with them.
The two most common places for Bad Timing to occur is in the immediate Takeaway, and ‘especially’ starting down from the top too soon, and/or too quickly. Starting down too soon, is usually a symptom of anxiety, having poor swing mechanics on the backswing where the body has too ‘catch up’, and even more importantly TIGHT MUSC LES AND A LACK OF FLEXIBILITY. Imagine a rubber band that you’re trying to shoot across the room. If the rubber band is nice and ‘flexible’ and has plenty of elasticity, you can pull it back as far as it’ll go, and it’ll react accordingly by shooting across the room. However, if that rubber band is Brittle and Tight, it won’t ‘Want’ to expand fully and fight you to achieve a full windup. Same thing in the golf swing.
Whenever my golf game gets a little off and I feel like I’m rushing it, I’ll take a few ‘STOP AT THE TOP’ Practice swings and let my body Feel it. Then, when I get up to hit it, I’ll be more relaxed and patient and not in a hurry to start down too fast.
On a side note, there were some great players who actually did Stop at the Top that had excellent careers. Cary Middlecoff, Bob Murphy, and even today’s Hideki Matsuyama comes close.