Course Instructor (P3)

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The Backswing Biomechanics

With a right handed golfer:

  • During the initial movement of the backswing, the left shoulder moves across the torso until it reaches its elastic barrier. At that point, the glenohumeral joint and its muscles and ligaments become activated thereby allowing continued left arm movement. This movement continues until the glenohumeral joint reaches its elastic barrier. This movement is followed by thoracic spine rotation.
  • Individuals with poor shoulder and upper torso flexibility will attempt to compensate during their backswing by bending their left elbow thereby collapsing the arc of the backswing, or lifting their head or torso.

The Backswing BiomechanicsTechniques to Improve Scapula Restriction

1. Shoulder retraction exercises (3 sets of 10 repetitions).

2. Elbow curls. (3 sets of 10 repetitions).

3. Shoulder / thoracic stretches.

Techniques to Improve Restrictions of the Glenohumeral joint

1. Shoulder range of motion exercises in all planes of movement with progressive resistance weight (3 sets, 10 repetitions).

2. Shoulder stretches (hold the stretch for 30 – 60 seconds).

Techniques to Improve Thoracic Rotation

Thoracic spine stretching technique. Lie supine with your knees bent; arms straight out with palms together. With your right hand pull your left arm across your body. Allow your knees to move to the left as your arms move to the right.

Hip Rotation

  • When visualizing a backswing think of the body as having three parts stacked one on top of another. The top portion, the shoulder, turns 90º; the middle portion, the hips, turn 45º and the lower portion, the legs remain stable.
  • During the downswing, the body uncoils from the legs to the hips to the shoulders.
  • Perform a hip rotation assessment of the golfer. With the individual prone, have them lift their right leg. Check internal and external hip rotation. Normal internal hip rotation is 40 degrees; normal external rotation is 50 degrees.

The Hip

  • Inward rotation: measured by rotating leg outward. Outward rotation: measured by rotating leg inward.

The Hip

  • Inward rotation (internal): measured by rotating the leg away from the midline of the trunk with the thigh as the axis of rotation, thus producing inward rotation of the hip. Outward rotation (external): measured by rotating the leg toward the midline of the trunk with the thigh as the axis of rotation thus producing outward rotation of the hip.

  • Lumbar muscles contribute only approximately 5% of the total torque (force production) involved in trunk rotation. Lumbar muscles are primarily involved in flexion and
    extension movements.
  • The oblique abdominal muscles are the primary rotators of the trunk.
  • Each vertebra has approximately 1º of rotation or 5º total for the entire lumbar spine.

To Aid Hip Rotation

1. Train the abdominal oblique muscles utilizing crunch and twisting maneuvers.

2. Utilize plyometric techniques for explosive power. Perform medicine ball tosses to a wall. Line up parallel to a wall and toss the ball at the wall. Perform the exercise bilaterally with 10-50 repetitions depending upon your fitness level. This drill will enhance the golfers ability to perform quick changes of direction which is necessary in the transition from the backswing to the downswing.

3. Groin stretch – hold for 60 seconds, 5 repetitions.

4. Hip stretch – hold for 60 seconds, 5 repetitions.

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