How to use your golf muscles (P1)
Important muscles used in the golf swing and the part of your game they are assisting.
As I mentioned last month, many golfers are unaware of the muscle groups they should be training to enhance golf performance. The great majority uses the wrong muscle groups and poor technique within the gym environment. These faults cause injury and can also affect performance and impair good swing biomechanics.
A common mistake I see in many amateur players is that they rely too heavily on the large front upper body muscles in the swing. That is, they tend to have too much arms and upper body movement – as such, they underutilise their core and lower body muscles that are great power sources. In addition, they make compensations with the smaller levers, such as the hands and wrists. So in this column, I’ve highlighted the principal muscles used in the golf swing.
I must stress, however, that you should only commence a strength and conditioning program once you have been “screened” by a physiotherapist. A muscular and postural profile is necessary to ensure that you’re able to maintain good posture and muscle balance, which is fundamental to the sequencing of an efficient golf swing.
With the information gathered from these tests, a golf-specific program can be constructed that will lead to a reduction in injuries, strength building (where required) and which will ultimately improve your game and swing as a whole.
Principal Upper Body Muscles Used in Golf
The majority of muscles that work around the neck, shoulder girdle and shoulder region support the underlying joints and structures. They are intrinsically important for producing good upper body power and timing.
Deep neck stabilisers, serratus anterior and lower trapezius
These muscles are situated between and around the shoulder blades and rib cage. The muscles are very important for “feel” at initial takeaway and are instrumental in stabilising the upper body in the golf swing.
Shoulder stabilisers – triceps and rotator cuff muscle group
The triceps are attached at the back of the shoulder and connect to the back of the elbow. They maintain good upper body posture and shoulder position for a golfer throughout the swing. A loss of balance with the biceps can often affect shoulder and arm positions in the swing. The triceps is a major muscle for golf “feels”.
Wrist stabilisers – extensor and flexor muscles
The extensor and flexor muscle groups attach at the elbow and are positioned on either side of the forearm. There is a balance between the flexors and extensors, which allows for a good wrist-cock and response from the wrists in the golf swing. Over tightness of these muscles can lead to golfers’ elbow and tennis elbow, respectively. In addition, these muscles are responsible for protecting the wrist and hand at impact, especially when playing out of thick rough.