How to use your golf muscles (P2)
Principal Middle Body Muscles Used in Golf
Good abdominal muscle group tone will protect the spine and promotes good coil and recoil, thus producing power in the golf swing. If you work these muscles in harmony with the lower back muscles (latissimus dorsi and the glutei muscles), you will succeed in rotating just above the pelvis and maintain good lower body stability in the swing. This will also result in more power being generated through the lumbar pelvic area.
The majority of golfers who play intensively have tight hip flexors. Prior to carrying out abdominal exercises, golfers should stretch their hip flexors to ensure these muscles are not used instead of the abdominals. These muscles also help to maintain good spinal angle throughout the golf swing. Dysfunction in this area will result in a reverse pivot and/ or “crunch” factor at impact – a sheering/ jamming of your back at impact.
Transverse abdominis and multifidus
The transverse abdominis and multifidus are the deepest layer of muscles connected to the spine. Research carried out by Jull and Richardson at the University of Queensland has shown the importance of the trunk muscles in stabilising the spine and maintaining good posture. This is very important in golf because the compression force on your spine at impact is eight times your body weight.
The latissimus dorsi originates at the tip of the shoulder blades, crosses over the rib cage and spine, and attaches onto the pelvis. It stabilises the shoulder and promotes correct arm movement in the golf swing. This muscle works closely with the lower abdominals to produce smooth and efficient sequencing in the golf swing. A dysfunction of the latissimus dorsi can cause a breakdown in the rotation of the swing.
Principal Lower Body Muscles Used in Golf
The joints involved in this segment are the hips, knees, ankles and feet. A good range of movement in these joints in conjunction with the stabilising muscles around them is important to ensure smooth and efficient sequencing in the golf swing.
The “gluts” are a set of three muscles – gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus – that attach from the pelvis to the hip (top of the thigh). They stabilise the pelvis and promote rotation with latissimus dorsi in the golf swing. If they are weak or tight, they cause hip slide in the swing. The glutei muscles need to be stretched and also strengthened to respond to the muscle imbalance caused by the tight hip flexors. It should be emphasised that gluteus medius is a major contributor to timing in the golf swing.
Adductor muscles and inner quadriceps muscles
The adductors attach from the front of the pelvis to the inside of the thigh and lower leg. They stabilise the legs and pelvis, allowing the production of power in the golf swing from the ground upwards. Weak adductors can lead to lateral slide – especially excessive knee slide – by a golfer.
The peroneal muscles are attached to the outside of the ankle and feet. They stabilise the lower legs, ankles and feet, which promotes balance in the golf swing. These muscles are important on undulating terrain and uneven lies. Dysfunction of these muscles can cause the ankle and foot to roll outwards and lead to a reverse pivot.