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Muscles & Golf: How To Perfect Your Golf Swing While Avoiding Injury

Posted by | 07-05-2019

Hi, I'm Dr. Scott Wilson, founder and chairman of Physiomed. Many people think of golf as a leisurely weekend activity, but anyone who plays regularly will tell you it can actually be a challenging full body workout. With golf season now in full swing, we're going to explore what's happening to our bodies during a single golf swing. By understanding which muscle groups are used when swinging your club, you'll know what to work on in the gym and on the course, so you can improve your performance and enjoyment of the game. Here to help us today is our resident golf expert, Dr. Jason Lemieux, of Physiomed Oakville.

Hi, I'm doctor Jason Lemieux, of Physiomed Oakville. We're here at Physiomed Oakville inside our hitting bay. Now that golf season is upon us, we're going to talk about how our body actually performs during the golf swing. So if I want to make sure that my body is injury-free and I can perform at my best, I have to understand what's demanded of me when I'm swinging the club. So a golf swing is a full body activity. When we address the ball, one of the most important things is that we demonstrate good posture with our golf swing. We'll see a lot of golfers, you bring the body that you have to your golf game. So if I'm somebody with pretty bad posture or rounded upper back, that's actually gonna restrict your ability to make a good swing. You're not gonna be able to turn as far and that's going to decrease your club head speed and force you to hit the ball shorter, which nobody wants.

So once I work on my posture, a good upright spine, good mobility in my hips, as we start to swing, we need to understand that we transfer energy from the ground up. And the golf swing is really just an expression of energy transfer. If we look at the top players in the world and see what it is they do when they take the club back, we're going to see a certain characteristic, a pressure change through their feet to the ground. So making sure that the muscles and the joints of our feet work properly is incredibly important and something that a lot of people ignore. Once I get to the top of my backswing, now as I continue to transfer energy from the ground up, we're going to get to the most important part of our body for our golf swing, and that's our hips. The glutes are known as the king of the golf swing because as I rotate my shoulders back to the top of the backswing to start my downswing, I need to be able to drive through the ground and create some separation of my upper and lower body.

So that requires flexibility through our core, but it requires a tremendous amount of power from my glutes in conjunction with our external obliques, the oblique abdominal muscles. So when I'm in the gym, I want to make sure that I'm doing things to activate my glutes: squat, deadlift, lunge, and I need to train the core muscles, as well. One of the things a lot of people miss out on is the fact that my obliques are going to have to serve two functions:

  1. They're going to have to help stabilize my lower body and rotate my upper body.
  2. But then from the top of the backswing, they're going to have to stabilize my upper body to rotate my lower body.

We see that a lot of people lack that ability and that's what actually causes them to hit slices or develop back pain in their swing. So if we can train that attribute a little more effectively, it's not only going to decrease your risk of injury, but it's actually going to make you a better ball striker. From the top of the backswing and I start to accelerate towards the ball. One of the things that a lot of people miss out on is the idea that better ball strikers actually decelerate their body better than recreational players. And a deceleration is looked at as a bad word in golf because if I decelerate the club, or I'm hesitant, you're going to make a really bad swing. But to accelerate the club, I have to learn how to decelerate my body to transfer energy to the club. So when we're working on the gym, we need to do things like isometric exercises to help to improve my body's ability to throw on the brakes so that as my body stops moving, the club can accelerate faster, increasing my club head speed and my ability to contact the ball better. So understanding that our body transfers energy from the ground up. We need to make sure that we're training our feet, our glutes, our core muscles, and our ability to create deceleration or create isometric force to be able to have a good, safe golf swing that's going to allow you to hit the ball further and be injury free for the entire season.

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Dr. Scott Wilson

Dr. Scott Wilson is the Founder & Chairman of Physiomed; one of Canada’s largest franchised networks of inter-disciplinary healthcare clinics. A graduate of Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. Wilson founded Physiomed in 1994 and has since grown Physiomed to over 30 clinics in Southern Ontario and British Columbia. With hundreds of practitioners from over a dozen disciplines, Dr. Wilson and Physiomed have helped over 100,000 Canadians with physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, orthotic therapy, compression therapy and clinical conditioning as part of a program of rehabilitation and health optimization. In addition to helping patients improve their physical and mental well-being, Dr. Wilson has also mentored hundreds of practitioners to provide better care while enjoying more fulfilling careers. He is also a keynote speaker on many health related topics including how physiotherapy, chiropractic and health & wellness treatment can help with stress, weight loss, and unlocking the true potential within to achieve lasting physical well-being.

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