Have you noticed that your backswing is just not what it used to be? Don’t have the flexibility to really turn on the ball? Noticing a decrease in drive distance? Well, you needn’t worry! We are going to discuss a few things that will put a skip in your step and the twist in your backswing needed for the perfect drive each time.
First things first, to get a better understanding of your golf swing (or lack thereof) you must know all the moving parts and what major muscle groups are involved. There are three phases to a golf swing: the backswing, the downswing, and the follow-through. At each phase of the swing, we activate several different muscle groups to raise the club, drive the club to the ball, and finish through strong. For today’s purposes, we are going to discuss the backswing and all the muscles involved in it.
The backswing is the first phase of the golf swing. This is the most important phase of the swing and is where all the greatness happens. A perfect backswing sets you up for everything that follows during the downswing and is vital to an amazing drive! As you lift the head of the club backward, you’re engaging eight major muscle groups: Infraspinatus, Rhomboid major, Latissimus Dorsi, External Oblique, Adductors, Quadriceps, Teres major and minor. These eight major muscles groups are tried and tested with everyday living. They can become shortened and dysfunctional with repeated movement, stress, and/or injury. When muscles become shortened and dysfunctional, you will start to lose the range of motion and flexibility of the muscles, therefore affecting your backswing and drive distance. However, it’s not just the muscles that are the problem. The connective tissue, or fascia, is most likely the main culprit.
Staying hydrated and stretching are great things to help prevent muscle dysfunction and shortening. Another way to ensure your muscles and fascia stay in top shape is regular massage with a therapist who has a thorough understanding of the myofacial system and postural analysis. During a structural physiotherapy session, the therapist focuses on the shortened tissues and releases the fascia. This allows the muscles to lengthen, which increases the range of motion and functionality.
Now that we have discussed muscle mechanics and problematic muscle groups that could be affecting your backswing, the next thing we are going to talk about are the last two parts of the swing and the muscles involved in making it happen. The last two parts of the swing are called the downswing and the follow-through. A strong backswing will set you up perfectly for these two steps.
The downswing is all about weight transfer and momentum. Once you reach the top of the backswing, you start to transfer energy and engage your pectorals major for downward club thrust. Your external obliques and Gluteus Medius fire to start the body’s rotation for the downswing. The stroke finishes with muscle contractions from the quadriceps and Gastrocnemius to allow for energy transfer and propulsion of the ball. This is where the head of the club comes to hit the ball, the follow-through.
Once you have driven through the ball, you move right into the follow-through. This is the very final part of the swing. If you don’t have a good follow-through, your drive will fall a little short every time. The follow-through involves a lot of the same muscle groups as the backswing: the Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Rhomboid Major, Lattissimus Dorsi, and External Oblique. These major muscle groups are used in everyday life, but are not often exercised enough. Due to stress and overuse, these muscles can become weak and stuck together not allowing for full range of motion or the perfect drive!
Some great ways to insure you get your perfect backswing and drive are by focusing on stretches that involve your functional lines and spiral lines described by Thomas Myers. You will want to do really good cross body stretching (hip cross over, upper spinal floor twist) and lengthen the Abdominals (static extension position, cats and dogs). You also need to make sure you are strengthening your major core muscles (Abdominals, Oblique muscle group, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, glutes, and shoulder girdle). By stretching and strengthening these major groups, you should see a positive result with a perfect backswing and further drives!
Range of motion issues, stiff, hard to rotate, call or text for evaluation! 480-738-9261