Meaningful Mobility: The Key To Unlocking The Power In Your Golf Swing! Part 1 – Golf Fitness, NYC

What Is Mobility?                                                                                                              

In the every day vernacular, mobility is interpreted as the ability to move or to move freely and easily. In even simpler terms mobility = movement. And so the opposite is true. Something that is immobile is incapable of moving, or motionless

As primal beings we needed to be mobile to survive. We had to squat, lunge, bend, push, pull, twist, walk, jog, run, sprint and carry in order to survive in a hostile environment.

We were meant to move! 

"Movement is the basic currency of health, fitness and performance. Great movement produces pain-free, high-level performance. Bad movement promotes pain and dysfunction. Progressive decreases in movement leads to progressive decreases in brain function and quality. Movement IS life."– Z-Health, Essentials of Elite Performance 

Today, modern man has the same body as our primal ancestors but we now live in complete contrast to what we were designed to do… to move…to be mobile. Most people around the globe spend their days sitting.. Sitting at work, sitting on the way to and from work and sitting when the get home from work. We are now being told to try to accumulate a measly 10,000 steps in a day in order to be "fit". The reality is most people that work in an office setting are lucky if they are getting 3,000 steps in a day! 

"We are essentially immobilized by our working environment and even those with the best intentions that may go to a gym to exercise – wind up in the same position they were in when they left the office. SITTING! The only difference being there is a weight stack beside them."_Brett Cohen

So what is the difference between the person sitting at desk all day long and then sitting in a machine at the gym and a person who has to sit in a wheelchair?

                                              The answer……………………..NOT MUCH!

                                                  What You Don’t Use __You LOSE

How Does Mobility Work In The Body?

The easiest way I know of explaining mobiltiy and how it relates to human movement is by sharing what is know as the Joint-By-Joint approach. First noted by Gray Cook, Lee Burton & Mike Boyle, the Joint-By-Joint approach tells us to think of the body as just a stack of joints. Each joint, or in some cases a series of joints (thoracic spine, lumbar spine) have certain characteristics of mobility or stability. If this pattern is altered in any way, compensation will occur which leads to irritation, inflammation, pain and if ignored long enough, injury and even surgery.

"Mobility is the combination of muscular flexibility and normal range of motion of a joint. This is a must for proper mechanics and to reduce injury risk potential. Mobility allows the body to perform any motion without having to sacrifice stability. _TPI Certification Manual, Level 1

Where Does A Golfer Need To Be Mobile From?

Since golf is a ground based sport we are going to start from the ground up. The first place that needs to be mobile is your big toe (your first metatarsal), the bending back of that toe sets up the next segment (the foot) for stability. Next comes the ankle. The ankle joint is a key joint in allowing the golfer to squat as well providing the nervous system with vital information regarding balance. Next we have the hips. I think every golfer knows that to have a consistent and powerful golf swing you need to have mobile hips. Then comes the thoracic spine (rib cage portion of the spine). A golfer also needs mobility in the shoulder joint as well as the upper cervical spine and even the wrists.

Failed Deep Squat Test Due to Limited Ankle and Hip Mobility 

How Does A Lack Of Ankle Mobility Effect Your Squat?

What Can Alter A Normal Pattern? 

The Four T’s:

  1. Traumas – Accidents, Poor Posture, Repetitive Movement Injuries.
  2. Thoughts – Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Mental Collapse
  3. Toxins – What You Eat, What You Drink, What and How Your Breathe
  4. Technique – Poor Learned Skills, Poor Movement Patterns

*If the brain doesn’t feel it’s safe, it won’t allow you to do it. 

How Do We Assess Mobility? 

The TPI Level 1 Screen as well as the Functional Movement Screen helps to identify if you are lacking in mobility in the aforementioned segments of your body. 

What Happens When There Is A Loss Of Mobility?

Problems at one joint usually show up as pain in the joint above or below.

"The primary illustration is in the lower back. Loss of function in the joint below– the hips–seems to affect the joint or joints above. In other words, if the hips can’t move, the lumbar spine will. The problem is the hips are designed for mobility, and the lumbar spine for stability. When the intended mobile joint becomes immobile, the stable joint is forced to move as compensation, becoming less stable and subsequently painful."_Mike Boyle

The Process is Simple

  • Lose ankle mobility, get knee pain
  • Lose hip mobility, get low back pain
  • Lose thoracic mobility, get neck and shoulder pain, or low back pain

How Does A Lack Of Mobility Effect My Golf Game? 

In short, a lack of mobility can effect your golf game in the following four ways:

  1. Loss of Strength ("Jammed or immobile joints create weak muscles. Mobile or open joints create strength") _ Z-Health, Essentials of Elite Performance
  2. Loss of Power
  3. Loss of Posture
  4. Increased Risk of Injury

    "Until you can get into a position, until you can move joints (hips and shoulders) the way they need to be moved, it will be difficult if not impossible to enhance your power. If we look a most people that struggle with GOLF, it because they lack mobility"_ Michael Boyle

    Remember, if you lack mobility in your hips and thoracic spine it will be impossible to hit the ball using the correct Kinematic SequenceThe ability to transfer energy from the ground up into the ball.

To check out how Adam Scott maintains his posture in the golf swing check out this Body-Swing Connection Video with Dave Phillips and Dr. Greg Rose

How Can We Address Mobility Problems?.. See Part 2 of this article. 



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