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January 22, 2013

Three foundations to a consistent golf swing

Golf is an amazing sport. 

For most, it’s the thrill of driving the ball straight down the fairway or sinking that impossible putt on a tricky green. 

For me and other fitness professionals, it’s an appreciation for the sheer difficulty of aligning and training the body to hit the ball perfectly every time. The biomechanics of a golf swing are complicated — that’s why it interests me so much. 

What I’ve learned from helping golfers move more effectively during their swing is that there are three basic movements or skills that need be mastered first before progressing to the swing itself.  

PROPER POSTURE

Many people, not just golfers, tend to have a slouched posture. Correcting this is of the utmost importance in order to swing a club efficiently. 

The reason we tend to slouch is often due to the chronic sitting position that many of us are used to assuming. It takes considerably less effort to slouch, but it places much more stress on our joints and ligaments. 

By lifting the chest up, you will create better spinal alignment and therefore be able to transfer more power through your body safely. To practice, get down on your hands and knees and let your spine sag between your hips and shoulders, creating a valley. You should feel your abdominals relax and your back muscles turn on. 

Now do the opposite — arch your back upward. Contract your abdominals when doing this. Do this 10 to 20 times to really feel the difference. 

Next, stand up and try the same motion with your spine. Round your spine first (bad posture), then arch your back slightly and point your chest upward. The key to a good golf swing is to find the neutral spine between these two extremes. 

Many people are so adapted to a rounded spine that they have a hard time lifting the chest up. This is a good exercise to “find” your neutral spine and improve postural awareness.

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