NOT ALL MUSCLES WERE CREATED THE SAME
- Joint dysfunction
- Muscle imbalance
- Static or dynamic postural stability problems
All the above are reasons why a player’s swing faults are hard to improve long term. Aside from blatant lack of skill, muscle imbalance is by far the most common source of altered neuromechanics and both poor and/or inconsistent swing mechanics.
A player with muscle imbalance is most easily identified by his/her poor posture. Altered spinal curvatures disrupt spinal mechanics, leading to compensatory movement at other joints. Increased thoracic kyphosis (flatness) restricts torso rotation causing faulty swing mechanics; no matter how well trained this player may be, there will always be neuromechanical distortion of his swing.
This is one reason that golfers play for five or even ten years with minimal improvement in their handicap; even though their understanding of the game is improving, their level of neuromechanical imbalance is of greater influence on their game!
One of the main reasons for muscle imbalance is the way our muscles are designed. The physiological reality of how these muscle types react to both physical and mental stress is what underlies many chronic swing faults that persist despite having spent large sums of money on elite coaching and high-tech clubs!
Today’s golfer will go to any extreme, spending unlimited amounts of money on high-tech equipment in hopes of gaining a few extra yards on his drive. What the teaching pro, and player must realize is that the club is only as good as the player holding it!
- Tonic muscles are ideally suited to postural duties such as holding an address posture and an optimal swing axis. They react to stress by shortening and tightening.
- Phasic muscles are more suited to dynamic movements such as actually swinging and accelerating the club. They react to stress by lengthening and weakening.
Additionally, as we age (beyond 40) our phasic abdominal and gluteal (butt) muscles tend to weaken, further encouraging muscle imbalance.
THERE IS A SOLUTION!
You can make significant gains toward a better swing by simply stretching the shortened tonic muscles just before you play. Using slow static stretching on the shortened tonic muscles only, you will get sufficient results to see an immediate change in swing mechanics. Don’t be surprised if you develop an unexpected swing response after stretching a few shortened tonic muscles. This is because you are now seeing a more accurate representation of the messages leaving your brain.
The good news is that as you restore normal muscle balance in either your body, the coaching you receive from that point on has a fighting chance of making long term changes in your swing!
(edited from an article by Paul Chek)