Why is the Core Important to Golf?

By: Sean Cochran

Introduction

The core is the "center of the body" and is a key component formany activities the body performs. A quick review of the coreregion will indicate: 1) there are a vast number of musclesincorporated in this section of the body and 2) the core is anintegral part of all human movement, including your swing!

Let us first review the first point in terms of what comprisesthe core. The core is an anatomical part of the body. Theeasiest way to think about the core is in terms of a "section"of the body. This section of the body is all the muscles fromyour hips up to the chest, not just the muscles on the front ofyour body, but on the sides, and backside as well. Ageneralization will state that the muscles comprising the coreare: the abdominals, lower back, obliques, glutes, hip flexors,hip extensors, and spinal stabilizers. This is a short list ofmuscle groups of the core, and not all the specific muscles inthis region.

This quick review of the anatomical structure of the coreindicates that there are vast number of muscle groups andmuscles incorporated in this section of the body. Keep in mindthat even though we just described many individual muscle groupsand muscles, the entire core region works as a unit to createmovement.

We must realize that human movement is integrated and notisolated. First, let us describe human movement. Human movementis a general statement that describes anything you do with yourbody. The tasks can be simple movements like getting out of achair, walking, or standing. Human movement can also be acomplex movement like swinging a golf club.

We now know what human movement encompasses. We can begin tounderstand what we are talking about when we say "integrated."To perform either a simple task (standing up) or a complex task(swinging a golf club), the body functions as a "unit." If youswing a golf club, do you just use your arms? The answer isobviously no! The same can be said when getting up from a chair.Do you just use your legs? The answer is a little less obvious,but again the answer is no. In either of the movements describeabove, your body must integrate numerous muscles to perform themovement. These muscles are utilized to balance and stabilizethe body.

The same idea holds true for the core region of the body.Bending over to pick up the newspaper, you are not just usingyour lower back. Additionally, you are using the abdominalstructure, deep spinal stabilizing muscles, and many others. Soagain, the core works as a "unit" to create human movement, asdoes the rest of the body.

The Core in Relation to the Golf Swing

At this point, we know that the core functions as a unit and iscomprised of many muscles. The next question is: What exactlydoes the core do during human movement?

The core is involved in every movement of the body: 1) It isresponsible for stabilizing the spine, 2) It assists in thefunction of balance, and 3) It is responsible in the transfer ofenergy from your lower body into the upper body (think of a golfswing on this one). In addition, the core is the primary rotatorof the body. This is probably giving you a pretty good idea ofthe relationship between the core and the golf swing. Keep allof these ideas about what the core is comprised of and what thefunctions of the core are as we move onto the next section.

The Core and the Golf Swing: the Connection

At this time create in your head the picture of a perfect golfswing. Start at address, go through the back swing, start thedown swing, see the contact, and complete it with the followthrough. Now, what do you see? Key in on what the body is doingduring the different phases of the swing. The body isessentially creating a swing path through the process of weighttransfer and rotation. These two components allow for thedevelopment and transfer of power (i.e. club head speed) intothe golf club.

The core is important because golf is a rotational sport. Thecore is the region of the body that allows the body to rotate.The core is the area of the body that creates power duringrotational activities. In addition to rotation, the core is thecenter point of balance for the body, and the core lends itselfto the ability of weight transfer during the swing.

If golfers are to perform at their optimal levels, they mustpossess: 1) the ability to balance, 2) the ability to transferweight efficiently, and 3) the ability to create rotationalpower. The core section of your body allows for these threecomponents to occur. Improvement in your swing is contingentupon the development of this area of your body.

How Does the Core Development Improve your Game?

Core training allows for the development of the required powerparameters and balance capacities for an efficient swing.Overall, the development of the core allows the golfer greaterbalance and the ability to develop more power in their swing.Combined with a mechanically sound swing, core development willincrease distance off of the tee, accuracy, and consistencywithin your game.

Limited core strength, endurance, and power cause restrictionsin balance capabilities, power outputs, and the ability torepeat a swing. This results in compensations with your swingresulting in less accuracy and distance on your shots.Additionally, the increased possibility of injury to your bodyoccurs.

What Parameters of the Core Do I Develop for Improved Power andBalance

Golf is a sport that is classified as a functional athleticactivity. A functional athletic activity is any sport requiringthe entire body to be integrated in the performance of theactivity.

What does that mean? Generally speaking, the golf swing utilizesthe entire body from "feet to fingertips" to execute the swing.In order for a successful swing to occur, the body must maintainbalance throughout the swing and create power to transfer intothe golf club. The majority of golfers have limited balance andpower capacities. This impedes their success on the course.

A golf-specific core program will focus on the areas of the body(hips, low back, abdominals, and obliques) that are required todevelop the balance and power capacities required for the swing.Such a program will result in the development of the balance,stabilization, strength, and power capacities required for anefficient golf swing. Need additional information on coretraining for golf? Go to BioForce.com and you will discoveradditional information and products that will improve your golfgam

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