A Quartet of Trunk and Lower Body Stretches
The emphasis in my third group of superstretches is to focus upon the middle and lower-body segments and ‘working and blending’ them together. The pelvis is the important link between the trunk and the legs, which are married in the golf swing. The trunk ranges from your shoulder blades down to the hip joints around the pelvis. The spine supplies all the muscles to the trunk, many of which cross over around the pelvis. The lower body begins at the pelvis, comprising all the muscles down to the feet.
So the king of the golf swing is the trunk and pelvis region and you want to make sure it has stability. Firstly, though, it must have flexibility and range, so the trunk and pelvic area doesn’t get tight and upset the sequencing of the golf swing.
We’ve found the trunk and pelvis area varies in different types of golfers. The male golfer tends to get what I call “sticky hips”, where he has poor association between the hips and pelvis. Frequently, his body moves in one piece so he can’t get the coil and control that’s required in the golf swing. It’s a bit like when small and large cogs in a watch are jammed. Effectively, you want free-flowing movement of different parts, which are working in unison to achieve more clubhead speed and power.
Instead of sticky hips, female golfers usually get a lot of sliding and swaying movement in their trunk and legs. They need to be aware of this because it affects their ability to stabilise their lower half during the golf swing.
So the aim of the last four exercises is to eliminate the remaining ‘roadblocks’ in the golfer’s body by trying to loosen them off. Those culprits are the side-trunk flexor, which is the quadratus lumborum, the lower-hip flexor, the ITB, and the piriformis. Along with the calf muscles, these act like governors on a car because they’re limiting good rotation and sequencing of the golf swing. It’s almost feels like you’re trying to move your body with handbrakes on.
To accentuate body positioning, I use spiky balls to put pressure on problem areas that get tight in golfers. This allows you to stretch the ‘agonists’ and feel the muscles you want to fire in the golf swing, while stimulating the underactive and inhibited ‘antagonists’. In theory, it should take less than 10 minutes to go through the nine superstretches.
It’s a common physiological principal that if you release one part of the body you’ll get flow-on effects. For instance, I’ve worked in hospitals with people that have suffered brain damage from strokes or head injuries. If you treat the central points in the body first, by the time you get to the hands there will be a lot less tightness and a reduction of spasms. My superstretches for golf are similar in principle. The emphasis is to release central muscle areas before you stretch the peripheral muscles, such as the calves and hamstrings.
I challenge you to stretch your calves and hamstrings to feel how tight they are initially. Next morning, go through the process of my nine superstretches and you’ll feel it’s a lot easier to stretch those peripheral muscles. That’s because of the irradiation and flow-on factor from warming up the body centrally. Compared to your usual stretching routine, I guarantee your arms and calves will feel looser. Secondly, it will give you a lot more ‘liquidity’ in your golf swing.
The benefit from going through the process of superstretches is enhanced flexibility and mobility. Plus, it takes pressure off the joints, which get more freedom of movement. You’ll start to get more awareness once you ‘release’ those culprits that limit rotation and sequencing. You’ll certainly get an added benefit of feeling the key muscles you want to fire in the golf swing, which are the ‘golf Christmas tree’ muscles (that I’ve referred to in past articles).