|Golf Exercises For Improving Balance In The Swing|
Golf exercises can improve your golf swing in many ways. One way in which golf exercises can be extremely beneficial is in the improvement of balance. Balance is an important component in regards to the biomechanics of the golf swing and reference by swing coaches and fitness trainers during instruction.
Often times the amateur player is unaware of the definition of balance and how this component of the swing can be improved through golf fitness training.
According to Michael Clark, Director of the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Balance (stabilization) enables the neuromuscular system (muscles and nerves) to synergistically produce force, reduce force, and dynamically stabilize the entire kinetic chain in all three planes of motion.
In general terms, balance allows an individual to maintain proper joint alignment and center of gravity during any functional movement pattern, sport related or not. Relative to the golf swing this definition tells us balance is the ability of ones body to maintain a fixed spine angle and the correct postural positions during each phase of the golf swing.
If an individual is lacking the balance capacities to perform such tasks, the ability to execute the biomechanics of the golf swing in an efficient and effective manner will be compromised. To counteract and provide the golfer a greater opportunity to execute the biomechanics of the golf swing efficiently. An individual can implement a series of exercises to improve ones balance capacities.
Prior to the implementation of balance training exercises it is best to assess your current balance capacities. One of the easiest and most effective assessments to achieve this goal is the Single Leg Balance Test. Performing this assessment will provide you a baseline of information on your current balance capacities and a reference point as improvement occurs.
Once you have determined your initial balance capacities the next step is the implementation of exercises to improve ones current stabilization (i.e. balance) levels. The process by which this occurs is through a systematic approach which continually challenges both the muscular and nervous systems of the body. The systematic approach of challenging and improving your balance capacities hinges upon the concept of limits of stability.
Limits of stability can be defined as the distance outside of your current base of support where you can go without losing control of your center of gravity. (Michael Clark, Integrated Training for the New Millennium, 174) For example, Olympic gymnasts have excellent balance capabilities. Through years of training they have developed the neuromuscular capacities of their bodies to a very high level. They have achieved this by constantly challenging their bodies with more and more difficult exercises outside their normal base of support. This then allows them to control their bodies when performing their gymnastic routines.
Typically, your normal base of support is standing on two feet. Once you begin to move outside of this base of support (i.e. two feet on the ground and not moving), balancing becomes more difficult because you are challenging your own limits of stability. For example, if you were to stand on only one leg (i.e. single leg balance test), it would become more difficult. If you closed your eyes, it would become even more difficult. The reason again is you are challenging your own limits of stability.
Increasing your limits of stability through balance (stabilization) training allows your nerves and muscles to operate more efficiently, adjust to the requirements of athletic movement with greater ease, and perform such actions with less fatigue. The greater the increase in your limits of stability, the better your chance of success with any athletic movement, golf swing included.
As stated earlier we will utilize a systematic approach to challenging your limits of stability through stabilization (balance) training. This systematic approach of challenging your body is often referred to as a progression. Progression is simply the process by which more and more challenging exercises are implemented into an individual’s training program. The result of a progression is continual improvement in ones stabilization capabilities.
Balance training should follow the following progressions:
If these guidelines are adhered to in the progression of your balance training, you will find continual improvement within this capacity of your body relative to the golf swing. A sample progression incorporating the guidelines above would be the following:
Once mastery occurs of the first exercise listed above it is then time to progress to second exercises in the series. This would continue on through the sample list provided until the last exercise in the series is reached. Mastery of exercise occurs when the prescribe time or repetitions of the exercise are completed with no difficulty.
The ability to maintain balance is extremely important in the execution of a biomechanically correct golf swing. Improving ones balance capacities can have a direct affect on the efficiency in which you execute the golf swing. The process by which this can occur is through golf exercises geared towards increasing the body's balance capacities within a comprehensive golf fitness program. Over time these type of exercises within a golf specific training program will have a positive effect on the balance capacities within your golf swing allowing you a better opportunity to execute a biomechanically efficient golf swing.