Why Condition Golfers
The golfer plays the game that's why. Even with today's technical advances in clubs it is still the golfer who stabilizes, rotates and uses "90% of their peak muscle activity " when driving a golf ball.
The incidence injury according to J.R. McCarroll, (1996)The Frequency of Golf Injuries, Clinics in Sports Medicine. "The number one injury among male golfers is back pain (53%) followed by elbow pain (24%). The number one injury among female golfers is lower back pain (45%) followed by elbow pain (27%)."
"A One-Year Prospective Study on Back Pain Among Novice Golfers" American Journal of Sports Medicine states, "As many as 63% of novice golfers are reported to suffer from back pain."
"Biomechanical analysis of the golf swing reveal that the forces generated in the spine are great enough to fracture vertebrae and damage lumbar disks." From "Back Pain in Golf", Clinics in Sports Medicine (1996).
A golfer who is functioning at his or her optimal physical performance is a golfer with a lower handicap.
What affects physical function? Balance, stability, flexibility, strength and power.
Imbalances in the musculoskeletal structure equal compensations in functional dynamic movement patterns. The more compensation a player learns to overcome with structural mal-alignment and muscle length tension relationship the more inconsistency in their game.
To produce any complex movement such as the full swing in golf, the nervous, muscular and skeletal system are linked creating the neuromechanical system.
The neuromechanical state of readiness is determined by the muscle balance, flexibility, static and dynamic postural stability, strength and power.
The game of golf does require strength and stamina both the upper torso, power core muscles and legs needs to be strong and flexible.
As with a general well-rounded fitness program a golf fitness program should include components of flexibility, balance, strength, power and cardiovascular endurance based on the individual client.
Strength training is important for developing stronger muscles equating more power to generate the force required for club head speed. Further benefits of strength training include and increased lean body weight, decreased body fat and increased joint flexibility.
"A good golf conditioning program emphasizes strength and flexibility, according to exercise researcher Wayne Westcott, PhD. The conditioning goal for golfers is a strong and flexible musculoskeletal system that maximizes swinging power and minimizes injury risk. The golf swing is one of the most complex and unnatural actions in sports, so it's difficult to design sport-specific exercises. However, research has found that improved muscle strength and joint flexibility can increase swinging speed and enhance driving power."
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