These basic screening assessments for mobility and stability address the components of flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination, and may provide invaluable information for enhancing your golf swing. Failure to identify general problems could lead to inconsistent swing patterns and poor performance. The screening procedures should expose significant structural, mechanical, and soft-tissue restrictive problems. They also should provide information for eliminating unproductive drills and for establishing training programs that are most likely to enhance your driving performance.
Although cardiorespiratory endurance is not directly related to golf performance, it does have an effect on your staying power for several quality hours on the links. Generally speaking, we recommend that you develop enough aerobic fitness to walk a mile in less than 16 minutes,and to walk two miles in less than 34 minutes. If you can do this with erect posture, long strides, fluid movement, and moderate effort, from a cardiorespiratory perspective you should be well-conditioned for golf.
Upper Back/Hip Mobility
Focus: Hip joint limitation may be observed by performing this assessment.
|Perform a squat to a comfortable depth, keeping your heels flat on the floor.|
|Note whether one hip is higher than the other at the lowest point of the squat.|
Assessment: Unless you are standing in front of a full-length mirror, you might not be able to assess your hip height accurately; but a good indicator is whether or not you feel your weight is being distributed equally on both feet.
Focus: Ankle joint limitations are assessed with this test.
|Stand facing a waist high bar, holding onto the bar. (You may also do this assessment by standing in a doorway, facing one side, holding the doorjamb.)|
|Squat and note whether there is a difference in your weight distribution on either the right or the left side of the body.|
|Once you have noted weight distributions, keep your heels flat on the floor and try to rock forward by bending your knees.|
Assessment: If you are unable to rock forward, you might have restrictions within the ankle joint.
Upper Back Mobility
Focus: Restrictions in the latissimus dorsi (mid- and upper back) musclescan be discovered by doing this test.
|From a standing position, raise your hands over your head and perform a squat.|
|Note the position of your arms in relation to your ear.|
|Now sit against a wall or door frame and lean forward as necessary to keep your lower back flat against the wall.|
|Raise your hands above your head.|
|Note the difference in your arm position when you were standing and when you were seated in the doorway.|
Assessment: Changing the position of your lower back, neck, or pelviscan restrict shoulder elevation, because these areas serve as points of muscle attachment. If you are unable to achieve at least the same amount of elevation as you did when standing, then your upper and mid-back should be targeted in your training program.
Focus: Your spine and trunk should be stable during the golf swing.This test assesses strength in your abdominal muscles. Although theabdominal muscles can be considered as a single muscle group, different points of attachment suggest different roles in trunk stability.
|Find a doorway or a flat wall.|
|Sit against the door frame or wall at a comfortable level.|
|Roll your pelvis backward until the lower back is in full contactwith the door frame. Adjust your sitting level if necessary to make it easier to keep your back flat against the wall.|
|Keeping the back flat against the wall, lift one foot off the ground and hold it for approximately two seconds.|
|Repeat this procedure with the opposite foot.|
Assessment: Inability to maintain the back flat against the door frame when lifting your foot indicates abdominal weakness. Be sure to have someone else observe your ability to stay flat against the door frame; you might not be able to perceive a change in your position.
Low Back Strength
Focus: This test assesses the strength of the hip extensors and lowback muscles.
|Lie face down on an exam table or over a stabilization ball such that your body is hanging off the table from the hips down.|
|Lift your legs so that your body is straight and parallel to the floor.|
|Hold this position for as long as possible.|
|Record your time (in seconds).|
Assessment: If you have difficulty holding the horizontal position for at least 90 seconds, you are likely to benefit from a low backand hip extensor strengthening program. These tests should not take the place of a physical examination (if you have a recognizable problem), but might give you some indication about your trunk stability.
Tip: If you are extremely weak in the abdominal or low back muscles, do not proceed with further testing or training until youhave strengthened these essential areas.
Balance and coordination are the final two components of a properly executed golf swing The definition of coordination is simply the action of two or more joints in relation to one another to produce skilled movement This is what we see in a properly executed golf swing We assess theseabilities with the static balance test, also known as the "stork stand."
Static Balance Test
Focus: This test assesses your balance while standing still.
|Stand on one foot (first your backswing leg and then your follow-through leg).|
|Place the foot of the untested leg against the lower part of the support leg.|
|Next, place your hands on your hips.|
|Slide the foot up the lower leg so that it is just below the knee.|
|Raise the heel of the support foot from the floor and attempt to maintain balance for as long as possible Do not remove your hands from the hips or allow your heel to touch the floor.|
|Record your best time (in seconds) out of three attempts.|
Assessment: If you are unable to hold this position for at least 10 seconds on each leg, you need work on your balance.