Slash your golf scores with Deep Tissue Massage
- Posted on April 8, 2012
- in Anatomy, golf, Great Results, Massage Therapy, Pain Management, Sports, Stretching and Yoga
- by jeff
I don’t know of any other sport where non-professionals spend so much time focusing on performance results, but so little time and effort on enhancing performance, as in Golf.
Most golfers limit preparation and training to hitting balls at the driving range. They also walk up to their first tee shot (the stressful one as everyone is watching) without having warmed up their muscles, or stretched.
Golf, perhaps more than most sports, needs specific training and physical abilities in order to perform well. A golf swing recruits a huge variety of muscles that need to work smoothly with each other in order to deliver the power and coordination that results in a great shot. The need to play on uneven terrain increases the complex muscular proprioception and compensations that the brain is required to process and coordinate with the muscular system.
This video from Sports-maniac.com is useful to visualise how muscles are recruited in turn for various stages of a swing.
Muscles not only need good ability to contract, but conversely, need to be able to relax on cue to allow the right muscles to take over. Contraction and relaxation are a continuous process as positioning changes, and muscle recruitment shifts workloads to the next appropriate muscle groups.
In the image below, one can see perhaps one of the most important stages, the downswing as acceleration increases.
In the diagram, the yellow muscles are providing the downward power of the swing. The red muscles are driving the rotation of the pelvis which contributes to accuracy of the swing.
The yellow chain of muscles and fascia from the right shoulder to the left leg, cross the pelvis and each of these muscles needs to engage smoothly. They rely on support from all other muscle groups around the pelvis and core to control the muscle contraction and the swing.
At the same time you can see the gluteal muscles in red are fully engaged, contracting strongly at right angles to the forces created by the muscles in yellow. These muscles create the counterclockwise rotation of the pelvis around the right leg which is fixed. Muscles of the abdominal core also contribute to this rotation.
Deep inside the gluteal muscles are a small fan shaped group of muscles called the external rotators (piriformis, gemellus and obturator muscles) which need to work together with the larger gluteal muscles. These muscles however are prone to chronic tension, limiting their ability to contract and relax on cue.
The external rotators, when tight, often cause pain through the leg, causing a protective contraction in the hamstring and gluteal muscles, further limiting the ability of those muscles to perform well.
Where the gluteal and rotator group are compromised, other muscles less suited to the task need be additionally recruited, possibly leading to less coordinated muscle recruitment and more swing variations. For example the abdominal oblique muscles which are used in rotations, may be required to contribute more to compensate for poor gluteal/rotator group contractions – however they have very broad attachments to the skeleton, making them less exact in their movements. The abdominal muscles also don’t attach deep in the core of the pelvis, which is the base of the center of rotation, but instead are quite peripheral to the spine, which again limits their fine control of rotation.
To summarise the above in practical terms, for a good golf swing to have power and control, the major muscle groups involved need full ability to contract and relax in order to create the movements required, and support by all the other muscles that both assist the movement, and brace against over-movement. Where muscles are tight and locked, other muscles compensate in a fashion that is outside of their normal abilties leading to loss of power and or control.
The therapists at Bangkok Deep Tissue Massage are able to assess your tight muscle groups, and to help release locked muscles such as the external rotators through appropriate massage and stretching techniques. In addition, the trainers at The Aspire Club, are able to strengthen weaker muscle groups to ensure that full power and control can be developed, and the endurance to repetitively engage those muscles for the full duration of a game.