The concept of “core training” is a “buzz word” in today’s fitness and training community. It has also become a prevalent idea in the game of golf. In regards to golf it has been noted by many individuals that the core area of the body is where the “power” comes from in your swing, and in order to make a full turn you need flexibility in the core. This article will discuss the function of the core in relation to human movement and the golf swing.
We will discuss categorically the functions of the core and how improvements in these areas can assist in the improvement of your golf swing. Before we begin discussing the functions of the core, let us define it. The core can be defined as an anatomical area of the body.
The core is includes all the muscles from below the chest to the hips. Separated out into body parts the core includes all muscles of: the hips (glutes, hamstrings, glutes), abdominals, obliques (side abdominals), and low back. These muscles groups essentially comprise the core region and are involved in the majority of movement elicited by the core.
Now that we have a brief understanding of what exactly the core refers to in terms of a reference point, let us begin to discuss the pertinent connections between the core and the golf swing. We will be discussing the following topics in relation to the golf swing: 1) range of motion, 2) speed of motion, 3) balance, and 4) coordination. All four of these categories are related to the core of your body and have a direct effect on your golf swing. We will first begin by discussing range of motion and move forward from that point.
Range of Motion
Most of us have probably heard of this term before and may have some type of definition for it. Let us first define range of motion. Range of motion is essentially a distance that the body or body part moves during an activity. For example, walking down the street requires all segments of the body to move through a certain range of motion.
In addition to the entire body, specific body parts move through a specified range of motion. The knee for instance, when you are walking, moves in a linear range of motion to create movement in the legs.
The golf swing is similar to walking when discussing range of motion. The entire body must move through a specified distance to perform the golf swing correctly. The core as a segment of the body also has to move through a specified distance to perform the golf swing correctly. Relating the core and the golf swing range of motion is very important.
It is the primary body segment that allows for the rotation of the body to occur. The back swing, down swing, and follow through require an extensive range of motion to be provided by the core. If limitations exist in terms the distance that the core can “move through,” then limitations will occur in the golf swing. On the flip side, a greater range of motion (distance that the body segment moves through) generates greater amounts of power. This gets into what can be termed as the “X” factor in the back swing. The more turn (range of motion of the core) you can get in the golf swing, the greater ability the body has to generate more power.
Range of motion is quite a relevant topic when reviewing the golf swing. It becomes quite apparent that a connection exists between the range of motion available to the core and what the end results are in the swing. A brief synopsis would indicate that a greater range of motion in the core results in a more powerful swing, and less range of motion decreases power in the golf swing.
Speed of Motion
Connected to range of motion is the speed of that range. Speed of motion is essentially adding a time component to range of motion. It is connected to the speed at which an object would move.
If you have a large range of motion created by the body over a short period of time, the speed of the motion is fast and power production is high. On the other hand if you decrease the range of motion the body moves through with the golf swing and slow the movement down, power production will be less.
The core is again at the center of this discussion pertaining to the golf swing. At this point, we know that a large range of motion creates a greater “X” factor in the golf swing. This will ultimately result in greater power output. Add into the equation a high speed of motion, and the power component of the swing becomes greater. The point to be made is that range of motion and speed are interconnected in relation to the golf swing. The core is connected to these two entities in that it is the segment of the body that creates the greatest range of motion in the swing.
Balance is a key component of the golf swing that we hear about quite often. Balance can be defined as the amount of stability within the body during a movement. The greatest amount of balance by the body can be achieved if it maintains a center of gravity around the middle line of support. If you have ever taken a golf lesson you know what the above sentence is talking about. The body including the core must rotate around a center axis in the body.
If rotation is moved to far away from this center axis, balance in the golf swing will be lost. As a result of weight shifts in the golf swing, the axis which the body rotates around does move, but movement by certain body segments beyond a certain point reduces stability.
Research indicates that accuracy and consistency is connected to stability in the golf swing. In addition, EMG studies indicate that the core is involved to a high extent in the stabilization of the body in any human movement, including the golf swing. We could probably make the connection that the core is a relevant body part in the ability to maintain balance in the golf swing.
The final point of this discussion of the core and the golf swing is coordination. Coordination is essentially the ability of the body to activate body parts in a sequential order to create a desired movement. Go back to the walking example, and the body must coordinate all parts of the body to create this movement. The golf swing is essentially the same.
The body must “fire” the muscles of the body in a certain order with the correct timing to create the movement of the golf swing. The core is actively involved in the coordination of the golf swing, as is the rest of the body.
The two points to focus upon in terms of coordination are: 1) timing and 2) sequence. Both of these terms are essential for a mechanically efficient golf swing. The sequence in which muscles are “fired” in the golf swing require a certain timing for an efficient swing to occur.