Visualize the Links
Did you know the "links" aren't just another name for the course? They are also a way to describe the function of the human body and give you an idea of how "kinetic linking" occurs.
Kinetic linking explains how the body transfers the power of movement up through the body. The lower body is the first chain where power is generated - in the large, dense muscle groups in the feet, legs, knees and thighs. Power is transferred up and through the second chain in the core/trunk musculature, and is released through the third chain in the smaller muscles of the upper body. Kinetic linking is visually apparent when observing a baseball pitch, a basketball jump shot and a golf swing.
You're only as strong as your weakest link because if any portion of the chain is underdeveloped, the ability to transfer power is decreased. For many athletes, the weakest link of the chain is the trunk, or core.
Core Strength is Essential for Golfers, Too
The term "core" encompasses the area from the shoulders down to approximately mid-thigh. This area is also called the lumbo pelvic hip complex. While many people think exclusively of the abdominals when we talk about core training, we are actually referring to a greater number of muscles and a larger area that includes musculature, which lies deeper. A "six pack" is more a result of low-percent body fat, and may not necessarily be a sign of strong and stable core muscles.
When you think of the core, think of the deep, internal muscles of the trunk that provide a strong, internal web of stabilization for the body and protection for the spine. For the golfer, these trunk stabilizers are primarily responsible for maintaining posture, which in turn ensures proper alignment of the spine, better power transfer, as well as swing consistency.
The Mobility/Stability Continuum
Training for mobility and stability has recently become a hot topic. We have long been aware of the importance of training the muscles and cardiovascular system, but until just a few years ago, joint development strategies were limited.
World-renowned conditioning expert, Mike Boyle has brought the concept of the Mobility/Stability Continuum into focus, explaining how it relates to overall joint health and movement efficiency.
Continuum Function of the Joints from the Ground Up
- ANKLE (MOBILITY)
- KNEE (STABILITY)
- HIP (MOBILITY)
- LUMBAR SPINE (STABILITY)
- T-SPINE (MOBILITY)
- GLENO-HUMERAL (STABILITY)
- ELBOW (STABILITY) - Golf Focus
- WRIST (MOBILITY) - Golf Focus
As you see, the body's joint linkage system alternates between mobility and stability from the ground up. Some joints need to be stable, while others need more mobility in order to function properly and avoid injury. All joints require a degree of stability and mobility because too much of either can cause problems.
Having a basic understanding of this continuum is valuable because it helps you realize that the function of one joint (or lack of proper function) can greatly influence the function of another joint (or all other joints) in the kinetic chain.
Do you need more mobility or stability? Where? How much exactly? Read Part 3 of this series to learn about a proven method of evaluation and advice on developing a conditioning program to enhance your golf game.