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FUNCTIONAL FLEXIBILTIY
FOR THE GOLF SWING

Flexibility is the ability of a joint to move throughout its full range of motion without any muscular or structural restriction. The degree of flexibility will vary from athlete to athlete and from a particular joint or set of joints. The theory that some athletes are innately flexible throughout their entire body is a total misconception. Being flexible in one joint does not imply that one will be flexible in another. The main goal of any athlete is to obtain a degree of flexibility throughout the body that is equally balanced.

Flexibility is one of the most important components of the golf swing because it allows for the force in the swing to increase by prestretching a muscle before it is called upon to perform the task. When a muscle is prestretched, it allows for a greater coil which results in a more powerful contraction. This is termed as preloading the muscle. This is a very important whether one is a golf professional or recreational golfer since the most effective and powerful swings are produced when the muscles are preloaded first.

A very important aspect of flexibility is that it must be balanced functionally when performing a task as striking a golf ball. This means that there is a balance between having flexibility and stability in your golf swing. If a golfer has too much flexibility, he or she might not be able control it during the sequencing of the swing. On the other side, if one is not flexible but stable, he or she will not have enough mobility to preload the muscle which will result in a loss of potential power. The end result for performing the most effect swing over and over is to be balanced in both the mobility and stability throughout the body.

The many types of stretching techniques that have been developed for specific sports are listed below.

Static and Ballistic Stretching
Static stretching is then the muscle is lengthened slowly (to inhibit firing of the stretch reflex) and the stretch is held for 15 to 25 seconds. As the position is held, the muscle gradually lengthens allowing for the stretcher to stretch the muscle further. Ballistic stretching is performed using rapid bouncing movements to force the target muscle to elongate. This type of stretching is not recommended because it generally elicits a myotatic stretch reflex which will leave the muscle shorter than its prestretched length.

Passive and Active Stretching
Passive stretching is administered to the stretcher by a trainer, workout partner, etc. The person being stretched allows the trainer to move the body part being stretched to gain greater range of motion. Passive stretching is used to increase flexibility at the extremes range of motion, as in gymnastics, ice skating, and martial arts where maximum flexibility is required for performance.

Active stretching is when that the stretcher is doing the work instead of having a trainer or workout partner assist them. Active stretching is generally considered safer than passive stretching because the stretcher controls the force and duration of the stretch.

PNF Stretching
PNF (Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) are stretching techniques that are done passively or as active assisted stretches. The two main types of PNF stretching are hold-relax and contract-relax.

Hold-relax
Hold-relax is very beneficial when the range of motion is extremely limited or if active movement is not available because of muscle weakness, pain, or injuries.

Example: The stretcher holds his or her limb at its lengthened range of motion and isometrically resists a trainer's attempt to move the limb into a deeper stretch of the target muscle. The stretcher then relaxes and the target muscle will actively lengthen.

Contract-relax
This type of stretching technique combines isotonic and isometric methods. A trainer moves the limb of the stretcher passively to the point of limitation. He then instructs the stretcher to try to move his limb against his resistance. The trainer resists but allows the movement of the limb. After several rounds of this method, the stretcher will have a greater range of motion for that particular target muscle.

Facilitated Stretching Sequence
Facilitated stretching is active-assisted stretching that uses both active motion and isometric methods to improve flexibility.

1. Actively lengthens the target muscle.

2. Isometrically contracts the target muscle.

3. Actively lengthens the target muscle again.

Recommendations for safely increasing and improving your joint flexibility

  • Know your body's anatomy, its limitations, and any past injuries.

  • Learn the correct way to stretch through research or hiring a professional trainer.

  • Always warm up before attempting any stretching.
    Once a muscle is warmed up, it will be easier for the muscle to be stretched. The majority of all stretching should be done after an activity is completed.

  • Always stretch one muscle group at a time.
    When performing your flexibility program, never try to overstretch or force the muscle to stretch beyond its natural range of motion.

  • Stretching can be done anytime you feel the need to stretch.
    This can take place before, during, and after your golf game.

  • A consistent stretching program will not only add distance to your golf game, it will also help in preventing injuries.



    Flexibility program tips >>>


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