MASTER CLASS: A simple twist can help your spine and better your golf swing – Arkansas Online

Every year, I play between 20 and 50 rounds of golf. I enjoy everything about the game.
The mental aspect, the competition, the outdoors and the social element are all things that appeal to me. Golf is a lifelong journey that will never reach a destination, because behind every achievement is another challenge.
This week, I’ll present some tips for improving golf performance in the physical sense and will suggest an exercise that has helped me.
It won’t surprise anyone that better flexibility translates to better golf. The golf swing is an amazing collaboration between the feet, legs, hips, back, shoulders, arms and core muscles, synced up to create one desired outcome — a well struck golf shot.
And the only way a golf ball can be launched is by generating the club-head speed that produces ball speed upon impact.
So, the goal of every golf swing is to swing the club to produce the right amount of club head speed while landing the face of the club squarely in the optimal impact zone. Club head speed is directly related to physical ability. Those with ample flexibility, strong muscles and ideal swing biomechanics can generate significant speed. Of course, speed is always balanced with control, because the ball needs to not only move, but move in a specific direction.
Trunk rotational flexibility is particularly important for generating speed in the golf swing. Greater rotation allows for a longer backswing, which then translates into improved lower body engagement to eventually deliver the club head faster. Thus a golfer should strive to improve flexibility in the lower back, hips and shoulders.
There are dozens of exercises and hundreds of silly training aids that help with trunk rotation. But it’s one of the easiest areas of the body to stretch, and this week’s exercise is a very simple movement that is appropriate for golfers, but also for anyone looking to improve trunk flexibility.

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1. Stand with both arms extended out from your shoulders, forming a “T” with your body. Keep the arms completely straight with elbows locked.
2. Rotate your body to the right as far as you can. Your arms should rotate around you as you slowly move. Keep an eye on your hands to measure how far each hand moves as you reach the end point of your range of motion.
3. Rotate back to the starting point, then rotate to the left. Again, keep an eye on your hand position.
4. Perform this same sequence but try to move your hands past the farthest position you reached, on each side.
5. Continue this pattern for five repetitions on each side.
The Trunk Rotation exercise works great for a pre-round warmup, and I even do it while waiting between shots. It keeps the core muscles warm and helps to combat mid-round tightness.
For non-golfers, this exercise might be used before a workout or as part of a wake-up routine. In either case, it feels great, and it’s appropriate for all fitness levels. Enjoy!
Director of business development and population health solutions for Quest Diagnostics, Matt Parrott began this column 20 years ago at Little Rock. He has a doctorate in education (sport studies), a master’s in kinesiology and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.
vballtop@aol.com

Print Headline: Trunk Rotation improves flexibility, golf swing
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