It is about motive posture, not static positions.
For golf swing, we should know some about how our body works a to gain energy from the mechanical make-up of the human structure. It will be significant to know how our body should be postured in order to gain more club head speed from your body, and how being healthy can enhance your entire golf game.
During the full golf swing, the skeletal system has to be strong enough to take many kinds of forces and in a dynamic balance; the muscular system must have resistance in order for one’s muscles to perform at their greatest potential.
Main Functions of the Skeletal System
It is important to know how the body functions in order to give it a special task to act. The skeletal system is divided into two parts: the axial skeleton and appendicular skeleton. The axial skeleton includes the skull, spinal column, ribs and sternum. The appendicular skeleton includes all upper and lower extremities, the shoulder girdle and the pelvic girdle. Bones in the human body come in four main shapes, long, short, flat and irregular and are composed of webs of collagen fibers reinforced with calcium and phosphorus. The collagen provides flexibility while the minerals provide tensile strength.
Like the steel framework of a building, the function of the skeleton and the bones is to provide rigidity, which gives the body shape and supports the weight of the muscles and organs. Without this structure, the body would collapse in by itself, compressing the lungs, heart and other organs–impairing their functions. The rigid structure of the skeletal system also allows it to perform another one of the 5 functions of the skeletal system: movement.
The forces from skeletal muscle can control the bone’s movements. When your brain tells some parts of the body to move, some muscles will contract to act — muscles shorten and pull bones to act across joints. Muscles work in pairs — when one shortens, a corresponding muscle lengthens. Physical activity maintains or increases the strength of skeletal muscles. Remember, it is the muscles’ pulling forces that create the body’s movement, not others. Only skeletal muscles work with bones and muscles keep bones in place and also play a role in the movement of bones.
When the muscle contracts, one of the structures usually remains stationary, while the other moves. When muscles contract, the force of muscle contraction is applied to bones, resulting in movement of those bones.
Forces in human body
Every second of the day, different forces act on your body. They affect the body structures at rest or during movement. The effects of these forces on the body are called mechanical loads. For example, a compression load occurs when a force pushes or squeezes on an object. Did you know that you are taller at the beginning of the day than you are at the end of the day? During the day, the force of gravity and your body weight create a compression load that squeezes your spine and bones, pushing them closer together and making you shrink. At night, the compression load is lifted when you’re lying down asleep, letting your spine and bones stretch back out.
Other mechanical loads that affect the body include tension, torsion, and shear loads. Tension occurs when a force pulls on an object. Torsion occurs when one end of an object is fixed and the object twists around an axis. Twisting forces on the knee or ankle can cause torsion and lead to injury. Shear forces push one part of the body one way, while simultaneously pushing another part of the body in the opposite direction. A shear force can displace a part of an object. For example, if a shear force hits your shin bone while your ankle is fixed firmly on the ground, one portion of the shin may be displaced, causing the bone to break.
During many activities, the human body experiences several types of forces and loads simultaneously. Combined loads occur when more than one type of load is delivered to an object.
The forces of muscles will move the bones at some special positions for special purposes. The bones can not move by themselves, but the position of the bone is crucial for creating and taking more external force. Of course it is not easy to choose the right positions of the bones even for the static standing, sitting and bending; and more difficult for the dynamic movements — This is why so many researchers study the human body by applying STEM.
Major systems for body movement
To move, the human body goes through a complex series of interactions that involve different body systems. Even the very tiniest movement requires coordination. In order to make our skeletal muscles work, we send messages from the brain via nerve impulses through our central nervous system to particular muscle fibres commanding them to contract (shorten by contracting). The nerve endings fire bursts of energy into the fibres. As a result, they contract and pull on our tendons which work together with muscles to move the bones, thereby allowing the body to move. Communication between the muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems all come into play.
- Skeletal system: The human skeleton is the framework that supports the human body. Without bones, you could not stand, sit, or walk.
- Muscular system: Muscles are connected to bones. When a muscle contracts, it often produces movement around a joint. Sometimes, muscle contraction does not produce movement, but instead supports the body and increases stability.
- Nervous system: Every movement you make is controlled by the nervous system, or brain-body connection. The brain interprets signals from the body and sends messages to the muscles to move. These messages travel through the nerves of the nervous system until they reach their destinations.
While each of these systems is important on its own, by working together they create movement. For example, think about something as simple as walking across a room. When you first decide to walk, your brain determines your body position, evaluates where you are, and sends a message to certain muscles to move. When activated, the muscles contract and move your body across the floor. While some muscles are active, others are preparing for action. Throughout the process, your skeletal system holds it all together, supporting your body so that you can stand and walk — other words, the muscles have to pull the bones at the correct positions and make the bones take more force according to the orders from the brain.
Golf Posture for dynamic force
The quality of your posture determines the motion quality of the body during the swing. Balanced and suitable posture can help the body to unwind rapidly and create huge amounts of centripetal force during the downswing.
During dynamic full-body activities, the muscles around the pelvis, hips and lower back are designed perfectly to help dissipate tremendous movement forces as they pass through the body. However, if the bony structures of this area of the body are out of alignment then all of the structures of the upper body are disrupted while the thoracic spine, shoulders, head and neck must compensate to try to keep the body balanced. To protect the health of the neck and shoulders, this can lead to loss of the pulling force by reducing the turning speed or reducing the radius of the plane circle ( bending left elbow or others).
From setup to finish, you must feel yourselves’ weight on the ground, not stand on your two feet. Of course you can get this feeling only by the bottom of your feet– feel the body weight and the support of the earth. This is firm on the ground and it doesn’t matter how you adjust the body’s position, the body is smart enough to revise the position automatically if always feeling this way in mind.
During the impact zone, there is a huge pulling force at the upper back & spine. This is centripetal force and most force will pull shoulders down. From the view of structure mechanics, the most shear force and moment force will be at the lower back. Therefore, keeping the lower spine straight and making the back strong are crucial for the golf swing; on the other hand, for reducing the shear force and moment force, the upper body should bend less and the legs stand erectly; the result is the hands are near body ( suppose the arms are falling down).
Keep the stable triangle structure of both feet and the head for lifting force. If we think about the body weight shift during the swing, it is better to shift only the lower body and the butt from the right leg to the left leg. Of course the lower spine has to move a little with the hips, but this kind of movement gradually decreased from the lower part to the neck. Actually the head, neck and shoulder level spine act very stable during the swing, even though the upper body rotates around it.
Feel the huge pulling force at the lower spine as the body is erecting up at the knees and the hips during the impact zone.
Body structure for golf swing
If we simplify the body structure for golf swing, it just can be the form of the spine and two legs. Of course, our shoulders and arms are important for golf swing, but their roots are the legs and spine: the legs are the main source of the power to take the pulling force from the upper body’s swing and the spine in the center of the turning circle. Just like a building, we have to set up the firm foundation and the stable construction, because they take all the forces like floor, equipment and people in it.
The most important sector in the golf posture is to keep the head stable from the backswing to earlier follow through. Because the head is the top of the spine and the key point of monitoring the golf ball, it should be stable, especially horizontal direction. On the other hand, the other end part of the spine is the right hip during backswing and the left hip during downswing, the spine position is always changing vertically and horizontally.But this spine position changing is limited.
- Do not destroy the body structure by moving the spine laterally more to the left (because the transition process has made the end-spine moving to the left a bit); just try to slide laterally less than that of the traditional way, the left side feeling some pulling force is enough, no more.
- Keep the body structure by controlling the basic stability at the lower spine for both backswing and downswing. Just try to make the left heel on the ground during backswing, and during downswing let the right leg turn in the opposite direction of the torso. This way not only makes the upper body turn faster, but makes the whole body more balanced at the finish.
- Keep the torso structure as the square board instead of the cylinder. Even though the main structure of the torso is the spine, the two hips and two shoulders are the reasonable shape to connect the legs and arms. For instance the round shoulder is not good for both health and sports.
At the impact zone, it is the left leg to stop the body weight moving forward to target, to push up the left hip a little by straightening a bit knee to match the spine’s erecting up. What is the role of the right leg at the same time? It should be active: pushing the ground to take the pulling force with the left leg together, and then moving back a bit naturally for body balance. This is why we alway see some good golfers’ right foot dragged on the ground many inches (Hogan, Couples) after impact zone; or the right thigh touching left thigh instead of separating up. Of course, the right foot doesn’t have to be dragged inches on the ground, maybe it’s instep or heel just touches the ground a little bit more instead of being lifted up a lot.
Posture fitting: Deadlift detail
Dead lifting is a kind of weight-bearing training. Straight leg hard pull is mainly used to exercise biceps femurs, but also involves gluteal muscles and erector spinae muscles. The deadlift engages primarily the posterior chain, which includes large muscle groups like the hamstrings, glutes, and erector spinae (lower back). The abdominals and quadriceps are also involved in the deadlift, essentially making it into a full body exercise. However, the sad thing is that most lifters aren’t getting full benefits from the deadlift since they fail to properly engage their posterior chain.
Deadlifting is usually considered one of the best sports, but it is especially helpful for golfers because it can improve the strength or function of many parts of the body: legs, spine & torso, buttocks, etc., which are necessary for solid golf swing. Furthermore, deadlifting has the same feeling of the golf impact zone: the pulling force on the back, butts and legs; the arms just relax, hanging on and long enough, no active actions by arms.
Building a good posture
Because of driving, sitting in front of computers and using smartphones, many people tend to crunch their shoulders forward, so our both scapulars are not at the same surface and arms are in front of our bodies — this terrible posture destroys the healthy upper body structure.
Having good posture is more wealthy than good looking. It helps you to develop strength, flexibility, and balance in your body and it is an important part of your long-term health. Improving your posture also helps you become more aware of your muscles, making it easier to correct your own dynamic posture and feel your body posture on moving during the golf swing. Understand the basic concepts of building a good posture:
- Your feet must learn how to give themselves to the ground. Most people stand on their own two feet, not on the ground.
- Your legs have myriad joints built into them allowing you to be not only stable but mobile. Your leg joints — hips, knees, and ankles — must move in synergy in accordance with their differing joint structures.
- Gently pull your scapulars and shoulders up and back, then let them drop — hanging on the ribcage. Now your arms should dangle by your side with some supination. By this natural way, the side weights are taken by the spine vertically and there is no extra pulling force on the upper back: the result will be a flat back and a wide shoulder.
- Squeeze your glute muscles when you stand and walk: in many indigenous cultures, people squeeze their gluteus medius muscles every time they take a step. That’s one reason they have such shapely buttocks muscles that support their lower backs. It’s the key muscle that keeps your body powerful.
- Your sacrum also serves as the keystone that transfers the weight of your upper body through your legs and feet into the ground, while taking its rightful place in the center of the arch structure of the pelvic. This arching structure is dynamic and powerful. The key action for standing well is to feel and adjust this arching structure to take and transfer forces by your own movements. If you can feel and adjust the sacrum well, the lower spine will be in the right place, that means neither anterior and posterior.
- By perfect J spine style concept, the upper spine should be felled straight— the key action here is to understand that upper spine hold up the ribcage, so you have to control the upper spine this way if you want to make the sternum up; while controlling upper spine holding up the ribcage and making the sternum up, let the scapulars pasted on the back of the ribcage to form a firm structure with front shoulder; then arms hanging on the shoulder structure.
- Adjust the neck and head position: your eyes are just above the top of your spine. From there they must learn to see the horizon. Thinking and feeling this way, the neck should be on the natural curve, the ear will be at the right place and angle, and the head weight will be light.
The improved posture you adopt in each activity like golf will lessen the wear and tear you put on your spine, which minimizes the risk of developing back pain from sports.
Good posture is a vital component of lifting objects without injury. If you fail to use good posture when you lift something or swing the club to hit the ball, there is a much greater chance that you will wind up hurting your back.
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of “STEM Golf Methodology”
This will be a challenging read for some people, however its worth going over a few times to get the concepts clear in your mind. Seems like a valid and refreshing way of looking at the swing from a truly scientific approach. Hats off to the author for trying to dispel the smoke and mirrors that has diluted the golf industry forever. There have been thousands of golf fixes and teaching methods over the years that have amounted to nothing more than a lucrative business plan. This book breaks away from this trend.
By William B. Justice