The Anatomy of a Golfer
To begin explaining the anatomy of a golfer it is important to understand why anatomy is so important. Anatomy is the study of the structure and function of the body. If your structure is faulty, your golf game will not be 100%. The study of anatomy can be very complex and takes many hours of study to learn. Therefore we will keep this very simple and restrict this anatomy discussion to the musculoskeletal system, especially the feet, hips, spine, and other supporting structures. Once you learn about the anatomy, we are confident, you will be able to understand how Get Fit to Golf can not only help improve your golf game, but also prevent injuries.
Study of Anatomy
We will begin with the foundation that supports your entire body...your skeleton.
The hips and pelvis provide a foundation for the spine to sit upon. The spine is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae stacked upon each other which interact with the legs and arms to allow for proper movement. The sacrum (see left diagram below) acts as the foundation for your centre of balance. Your spine consists of lumbar, thoracic, cervical spine (see middle diagram below). For correct posture you need a spine angel of lumbar 40 degrees, thoracic 35 degrees and sacral 45 degrees. If these change, our total centre of balance is altered. Our spine is under pressure and our centre of gravity changes. Our spine will try to return to its centre of balance, compensations will occur, and a spine curve developed, e.g..Scoliosis (see right diagram below) and lordosis. Our biomechanics can be permanently altered.
Above is a diagram of a skeleton labeling some of the major bones. The spine is the central area between the pelvis and the base of the skull.
Sacrum- side view
The next feature of anatomy to discuss is the feet.
Your feet are the foundations which supports your entire body. The foot is made up of 28 bones, 58 joints, over 107 ligaments and 19 intrinsic muscles and 13 extrinsic muscles. All of these bones and muscles make up 3 arches within the feet. Often these arches can "collapse" or "flatten" and thus create muscle imbalances which can carry all the way up the feet to the legs to the hips and spine. If this complex foot structure is off even a few millimeters, it will be magnified to centimeters of imbalance at the pelvis and head! Imagine if a few millimeters can make that big of a change in the metre between your feet and pelvis, imagine the imbalance they make when you are driving at a 450 metre par 5.
To help you appreciate how a small amount of imbalance is magnified the further away from its supporting structure, take a metal rod and tip it 2 cm, and see the difference it makes on the other end of the one metre rod.
Golfers are more prone to developing feet conditions due to the increased stresses placed on the foot when swinging the club. The foot imbalance will create a "twisting" effect on the shin and leg bones, which will not allow the pelvis to stabilized, and thus the rest of the spine, arms, shoulders and head.
So simply place an orthotic (arch support) into the shoe and support your "collapsed" arch and you fix the problem and your golf game, right? Wrong, the twisting on the leg bones will also create muscle imbalances all the way up the legs, hips, buttocks, spine and shoulders. Only a proper Get Fit to Golf ® assessment will help to determine the muscle imbalances you have and thus give you a program to correct them.
Structural integrity is so crucial in producing a solid golf swing and controls every part of your game. It provides the power needed to drive the ball and maintain control and consistency. If these vital structures are misaligned, your spine angle will change. When the pelvis and hips are imbalanced, you will develop many muscle imbalances throughout your back, neck, and shoulders. These biomechanical faults will lead to a poor swing.
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