October 24, 2011

Female Factors For Golfers

Each golf athlete brings their own unique qualities to the table, and it’s my job to enhance those qualities that tend to limit their performance.

While there are no clear-cut absolutes when it comes to the differences between training guys and gals, there are some pretty strong trends that require some special attention when working with female golfers.

Flexibility Factor

Women should not perform as much stretching as men. Women just tend to be more flexible. Now, of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but when you look at the numbers over a large group of golfers that just tends to be the case.

Now let me make a quick clarification point here. The type of flexibility I’m talking about here is passive flexibility. This is the kind you demonstrate when you plop down on the floor and do a hamstring stretch, do the splits, or what a contortionist does at the circus.

While this type of flexibility may have value in injury protection, it is not a performance limiter.

What this means to female golfers is that from a performance perspective, spending a lot of time training flexibility with standard stretching exercises is quite often a waste of valuable time.

Not everyone needs to stretch!

They do, however, need to spend sufficient time working on dynamic flexibility exercises that include elements of strength and speed of muscle contraction. A joint won’t allow motion where it thinks it is not safe to go. In other words, if a joint is not strong throughout it’s full range of motion, even if full range of motion exists, it will not demonstrate that range of motion during a dynamic high-speed movement like a golf swing.

This then leads us to the next factor.

The Strength Factor

Based on the information above, while flexibility for female golfers is important, strength is essential!

Emphasis must be placed on strength of the posterior chain muscles (lower back, glutei, and hamstrings), the abdominal muscles, and the shoulder girdle.

Females tend to be quadriceps dominant in most activities requiring lower body force production. When is comes to golf, your power will come from the muscles you don’t see in the mirror, not so much the front of your thighs.

Be certain to include exercises that tie together the posterior chain like deadlift variations, good mornings, rowing variations, and total body rotational PNF patterns like medicine ball wood chops.

Don’t forget about the speed factor. Female golfers must also be able to move through a full range of motion at high speeds. Medicine ball throw variations, multi-directional lunges, and even your swing practice do exceptionally well in developing this quality.

Take advantage of your strengths, focus on improving weaker physical qualities, and take your golf game to the next level.

Reprinted with permission by Bill Hartman.



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