Knees and the golf swing
WOW! What a week in golf! I, like you, was glued to the television all week and held my breath during most of the playoff!
Congratulations to two great players and especially Tiger for his determination. When I watch a performance like this week I am motivated to do my best in my personal and professional life. I hope you were inspired as well.
Obviously one of the big discussions this week was the status of Tigers knee, from the level of his pain to his immediate future plans. I know Tigers trainer and he is one of the best trainers in the world. Trust me, he is in good hands!
It is important to understand the general role of the left knee in the golf swing. Assuming you are a right handed golfer, the left knee (as well as the entire left side) provides the foundation to which the golfer drives all his power from the right to left side. When you generate as much power as Tiger the knee takes a tremendous amount of stress.
I have worked with thousands of golfers and when they are faced with knee issues we evaluate three, perhaps surprising assessments.
1. Evaluate the foot function ' stability and mobility of the feet, status of the arches and mobility in the Achilles.
2. Evaluate the function of the hips ' mobility in the hip flexors, psoas and piraformis as well as strength in the gluts.
3. Evaluate the strength of the quads and flexibility in the hamstrings.
Many trainers who work with knee injuries focus solely on the strength in the quads. Although strong quads are important for stability in the knee there are many aspects of the body that effect knee stability.
Note: I have worked with many golfers, preparing them for a total knee replacement. Due to the severity of their knee function we work solely on the mobility of their hips, pre-surgery. On average our outcome is better than those patients who do not work on their hips before surgery.
Proper function of both the hips and feet have a direct correlation to stability of the knees!
If you are looking for more exercises on this topic practice the progressive balance section in my DVD More Power and Distance @ www.KRTotalFitness.com
Lets get started with a few exercises for the feet and hips, ultimately helping stability in the knees.
Standing foot strengthener:
Stand with the feet hip width apart and hold onto the back of a char for support. Inhale deeply and on your exhalation lift as high as possible onto the balls of the feet. Hold for one deep breath and repeat ten to fifteen times.
Arch awareness exercise:
Stand with the feet hip width apart and focus your attention on the base of your big toes, baby toes and center of your heels. Feel as though you are pressing down at these three corners of your feet while you lift up in the arches. If you are performing this exercise correctly you will feel the action not only in the feet but in the inner thighs. Hold for five breaths, rest for thirty seconds and repeat three times.
Foot / Achilles stretch and strengthener:
Step the left foot back, right knee in a lunge position. Use a club for balance. Inhale as you lift your left heel as high as possible, exhale and press your left heel towards the floor. Repeat five times and switch sides.
Supine glut stretch on the ball:
Begin on your back and place the right foot on the outside of the left leg, left foot placed on the balance ball. On your exhale roll the ball towards you, feeling the stretch in the outside of the right hip, specifically the glut. Repeat five to ten times and switch sides.
Place your spine directly against the wall, bringing the soles of the feet together and as close to the groin as possible. Note: you should not feel any strain in your knees.
Hold for three minutes, allowing gravity to loosen the hips.
See you on The Turn!
Please send me an e-mail with your thoughts at Katherine@YogaForGolfers.com