The Female Golf Athelete, Vol. 2
THE POWER EQUATION
When one thinks of training a golfer one of the first things that enters the mind is “How do we create more power?” In pure physics terms, POWER = FORCE x VELOCITY (P= F x V). To the golfer, club head speed (V) equals distance. So why does Stacy Lewis, LPGA tour player ranked 42nd in driving distance, hit the ball 20 yards beyond the average 30 year old male amateur golfer in spite of both possessing an 94mph average swing speed (Golf Digest, May 2015, Pg 102)? The answer may lie in the concept of STABILITY. So what is stability? According to the Titleist Performance Institute, stability is the ability of any system to remain unchanged or aligned in the presence of change or outside forces. Stability is created by combining balance, strength and muscular endurance.
Why is stability critical to the female golf athlete? Females are inclined to be more mobile or flexible than their male counterparts. In the world of golf this can translate to a greater turn at the top of the backswing, often associated with driving distance. The real key comes in controlling that mobility. This is where stability comes in. Being stable does not mean being stiff. In fact it is quite the opposite. Stability in the right areas will actually enhance your desired mobility by providing a sound base for movement to occur allowing the golfer to produce force more efficiently. On the other hand, instability will have a negative effect on one’s force producing efficiency. While the combination of mobility and stability is devastatingly effective, the effects of mobility and instability can be simply devastating. This is the challenge most female golf athletes face. So what do the LPGA tour players do to insure devastating effectiveness? They train baby! They get strong…they get stable!
WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS…BUT ARE THEY STABLE?
There is a saying in the movement science world that “Anatomy drives function.” This is a critical concept when training a female athlete. One of the most notable anatomic differences between females and males is the width of the pelvis-hips (wider in females). This width results in a greater angulation from the pelvis-hip joint to the knee joint (Q-angle) and results in a greater demand on the corresponding muscles (gluteals). If the gluteals are inadequate in strength and/or muscular endurance, often times the synergists (muscles that work as a team, in this case the abdominals), will be compromised as well. This will result in a loss of stability at the pelvis and low back and an overall loss of the critical element, POWER. With this in mind the female golf athlete must focus on developing adequate strength of the gluteals, abdominals, low back and diaphragm muscles to create effective stability. It is this stability that enables the desired mobility at the hips and thoracic spine (mid-back).
Stability is the foundation for force production and it is what the elite female golf athlete has learned and mastered. Stability begins from the ground up. While the amateur male golfer may be objectively stronger on isolated muscle tests than the LPGA tour player, the combined forces of balance, strength and muscular endurance, stability, likely favors the highly trained and conditioned ladies. This would be an example of functional strength. If we take the power equation and substitute stability for force the equation then becomes P = S x V. It is in this scenario that the more stable LPGA tour player with the same club head velocity as a 30 year old amateur male is able to drive the ball 20 yards farther.
So if greater distance off the tee and from the fairway is what you seek, then power is what you need. To create power one must first seek stability. The experts at FORE FITNESS will create a custom program for you allowing you to maximize your stability and power turning the men you play with into boys! FORE FITNESS…Where Golfers Train!
- Written by Ken Mengel