Mar 23 / admin

Adding Speed to Core Stability

Jason Glass Performance Lab: Episode 2

Develop Core Stability, Then add Speed

Jason Glass is back and in full effect.  This episode from TPI features another perfectly demonstrated placement of the labcoat on the hanger along with some solid training suggestions for progressing through core stabilization with movement added, first slow and under control and then explosive (and still under control).

Throughout the episode my boy Jason (@JasonGlassLab on Twitter) correctly points out that adding speed is not what you want to be doing when you haven’t mastered the basic techniques involved in creating stability.  If the movement is sloppy then there isn’t going to be a training benefit.

Jason starts off by explaining that when speed is added to core stabilization, one segment is stabilized while the other is moving.  In his example of a plank with leg drive added, he made it clear that good alignment is not to be sacrificed just to be able to perform the movement with more speed.  He states:

“The emphasis is to keep the core stable.  You can see my legs were driving, but my core didn’t break.  You don’t want the lumbar to lose form”. 

Here Jason is using language aimed toward the typical viewer who is not trained in functional anatomy, so it makes sense to keep the explanation simple.  The more technical message that I believe he is giving is to maintain a “neutral spine”, meaning that the pelvic tilt should not be changing during the leg drive, there should be lumbar stability on display if you are going to train for speed.  Otherwise if you are someone in my situation with very poor core stability (right now) you will likely compensate by generating unwanted movement in the low back, which leads to injury or at minimum you can expect low back pain.

Upper Body

He then demonstrates an example for the upper body, performing a one armed row using bands. I like that he talks about maintaining scapular stability because this is absolutely critical for golfers. If there’s anything I notice when I observe tour pros and their posture, it’s the fact that their shoulder blades are always nice and flat against their rib cage and this is also a function of good mobility in the upper spine (thoracic mobility). The shoulders get a lot of the attention when it comes to upper body training for golf, but there must be a stable base for the shoulder joints to rest in, which means that it’s critical to first develop upper spine extension and rotation, then be able to have a stable shoulder blade that can sit on the ribcage, and only then should shoulder internal and external rotation become a focus. If the rotater cuff is worked on without these underlying issues of t-spine and scap being addressed, you’re likely heading toward shoulder injury just from the training itself. There will be future posts concerning how to test for thoracic mobility and scapular stability, these are two of the most critical physical qualities need to play good golf, whether the player is aware of them or not.

Anatomy of the Spine

Thoracic mobility is key

The language of exercise and movement

Some of you reading this blog are trainers and therapists, while others are golf pros or players who have not been exposed to the language of functional anatomy and biomechanics. My aim is to convey the information that’s being put out by great minds in golf fitness in a way that is both easy to understand but never dumbed down. If technical terms are used that would confuse someone who doesn’t have a background in exercise science, the definition will be included or if not a link will be added to a glossary page at a later time. Explanations will be as simple as possible, but not more.

  • Allan (Golf Geek)

    Thoracic mobility is undoubtedly essential; I was horrified to discover my thoracic spine was totally immobile when I caught up with a physio last year. It turns out playing prop-forward and then being a couch potato for the best part of a decade isn’t a recipe for flexibility…who’d have thought it!nnThis is a fascinating area and one I’ll be following with interest; I got more benefit from one u00a330 visit to a physio than I would have from u00a3300 (or probably even u00a33000) of traditional swing lessons. I lacked the “movement vocabulary” to do that – my body had no idea how to move in the correct fashion.nnA final word to those perplexed by the language of functional anatomy – don’t feel bad if you don’t get it. I’ve pretty extensive training in anatomy and physiology and it’s all Greek to me ;-). This is highly specialised stuff, which is what makes this site so valuable – it takes highly technical concepts and breaks them down for the rest of us.