Sports Training & Conditioning Zone!

Golf: Improving Performance with the “X” Factor

by Mary C. Repking, PT, CSCS

Optimizing the "X" Factor has been shown to increase club head velocity, increase ball velocity, increase driving distance, and reduce low back pain and elbow pain in golfers.

The "X" Factor defined: the unrestricted rotation at the upper trunk on a more stable pelvis, allows for a greater coiling during the backswing and therefore creating greater generation of power during the acceleration portion of the downswing, as the uncoiling occurs.

Golf mechanics can be negatively affected by a diminished "X" Factor. Contributing factors to a less than optimum "X" Factor includes reduced tri-planar flexibility of the hamstrings, hip rotators, adductors, and/or iliopsoas muscles, weak core muscles, or lack of mobility at one or more segments – especially important is the rotation mobility of the mid spine. When all of these factors are at their best, the golf swing becomes a fluid motion with all of the joints working in synchrony with one another, with ground reaction forces and with the club in all three planes of motion.

TRI-STRETCH has the unique ability to train the "X" Factor for golf performance. Its bio-mechanical design allows for three planes of motion stretching and strengthening exercises with emphasis on the rotational and the side to side motion which is exactly what the golf swing is: a large rotational motion while shifting weight from right to left

Just one of the many exercises that can be performed on TRI-STRETCH to improve golf performance: utilizing the TRI-STRETCH under the back leg foot. (toe touch on opposite foot) You utilize the TRI-STRETCH device to drive your back leg foot into a more loaded position by keeping pressure on the inside of the heel (or everting the device). A common mistake by many golfers during the backswing is allowing the momentum of the arms driving back to also tip the back leg foot outward diminishing the separation between the hips and the mid back. Therefore reducing the amount of coiling and reducing the X factor.

By using the TRI-STRETCH to assist in driving the heel inward and thereby stabilizing the pelvis while dynamically rotating the trunk, the golfer can train the correct mechanics of the backswing to maximize coiling--- to maximize the X Factor. The greater the coiling , the greater the uncoiling. The greater the load..the greater the explode.  The greater the separation between the upper trunk rotation and the pelvis..the greater the club head speed, the greater the ball velocity and the greater the driving distance.



References

Chu Y, Sell TC, Lephart SM.The relationship between biomechanical variables and driving performance during the golf swing. J Sports Sci. 2010 Sep;28(11):1251-9.

Lephart et al.  An 8 week golf swing specific exercise program improves physical characteristics, swing mechanics, and golf performance in recreational golfers. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2007 21(3) 860-869

Bulbulian et al. The short golf backswing: Effects on performance and spinal health implications. J Manipulative Physiol. Ther. 24:569-575. 2001.

Lindsay, d and J Horton. Comparison of spine motion in elite goflers with and without low back pain. J Sports Sci 20:599-605 2002

Grimshaw et al. Lower back and elbow injuries in golf. Sports Med 32:655-666 2002

Lindsey, D and Horton. J Comparison of spine motion in elite golfers with and without low back pain. J Sports Sci 20:599-605, 2002.

Tsai et all. Swing mechanics , spinal loads, and physical characteristics of trunk and hip in golfers with and without low back pain. Presented at : 200 American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, July 14-17, 2005. Keystone. CO.

Grimshaw et al. Lower back and elbow injuries in golf. Sports Med 32:655-666 2002.