Golf provides a never-ending challenge to shoot lower scores, be more consistent, and hit the ball farther. However, as golfers devote more time playing and practicing to achieve these goals, they may discover that their most limiting factor is their body. Lack of flexibility, balance, strength, and power can prevent the execution of the desired swing. Even more troubling is when a specific tissue’s tolerance for repeated stress is exceeded, and the golfer develops an injury.
At Gray Institute®, we believe that every golfer should be able to perform at their best. In this article, we outline how movement professionals can improve golf elbow exercises using Applied Functional Science and our Functional Golf System.
What Is Golfer’s Elbow and Why Is It Hard to Treat?
“Golfer’s elbow,” or medial epicondylitis, is a condition in which repeated stress and strain cause inflammation and pain in the elbow and lower arm. The area where the muscles attach to the bone on the inside aspect of the elbow is strained, and tissue damage occurs. Like “tennis elbow” on the outer side of the arm, pain occurs not only when hitting the ball, but also with everyday activities that require grasping and lifting.
Conventional treatments include ice, rest, painkillers, and even cortisone injections. Traditional rehabilitation and strengthening focus on the muscles of the forearm. However, many golfers don’t respond well to these cookie-cutter, symptom-focused strategies. At Gray Institute, we know that treating the cause of the injury requires a more global approach to the entire body’s Chain Reactions®.
Applied Functional Science Takes a Holistic Approach to Human Movement
At Gray Institute, we teach Applied Functional Science practitioners that the body is an integrated system, with each body part and every muscle contributing to the performance of the movement. Instead of thinking that the injured tissue is “deficient,” movement specialists learn that the tissue often becomes painful as a result of being overworked because other parts of the body are not working effectively.
Over more than 40 years, we’ve created revolutionary tools that empower movement professionals and help them properly evaluate their clients and patients. For example, our Three-Dimensional Movement Analysis and Performance System (3DMAPS®) specialization teaches our colleagues in the movement industry how to assess our body’s complex Chain Reactions and build effective workouts that focus on your patient or client’s unique needs and biomechanics.
The Gray Institute Functional Golf System has 3DMAPS as its foundation. It leverages golf-specific movements to assess a golfer’s ability to “make the swing” and can help you determine how well the parts of the body are working together based on the biomechanics of the golf swing.
The Applied Functional Science Approach to Golfer’s Elbow
At Gray Institute, we know that injured elbow muscles are a symptom, and that we need to assess the body’s Chain Reactions to identify the cause of the problem. Our Functional Golf specialists look for the most likely causes in other parts of the body. Then, using the Functional Golf System’s assessment movements, they identify impairments in these “probable suspects.” The most likely problems with clients with golfer’s elbow will be either hip or the thoracic spine.
Once the causes are identified, the Functional Golf System teaches you golf-specific movements that can improve the mobility of these regions. Then, you can incrementally tweak your training programs to restore balance and strength. Your client or patient’s movements will become more dynamic, increasing the power contributions of these once-deficient joints. And as your client or patient integrates these new body resources into their swing, they will reduce the stress on the elbow region.
This reduced tissue stress occurs even with faster swings because the bigger muscles of the hip and spine are contributing more into the movement system. By treating the body as an integrated system, tissue symptoms resolve, golf performance improves, and enjoyment of the game increases exponentially.
Ready to Learn More? Enroll in Our Functional Golf System
If you’re working with golfers, or want to gain more golf clientele, Gray Institute’s Functional Golf specialization will give you the tools to help them reach their goals. The course is designed to empower movement professionals like you with the skills you need to train golfers effectively — even if you’ve never played a full round in your life.
If you’re ready to get started, now is the time to enroll in an online or in-person course. Or, reach out to us to learn about the course, Gray Institute, or how we can help you achieve your professional goals.
We look forward to hearing from you!