If I only have time to do one golf-specific warm-up exercise, this is the one I choose.
The cross-crawl exercise is an excellent exercise to activate both sides of the brain because you are doing movement in two different directions challenging your balance and coordination. This exercise links the right and left hemispheres of the brain, allowing for electrical impulses and information to pass freely between the two.
Why is this important for golf? Because the golf swing requires both sides of the brain to be working in conjunction to create a fluid motion. If the right and left sides of the brain don’t communicate effectively, the swing with be out of rhythm and synchronization.
According to Back to Health, humans are contralateral beings in reference to their neurological organization. The automatic sequencing of upright muscle movement (walking and running) is meant to be always coordinated the same way. That is the right arm goes forward, the left leg will do the same and when the left arm goes forward, the right leg will do the same. This is what is meant by a contralateral (cross pattern) neurological organization.
Contralateral or ‘cross pattern’ is learned. We learn this as we crawl on the floor as babies. We further develop these patterns, to ingrain them into our nervous system, by walking, running and doing more complex exercises.
But just because we learn these patterns as children, doesn’t necessarily mean that the movement stays in our nervous system for the rest of our lives. In fact, if you don’t do these complex movement patterns or stimulate your nervous system, on a regular basis, you lose the motion. That is why athletes practice their sport so much. They are rehearsing the movement so that the body doesn’t forget. That is why professional golfers spend so much time practicing their swing to ensure that their nerves are functioning properly when it is time to perform.
One way to active your nervous system so that you are able to perform at your peak is to do cross-crawl exercises. This exercise will not only warm up your muscles but active both sides of your brain to perform at your best.
- Stand in a shoulder width stance holding a golf club parallel to the ground.
- Bring one knee up to your opposite elbow rotating at the waist.
- Return to the start position and then bring the other knee up to the opposite elbow.
- Return to the start position.
- Keep your chest up as you bring your knees up to the elbow. Don’t bend over to touch your knees.
- The larger the range of motion and the faster you move, the more stimulus your brain receives and the quicker the brain and body can synchronize.
- Alternate bringing one knee up to the opposite elbow for 8 to 10 repetitions.
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