How do you engage the lower body on the downswing?

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razaar

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How can the spine be an engine? When it moves like a reptile. Look at a high jumper as they arch their back to get the top of their spine over the bar then use their spine and pelvic muscles to flip their lower body/legs over the bar.
Musical chairs is another where the pelvis and spine does the work to move the body across in the spirit of the game. Marching is another - try marching without using the pelvic spine myofascia. Hulla-hoop is another. Shot putt, hammer throw, javilin.
The real issue here is that most people have little body awareness and have no conception of what goes on during movement. When faced with a discipline such as golf they really struggle to understand the concept of body parts bracing against each other and pulling away from each other, contorting the spine so that it rotates by itself while using the ground as resistance.
I give thanks to Kelvin Miyahira's articles for helping me understand the spine engine concept. Abe Mitchell made an attempt to articulate his golf swing movements in the 1930's which was a pretty fair effort.
In the end we either get it or we don't.
 

razaar

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@TrueMotionMatt great post, mate. When I was coming to grips with understanding this stuff, I did if from a right hand swing and from a left hand swing. What struck me was the symmetry of how the opposite side of the body move. I went this way to balance my body so that both sides of the spine are equal in strength and flexibility. It also gave me two bites of the cherry on how it all works.
 

WILDTHING

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I certainly doubt the theory of the 'Kinetic Chain ' that energy is being transferred segmentally from the ground to the club (see definition below). That particular theory doesn't tally with the graphs that Nesbit produced in his research (also below). I'm more inclined to believe that its the pelvic girdle rotary muscles that are 'fired' first in the early downswing (P4-P5) for golfers who use a pure rotary type swing (centre post) or a 'rear pivot to front pivot' type swing.

Where we disagree (for the moment) is the biomechanics for the rotation of the pelvis in the early downswing from P4-P5 . You think that its based on the 'Spinal Engine Theory' whereas I am inclined to believe Dr Jeff Mann's theory (pelvic girdle rotary muscles) which I've explained in earlier posts.

There is also an article below:
"Lumbar spine coupled motions: A literature review with clinical implications"

coupled Motions.qxd (shelbournephysio.ca)

It says the following:

"The research reviewed in this article shows that no consensus exists on the direction and magnitude of segmental coupled motions associated with all three cardinal plane motions in the lumbar spine. In addition, the research available is inconclusive regarding the effects of sagittal plane posture and clinically relevant pathology on motion coupling behavior "

Note the results of the different research conducted on coupling motions

"The studies show either no effect or a contralateral rotation effect secondary to lateral bend. Also, note that the contralateral (opposite) effect is seen irrespective of whether the lumbar spine is neutral, or in flexion or extension (lordosis)."

1621641701313.png


I suspect we will just have to agree to disagree until more definitive research is done and evidence produced.


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Kinetic Chain
In the golf swing, the kinetic chain is the different parts of your body acting as a system of chain links to transfer energy from the ground through to the golf club.
The energy or force generated by one part of your body (or link) is transferred efficiently to the next link through optimal coordination of their movements, what we think of as timing. Thus energy moves up the chain, from one body segment to the next, each movement building on the previous segment’s motion and energy.
This efficiency of this energy transfer, summation and amplification is what determines club head speed. The kinetic chain connects adjacent joints and muscles throughout your body, and also includes the golf club.

--------------------------------

1621639379111.png

This bar chart shows the total work done (energy exerted) at each joint in the study. The first and most obvious lesson here is that the lion's share of the work is done by the body: the hips, lumbar, and thoracic joints. Next after that is the right elbow, so we know that golfers are exerting effort to extend the right elbow. The left ankle and left knee contribute nothing to clubhead speed (the kinetic energy that is the goal of all this work). In fact, they are energy sinks (they absorb energy), but only very slightly so
 
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GolfLivesMatter

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For me, my right pocket feels like it's passing the ball at or just before impact....or my hips are moving laterally for quite some time despite being a quick and fluid movement.
 

razaar

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@WILDTHING there is one glaring omission from your post that is the key to the spine engine theory. That key element is the upper spine needs to be in extension to trigger the pelvic myofascia into transition from backswing to downswing. If this element is missing the spine engine dynamics can't work because there is slack in the spinal coil. Abe Mitchell wrote in the 1930's about lapses of poor driving was mostly caused by not completing the coil of the spine during the latter stage of the backswing, which cut the body out of the swing. When done properly the spine view from behind the player looks like a reverse C. The feeling is a left spinal tilt towards the target of the shoulder girdle with the left shoulder twisted towards the ball and the upper back facing the target.
 

WILDTHING

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We call it Superman at the Top (with a touch of lower lordosis, then add more in transition)
So you are saying that the upper thoracic section of the spine needs to be in extension to allow the facets of the lumbar spine to be engaged . Without that engagement the Spine Engine theory for causing pelvic rotation won't work ?

But this is what I've read regarding the lumbar joints:

"The interfacet joints are fully engaged when the spine is in its natural state of lumbar lordosis. These joints can only become significantly disengaged/disconnected if the lumbar spine is driven into a state of marked hyperflexion, and that biomechanical phenomenon never happens in a professional golfer during his backswing-downswing action. "

Basically the above is saying that there is no need for thoracic extension to help the lumbar facet joints engage because they are already engaged. Also , I cannot recollect anything about the extension of the thoracic spine to help engage the lumbar joints (see Gracovetsky's image below which just shows the lumbar vertebrae)

1621730400504.png

If you look at Kelvin's you tube below , the lumbar facet joints are already engaged in their normal state and there was no reason to extend the spine even more. They only disengaged when he hyperflexes the spine from 01:19 - 01:29. I've never seen a golfer hyper flex that much in the lumbar area to cause disengagement of the facet joints.



Here he is hyperflexing the lumbar spine to disengage the facet joints that were already engaged in their normal state.


1621731690682.png
 

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Agreed, it is so hard to do. If we can only automate it.
That is what I have been working on. The best way I have found to "automate" it is to fully load on the backswing.
There is a place at the top of the back swing that makes if feel like there is only one place for the hips to go...and that is back to setup position and just complete turn for that start.

I'm afraid that this is exactly what Hogan said/meant about loading the body against the braced leg and JMcClain talks about in the X factor so it'll probably turn a lot of people off.
 

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If this element is missing the spine engine dynamics can't work because there is slack in the spinal coil.
Yes. For a full swing. I think it is worth considering the role of 'slack' for both the full and shorter swings. A lack of slack can simplify the sequencing of links on the downswing.
And I think it is worth considering the differences between kinematic chains and kinetic chains. With that is an assumption that their conceptual use can actually help with instruction.
To me, thinking about the sequencing of segments/links is useful in that one can work backwards to what is the key driver of the motion (Spine rotation, whether throwing or swinging things, drives velocity, location, and consistency of where the 'ends' end up).
 

mig

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and JMcClain talks about in the X factor so it'll probably turn a lot of people off.
I think X factor is okay, as long as one understands its role. Yeah, it's needless jargon. But if one understands what is trying to be communicated, then call it what the majority of folks understand it to be.
Why the X factor can lead to higher velocity in professional baseball pitchers or hitters or golfers isn't usually addressed. To me, it's about how well proximal movements get translated to distal movements. You don't need a high X factor to generate velocity if you can connect the proximal to distal movements well which then leads to optimal momentum transfer through the segments/links (In general, starting with pelvis angular acceleration and the timing of when pelvis rotation slows down).
 

rocullen

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I think X factor is okay, as long as one understands its role. Yeah, it's needless jargon. But if one understands what is trying to be communicated, then call it what the majority of folks understand it to be.
Why the X factor can lead to higher velocity in professional baseball pitchers or hitters or golfers isn't usually addressed. To me, it's about how well proximal movements get translated to distal movements. You don't need a high X factor to generate velocity if you can connect the proximal to distal movements well which then leads to optimal momentum transfer through the segments/links (In general, starting with pelvis angular acceleration and the timing of when pelvis rotation slows down).
may not "need" a high X factor, but I have found it is the easiest way(most repetitive) way to get the speed automatically, even then for maximum speed some voluntary inducement is required and is much easier to accomplish with the completed windup.
btw...X factor was just another way to sell a book IMO.
 

Phil75070

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I've always had a problem getting my weight onto my right/rear side, maybe too conscious of not wanting to "sway". What I have started doing lately as a result of not shifting my weight enough, is to almost feel like I "rock" my upper body such that my weight is now on my back leg, careful not to roll over to the outside of that foot. It is not so much turning my lead shoulder behind the ball but feeling more of a lateral movement and the turning of my shoulders seems to take care of itself. Having the weight back there encourages me to then "shift" it to the front leg. As a result I am hitting fewer fat shots, get increased swing speed and more distance. The old drill of putting a ball under the outside of one's trail foot to keep the weight on the instep has always given me a false sense of what a weight shift should feel like. As someone else said, what we feel and sense we do during the golf swing differs from player to player and may have no correlation to what we are actually physically doing! :)

Years ago I had a lesson and the pro recognized that issue and even suggested if I have a problem shifting my weight onto my back leg, start with it there. Over time, so many good tips and swing thought tend to be forgotten and fall by the wayside. :(
 

mig

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may not "need" a high X factor, but I have found it is the easiest way(most repetitive) way to get the speed automatically, even then for maximum speed some voluntary inducement is required and is much easier to accomplish with the completed windup.
btw...X factor was just another way to sell a book IMO.
Agree on both. Taking out the slack makes it easier to sequence (assuming the pelvis is rotated properly/effectively).

(Rant on) My old lab had a tenant- “Thou shall not create jargon”. It obfuscates any fundamental or insight. Too many use jargon for their name/career or for books rather than helping with understanding. (Rant off)
 

mig

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There are an equal number who "simplify" but don't understand or explain properly.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

Adjusted to each individual.
 

rocullen

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“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

Adjusted to each individual.
after I had an exceptionally good season a couple years back, I stumbled upon a conversation about "what makes a good golf swing".
I said to swing fast as possible without excessive movements. Everybody looked at me funny.
I had to explain; take out the slack and don't add more movement than needed.
 
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Hamfist

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This my be out of left field, but I try to load up on my back leg and then at the top of my back swing I start to shift my weight forward as I would if I were stepping into a fastball driving my hips through and around as I make contact. It seems to work for me.
If it's good for you, it's good! What's the old chestnut? "There's no one perfect swing, but there's one perfect swing for everyone." (or something to that effect.)
 

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