What do MMA fighters and Golfers have in common?

These two types of athletes share a unique ability allowing them to generate force far beyond the typical rate of force production that is involved with other explosive movement patterns.  The average club speed of professional golfers reaches well over 120 mph.  Tests conducted of Karate and Muay Thai kicks show speeds of 130 mph.  Both athletes are generating speeds by utilizing very similar mechanics.

 

If you have ever popped a towel or snapped a rubber band, you have used the same type of energy system that is required to generate the bone crushing speed that travels at the end of a driver or a fighter’s foot.  The ability to generate this momentum originates from, you guessed it, your core.  As simple as it sounds, it’s not the same type of core utilization you build with a plank, and it’s a little more complicated than a simple rotation.  These athletes separate and segment their movements in a fluid and perfectly timed action.  This sequencing was defined by research as the Kinematic Sequence.  Simply put, it’s an order of events.  If you watch a golf swing or kick in slow motion, you notice the foot or the club head is the last thing to travel into the target.  By starting the rotation through the hips, and allowing the foot or club to travel through the target after the hips, we create elastic energy. This is the same thing that happens when a wet towel loads up to smack your now, very angry friend.

As interesting as all this sounds, how does it apply to you and your fitness?

Rotational movement patterns recruit a large number of muscles and challenge the metabolic systems to increase efficiency in your routine, resulting in powerful gains. Not to mention, it gives you a pretty solid golf swing.  Add 2-3 rotational movements to your routine twice per week to benefit from the increased muscle recruitment and energy demands.

Exercise 1: Medicine ball rotational throw.  Stand perpendicular to wall and rotate towards the wall to throw the ball.  Try to release the ball slightly after your rotation to separate the body movement.

Exercise 2: Jump rotations.  Hold a weight plate close to your chest and hop while rotating from only the waist down.  Your shoulders and weight plate should remain in place.

Exercise 3: Sledge hammer tire smash.  Start the swing from a slightly sideways stance and finish almost in a squat position.  The sledge hammer should be the last thing to come around and land with the speed generated during the rotation and pull-over.