Power Plate & Golf
By: Laura Wilson
Golfing continues to be a booming industry. In fact, according to figures compiled by Golf Datatech, the numbers of rounds played nationally in the US in August were up 20.6% from the same month last year. With our new normal of physical distancing, golf provides a way to engage in sport and physical activity while still allowing for safety precautions and, unlike some other sports, golf also allows for a wide age range of players to participate. These two things combined has the sport of golf more popular than ever.
So how does Power Plate tie into this narrative? I went straight to golfing and Power Plate expert Sylvie Patrick for answers. Sylvie has been in the industry for over 20 years working with athletes and clients globally, training golfers and using Power Plate as an essential training tool. She has certifications and the practical knowledge to truly back up her methods as well as accreditation from Power Plate. She uses the approach to movement from the functional golf specialist certification from the Grey Institute as her backbone for creating programming.
Laura: Before hitting the golf course how and why would I use a Power Plate?
Sylvie: Just like every other sport, we want to prepare the software (brain) so we have better athletic performance with our hardware (body). Using Power Plate to warm-up before golfing activates our proprioceptors to react to the reflexive movement that comes with golfing. Mental acuity, reflex awareness, balance, and functional muscle control are the key ingredients of a great golf swing. As a result, we need to repeat and train the body for the very complex movement of a golf swing; so much happens in each split-second, both consciously and subconsciously. We need to warm-up the body to bring the action of the swing, putting, and pitching; and Power Plate can do this quickly by increasing blood flow and engage the central nervous system to trigger the appropriate response in the muscle.
Laura: Would it also benefit a player to use Power Plate after their golf game?
Sylvie: Like every sport, using Power Plate after a game is about recovery. For golfers specifically it is easy to become dehydrated. Blood flow to the exercising muscles declines significantly with dehydration; combined with a lack of water consumption and often playing in the heat and sun, makes golfers susceptible to dehydration. This makes it even more important to rehydrate the tissue and release toxins. Power Plate (whole body vibration) uses gentle vibrations to increase blood flow and stimulate the lymphatic system. Golf swings are also a powerful motion causing micro-trauma in muscles; so in the same way other athletes need to heal and recover golfers need to do so as well and whole body vibration does this best and much quicker.
Laura: Should golfers train on Power Plate and if so what types of movements/exercises are best?
Sylvie: Yes! Golfers should use Power Plate! Start with mobility movements to warm -up the body such as stretching dynamically through the hamstrings, ankle, hip and T-spine. Next, exercises for balance such as a weight shift holding a light weight and strength and power movements that emulate a golf swing – standing in split position to do a woodchop/swing motion while eccentrically controlling the motion. Training a golfer for a better, more powerful swing while reducing injury incidences is key on Power Plate and takes a fraction of the time usually spent in the gym or an exercise class. Power Plate even has specific golf protocols and workouts available in their my7 and pro7 software as well as videos on their YouTube channel and social media portals.
Laura: Can Power Plate help with back/hip pain?
Sylvie: The number one and two injuries in golfers are shoulder and hip injuries. These injuries are generally caused by overuse of the muscles and repeated movements or occasionally by trauma. I always assess my client movement pattern and highlight the weakest link in the kinetic chain (ankle/knee/hip/lumbar & thoracic spine and shoulder). From this assessment result, we can work on drills that can prevent injury from occurring by preventing compensation. One example is a lack of hip hinge often results in lower back muscles compensating for the gluteus muscle. With Power Plate, we can train the weak muscles while releasing the overactive ones. And due to the nature of vibration (harmonic and predictable) we can do a higher volume of work to learn muscle memory of the correct movement in a much shorter time. Lots of my clients are over 65 years of age and many suffer from chronic conditions like cartilage degradation, sarcopenia and osteoporosis. I like to use a piece of equipment safe that is safe for any of these conditions.
Laura: When you are working with golfers what are some of the most effective drills you have found for warming up?
Sylvie: 5 minutes is all that it should take. 1. Activate the bottom of the foot – put it on the Power Plate platform to stimulate the proprioceptors. You can do this in your golf shoes without the mat. This will dramatically improve swing power and mobility by increasing circulation and activating the sensors on the bottom of the feet for a better ground force reaction. 2. Loosen up the hips in all three planes – do a hip hinge, move left to right, and end with rotation. This will also prepare the body for golfing. 3. Hold the static strap taut and do the motion of a golf swing while on the Power Plate as well as some overhead movement to warm up shoulders and T-spine. It’s always a good idea to mimic the motion that the body will perform repeatedly. These three movements will have the entire kinetic chain activated, warmed-up and ready to go. You can also keep your usual drills and start doing them with vibration. I also think that every golfer should have the Power Plate Roller and/or Power Plate DualSphere as well for targeted vibration – to stimulate ankle mobility and proprioception any time outside playing time. I love using it on the lower back while seating to recover a tight lower back.
Check out these videos specifically tailored for golf: