How might your golf game improve if you could increase the power in your swing without increasing your risk for injury — in fact, actually reducing the likelihood you’ll get hurt? It’s entirely within your reach to do so, according to Jeffrey Zimmerman, OMD, a doctor of oriental medicine and founder of the movement discipline Optimotion. With approximately 100,000 golfers seeking treatment for golf-related injuries each year, Dr. Zimmerman’s unique approach retrains the body to move more naturally, reducing injuries and even bringing an additional 25 yards to the ball for many. Optimotion also helps golfers with musculoskeletal aches and pains, with past injuries, or whose game has weakened with age to continue to play and enjoy the game they love.
There’s an underlying problem with how many approach the game of golf, says Dr. Zimmerman. Most people believe that the power of their swing comes from torque and “the greater the torque, the greater the power.” However, this attitude more likely translates to physical stress on the joints, which is not good for the body or your game. Optimotion purposefully reduces torque and its attendant tension — thereby enabling the body to unleash its true power. For those who doubt, Dr. Zimmerman points out that martial arts expert Bruce Lee could knock down a man with his famed one-inch punch. “There was minimal torque in that,” says Dr. Zimmerman. “Let power come from fluidity, from lack of tension.” Imagine bringing that kind of force onto the greens…
Dr. Zimmerman advises that golfers begin with a basic Optimotion exercise. Stand up straight enough that you can imagine a plumb line going from your body directly into the ground below. Now, freely shift your weight a tiny bit forward until you feel your body tighten… stop… then shift back toward your heels, just until you tighten again. You are searching for the position in the middle of these two where your body is completely alive, yet relaxed… “the place of no resistance,” as Dr. Zimmerman says. Practice this exercise frequently throughout your day… watching TV… on the phone… reading the paper. Over time you will reeducate your neurological system so you’ll be able to find the “perfect place” quickly every time you need it, including while playing golf.
After becoming familiar with your “perfect place,” you can use this knowledge to improve your game. After teeing up, Dr. Zimmerman says golfers should first pre-address the ball — that is find the perfect place as described above. Do this always! Now you are ready to begin the following steps:
Carefully and habitually following these steps will lead to automatic replication of your “optimal” corrected swing every time you play.
Many golfers falter after an injury, even one that happened long ago. Dr. Zimmerman says this is because the body instinctively resists actions that might trigger pain — this in turn stops the flow of energy and freedom of movement and, in golf, wreaks havoc on your swing. Here is how to correct the problem: Practice body alignment with the Optimotion standing exercise as explained above. Be on special alert for the origins of tension created by the injury. If you feel it, take yourself once again through the steps listed above. Continue to practice every day — this will allow your body to correct itself and eventually become properly aligned for fluid and relaxed movements. By reeducating your body, you replace the physical/emotional feeling memory with the newfound feeling of fluidity and freedom. This becomes your new “normal.” When you train yourself to always find this place of freedom each and every time you address the ball, you will find you have a stronger but tension-free swing that takes your ball the distance.