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Transform Your Game Of Golf By Optimizing Thoracic Spine Function

In the game of golf, there is one universal truth: player performance directly depends upon the health of their spine and, more specifically, optimal thoracic mobility. So important is the spine to achieving golf game excellence, scores of reports have addressed the matter to include one recent PGA.com article with the unequivocal headline, “A consistent spine angle will lead to improved impact no matter your body type.” Other research has also established the correlation between spine control, swing mechanics and overall performance.  

Driven by a passion to help improve joint function for himself and others to make gains on the links, former NBA strength and conditioning coach and therapeutic exercise specialist Carl Horne, Jr., owner of the Scottsdale, Arizona-based In2One Wellness Studio, invented and patented the TrueTurnPro device as an easy and cost-effective way to restore and maintain thoracic mobility. As the world’s first thoracic spine isolation and training system, it was designed to be used anywhere:  at home, in a hotel room or the turf. The TrueTurnPro helps increase a user’s rotation and strengthens the core, which  helps the user develop the muscles to protect and strengthen the back—all collectively improving a player’s speed, power and distance.

While the journey to develop TrueTurnPro and bring it to market hasn’t been easy for Horne, perseverance has allowed him to change lives with the invention—and both user testimonials and industry accolades have rolled in. For one, renowned golf instructor and TV analyst, Peter Kostis, even weighed-in via online video on the numerous reasons why the TrueTurnPro is so advantageous for those seeking to up their golf game.

Here, Horne himself offered some expert insights on spine health, mobility, biomechanics, swing position, the device itself and more. 

Q: Relative to one’s golf swing, should the club correct the body position or should the body correct the club position? 

CH: Swing flaws, back pain and undesired high scores are often connected. Whether it’s a common swing flaw such as “coming over the top,” or simply common back pain from, bending, twisting or sitting, high golf scores are the result—and they all have a common denominator: limited hip and back function. If the components of the hip and spine become tight and weak, the mechanics of the spine will eventually become compromised. Compromised movement is often the root  cause for the development of common back pain. Therefore,  flawed mechanics can easily be the blame for the most common swing flaws, as swing flaws don’t solely reside in golf theory. The undiscovered origin of these flaws would suggest many are physical by nature.  Seeking a solution by theory, alone, is futile. 

Q: There are various types of swing issues fit for improvement, so how would you say body motion flaws correlate?

CH: The most common back pain is low back pain or LBP. In acute or chronic LBP, the gluteal muscles, along with other stabilizers of the hips and core, can all play a role in the dysfunction. The golf swing is dependent upon the uncompromised rotation of the hips and spine. If the hips, spine, or both are compromised in function, faulty compensating movement patterns arise. These compensations are the origin of the development and root cause of the six most common swing flaws which are: loss of posture, reverse pivot, early extension, hip sway and slide, over-the-top and faulty kinematic sequence. These swing flaws can all be easily linked to mechanical flaws within the dynamic multiple joint functions within the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex. We best identify the flaw by creating awareness; understanding the lower kinetic chain as it relates to the development of the golf swing.

It should look something like this:

Hips react to ground force production or reactions such as shear force, vertical force and torsion force. These forces generate the kinetic energy producing the leverage which moves up and through the legs into the hips.

Then, the spine reacts to hips, the shoulders react to the spine; arms react to the shoulders; and hands react to the arms.

This is the simple biomechanical review of the kinetic chain as related to the development of the golf swing.

Q: Which of the six common swing flaws would you expect to develop if the player has a severe lack of lateral flexion in the spine and extremely limited internal rotation of the lead hip?

CH: Over the top, hip sway and slide, as well as early extension. But, why? As a beginner, understanding concepts and theories of how to hit a golf ball is as useful as the turtle understanding which speed-building techniques it takes to win a race! It’s essential to have a working functional body to utilize the important information of the conventional approach to teaching the theories of the golf swing. Neither the ball flight or the position of the clubface should solely govern or train the golfer into learning how NOT to swing the golf club. In other words, we shouldn’t only learn from our errant golf shots! As it relates back to the golfer above with a lack of lateral flexion and limited internal rotation of the lead hip, until the function of the hip and spine are corrected, rotation will be compromised. The struggle with compromised motion will perpetuate regardless of the money and effort spent on countless lessons covering purely golf theory technique.

So, should Body and Biomechanics be included as primary swing philosophies when the beginning golfer starts to learn how to swing a club? In order to become more aware and further facilitate the instructional experience, the explanation of how we all learn new specific movement patterns must be realized.

Q: What would you say many people are doing wrong as they work to perfect their swing position?

CH:
An astounding 90% percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. These visual images can actually work against the golf student because many golfers have a preconceived notion of how to make a swing based on what they have seen. Not only have students seen the perfect and desired club position at the top of the backswing, but they have also likely listened to others confirming that placing the club high and parallel is the best. So naturally, the attempt is to mimic what they have seen and heard, and do whatever it takes to place the club in a position most people aren’t physically or correctly capable of doing.

This limited approach isn't logical and sheds light as to why solely learning from our mistakes is short sighted. Hitting buckets of balls wrong to finally hit a single shot correctly, is an exhausting, inhibited, restrained and ultimately counter-productive method of learning how to swing a club effectively and efficiently.

Unlike auditory learning, kinesthetic learning is accomplished with feel and touch. This leads to long-term learning of physical and body-conscious skill development. In other words, proprioception.

The TrueTurnPro is a unique one-of-a-kind kinesthetic learning tool designed for teaching and learning correct anatomical rotation throughout the thoracic spine and hips. The magical benefit of the device happens once you are corrected into a neutral spine, linking the upper kinetic chain to the lower connect chain. This causes you to stabilize and distribute ground force leverage throughout your body thereby coaching the exact feel students and teaching professionals have been searching for. This kind of kinesthetic learning gives powerful and tangible meaning to the familiar question, “how did that one feel?”

Q: Speaking of the TrueTurnPro, in what ways can it transform a player’s golf game overall?

CH: There are a myriad of ways the invention improves one’s golf game overall. For one, it improves shot accuracy. Accuracy in golf is dependent on the ability to control the angle of the spine throughout the entire golf swing. The TrueTurnPro improves both strength and stability of the spine. Having swing power is only useful and safe with the stability to control the spine. It will develop the power to improve stability and help maintain spine angle. It improves golf shot accuracy.

It also enhances strength and range of motion. When exposed to consistent external stimuli, the body physiologically adapts. For example, an increase in strength will occur when push-ups are performed daily. A physiological adaptive process explains how we are able to accomplish a greater number of push-ups over time. The strength from the push-up translates to other physical activities requiring a push movement. Therefore, the push-up is fundamental to all pushing. TrueTurnPro is no different. Strength training with the device results in physiological adaptation of the body. Regular use with it will equate to strengthening rotational torso power.

Maximized speed is another benefit. The ultimate goal for an athlete is to move fast. Acceleration of rotary movement in sports requires power and optimum rotation, as well as the ability to transfer energy with a stabilized spine. Limited rotation restricts maximum speed and prevents the body from reaching its full potential. Swinging a bat or club requires core stability and flexibility. The combination of power, stability, and flexibility are essential for the development of rotational speed! A body capable of moving faster will generate faster swing speeds and therefore increase ball speed. The TrueTurnPro is the only device capable of isolating and developing rotational strength, stability, and flexibility, which results in overall rotational power.

One major way a golfer can lose speed is through It also corrects early extension, which is an incorrect position of the spine during a golf swing. At this point, the club is lifted instead of rotated to the top position. The common reference is a reverse pivot or loss of posture. Due to the challenging concept, instructors struggle with teaching the correct rotation. The TrueTurnPro is a breakthrough tool that allows the instructor to teach students what true rotation looks and feels like. With an increase in thoracic mobility the more rounds of golf an individual can play due to the less friction on the back. Greater mobility also enables a golfer to place the club in a proper top position that will maximize club head speed and optimize swing path.

Another key benefit is shifting focus from club position to body position. Traditionally, golf has been taught from the perspective of the club properly place the club in the ideal top position. Golf students often establish faulty movement patterns in their swings when they become solely focused on club position. A movement pattern is the fundamental way a human moves. For example, bending, twisting and hinging. Repeating a faulty movement pattern in golf, such as the “over the top move”, results in inconsistent ball striking. However, the TrueTurnPro will correct faulty movement patterns and improve ball striking. These techniques are easily utilized to correct rotational planes by establishing and strengthening the form in a unique and contemporary practice.

The device also produces a greater active stretch. TrueTurnPro is designed to allow the spine to produce a greater active rotational stretch, unparalleled with any other device available. The ability to have complete control of the stretch creates simplicity and safety for the user. Users generate his/her own kinetic energy to increase and deepen the active stretch, which greatly improves mobility and flexibility.

Q: What about that coveted X-Factor—a popular topic within the golf community?

CH:
Yes, the X-Factor It is generally defined as the measurable distance to rotate the shoulders beyond the hips. Prompting many debates, some believe the X-factor is a myth, while others seek to achieve the X-factor within their own swing. Some instructors teach that the X-factor is only achieved during the downswing, while others teach it is created in the backswing. Either way, a physical separation of shoulders and hips takes place during every full golf swing. This separation creates rotational power. The TrueTurnPro is designed to safely develop this separation of the shoulders and hips by isolating movement of the thoracic spine.

Q: Beyond all of the technical advantages you discuss, I would imagine the TrueTurnPro generally promotes and enhances enjoyment of the game.

CH:
Most definitely, also giving a greater sense of accomplishment. Achieving a higher level of success with increased golf skills will inspire individuals to play more often and with far more enjoyment. Golf is very demanding on the spine, and requires the player to bend, stretch, maneuver and contort the body in unnatural ways. Golf also requires the spine to possess power, stability, and speed, all in an attempt to maximize player ability and overall satisfaction. The TrueTurnPro enhances spinal strength, stability, and rotation for continued enjoyment of the game of golf.

Q: Various research studies assert that the vast majority of Americans will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime, and also that many can help that back pain will subside with correct physical exercise—findings that can surely be extrapolated to people worlwide who will, or already, similarly suffer back problems. How does the TrueTurnPro relate here?

CH: The TrueTurnPro is a tool specifically engineered to address the various issues of the spine that are related to back pain. Although it is impossible to completely prevent accidental physical injury, prevention protocols and programs should be the first line of defense in reducing the frequency and severity of physical injury. Optimizing joint function is the name of the game in an injury prevention exercise program. When our joints are powerful, fully stabilized and entirely flexible, we are more prepared to handle trauma that has the potential of leading to injury. With a preventative approach, recovery and rehabilitation time can often be reduced when injuries do occur. This increases the time that one can spend participating in the game of life! The TrueTurnPro is the perfect tool for helping to optimize spine function in an effort to prevent and lessen the frequency and severity of back injuries.

Designed to improve strength and range of motion of the thoracic and lumbar spine, the TrueTurnPro improves the spine’s ability to move with less friction and discomfort while increasing overall stability. It helps to restore back function and ultimately offer relief to a large number of people suffering from back pain.

Working with the TrueTurnPro will isolate and increase the range of motion of the thoracic spine. The isolation comes from the device’s patented proprietary contralateral configuration. This unique design gives the user the ability to produce a contralateral force. This force, which is controlled by the user, results in greater ability to increase thoracic spine rotation and lateral flexion of the lumbar spine.

Increasing thoracic range of motion has a strong and positive effect on the lumbar spine. By increasing the mobility of the thoracic spine, less rotational torque is placed upon the lumbar spine. This results in a reduction of torsion compression, which is the twisting downward force of pressure onto the lumbar discs that are located between each vertebrae. This reduction of torsion compression lessens the load on the back and helps alleviate discomfort and pain.

Q: Beyond golf, are the other types of sports the device can be beneficial for?

CH:
Most definitely! The versatility of the TrueTurnPro allows it to be used not only as a stretching device but also a strength training tool. Unlike anything before, it offers a unique opportunity to develop true isolated rotational power. With it, athletes competing in rotational sports such as golf, baseball, tennis and hockey will enhance their physical abilities by adding the tool to their sport-specific training routines. This is because training with a device engineered to specifically increase rotation allows the athlete to isolate a chosen plane of rotation and apply resistance to that plane. It also enables the athlete to increase the flexibility of a specific plane of rotation and produce an active or passive stretch on that plane. The TrueTurnPro delivers a smooth, smart stretch into an array of rotational planes from the slap shot of hockey to the overhead serve of tennis. It offers an entirely new means of rotational training.

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