Recently, after a 3 week period of the best ball striking of my life, I had a God-awful range session that threw me for a loop. While hitting it good I was able to find a specific feeling on the backswing that I knew would prep me for an accelerating delivery all the way through to the finish. Not so in my poor session. Completely unable to find that feeling.
Long story short, what I eventually realized was that part of that feeling that I had lost briefly was due to what I was doing with my breathing and how it affected the tension in my body. While striking it good I found myself inhaling just before the shot (or even partly during the backswing) holding that air in my diafragm at transition and through to the finish, then doing a little exhale up at PV5. I realized that in my bad session I had been chewing gum and for some reason was not inhaling and filling my torso with some air/tension before the takeaway. Such a little thing but for me it was important.
Just wanted to get the forums thoughts on breathing and/or setting up the tension in your body for the swing. If you don’t like tension then maybe offer your methods for relaxation (we know Count Yogi enjoyed the idea of relaxation while swinging “boneless”, “muscleless”, etc.". Do you prefer to exhale before takeaway? Inhale? Or does the tension have nothing to do with your breath and you choose to use movement patterns to set your muscles up for the swing?
I think in days past the forward press was a nice way to establish tension. Of the modern players… I love watching Henrik Stenson settle into a shot. You can see him flip a switch from relaxed to primed and ready to fire. Check out the clip at 0:05. Not a bad job of swinging left without letting the face roll over either.
Here’s Gary Players method of developing the tension in his body: the right knee kick in
Good post LIpout…
That’s what I feel also. Although I don’t notice much inhaling at the moment the club first starts going back, although there is some…at about 3/4 the way back, or just a little bit beyond that, is when I’m sucking air so that by the time it’s time to down pressure my lungs are full…and that pressure is held way past the ball.
I think it’s a natural reaction to establishing dynamic tension and preparing for the hit…almost like if someone were to hit you hard in the stomach and you had to absord the hit to the stomach…you would inhale and hold for the proper muscular tension in which to absord the blow- unless you’re Cassius Clay, then you just do a rope-a-dope
Might be good to get one of our Martial Artist practitioners here to comment. I use appox 1/3rd filled lung capacity, then exhale through impact (P4). If my lungs are too filled it can restrict my backswing.
excellent post for discussion
. . . what you’re talking about is called the valslava maneuvre . . . used to kick down doors, push out babies, lift heavy objects, blow trumpets, etc. A slight holding of the breath -pressurising the trunk - then an exhale is a psycho-physical attempt to use the trunk as a whole and to protect the spine. It’s why the tennis players grunt . . . never sure why you don’t hear golfers grunting more . . . this is more often not what martial arts refer to when they talk about using the lower dan or ki or chi or hara, etc. It also does interesting things energietically in the body.
I’m a bit of a tennis player and I breathe-out through impact (aka the grunt in my case more of a silent whimper) because it ensures I don’t tense up on the shot - one of the worst things for a tennis player is to get stiff and try to steer the shot, so breathing out through impact is a very good way for helping to fight that tendancy. You may well be right that it’s also an attempt to use the trunk as a whole, which I’d never considered.
If we were yielding an axe to cut heavy wood, which I’ve had to do often, I think we naturally take in a breath and let it out as we strike the wood - and if we get angry striking something, we grunt like a tennis player.
So yes, it’s odd that golfers don’t do it. I have experimented with breathing in in the backswing and letting it out at transition as an attempt to promote the free ride down, but only in my drilling on occasion and I can’t say I’ve perservered with it. I’m interested in Lag’s 1/3rd intake - might try that.
I think in golf some of us are so focussed on the ball or the shot to play that we forget to breathe.