The Pivot Blocking Effect of the Quadratus Lumborum Muscle, Part 4

By Dr. Matthew M. Rosman, GSEE
Director of Biomechanics and Sports Science, The Golfing Machine, LLC

In Part 4, the discussion will continue with some concluding thoughts as well as a description of a performance based activity example.

In The Golfing Machine, Mr. Kelley discusses the importance of Structure, in section 1-D when he states:

“The house that is built plumb, square and level is geometrically correct.”

If the biomechanical system has any alignment distortions in Quiet Upright Standing, then these mis-alignment distortions may be magnified further when moving to GBP™.  The goal for aspiring student golfers is to strategically pose the biomechanical system to as much of a “plumb, square, and level” state of alignment as is possible in Quiet Upright Standing first, prior to forming GBP.

Structural duress anywhere in the biomechanical system, starting from the bottom of the feet upward, will be reflected by the presence of various patterns of aberrant, distortional malposition in such regions as the pelvic complex, vertebral column, rib cage, skull, and/or scapulae.  Impairments and various distortion malposition patterns in the structural system of the golfer will impede alignment, rhythm and timing. Distortions in the structural system impair performance.  Hence, “wobble in the machine”, snares, and execution errors will be evident in the Central Stroke Pattern display.

Distortions impair alignment utilization, disrupting well-orchestrated coordination (rhythm), resulting in what Mr. Kelley defines as “'Off’"Timing (6-F-2).

•    Distortions to the neutral skull alignment may adversely influence the field of vision, along with reducing the accuracy of visual spatial and depth perception, as well as alter the desired motion sequence of the cervical vertebrae.  
•    Distortions to the alignment of either or both of the scapulae may adversely influence functional operation of the associated upper extremity. This will disrupt the structural integrity of the Triangle Assembly and operational execution of the Power Package’s functions.
•    Distortion to the alignment of the pelvic complex may adversely disrupt the Pivot sequence, adversely altering the operation of, as well as rhythm of, Zone One’s contribution to Swing Radius functions.  

Simply put: the aspiring student golfer should consider, prior to forming GBP, while in Quiet Upright Standing, surveying the biomechanical system, followed by optimally aligning (as much as is possible) their personal structural system.  The pelvic complex is a key area to review and evaluate while in Quiet Upright Standing for evidence of malposition so that re-alignment may be implemented prior to forming GBP.  This would vastly assist the goal of reducing QL tension.

In Quiet Upright Standing, focused attention to the bottom of the feet as they “dock” with the ground is very essential.  In Quiet Upright Standing, and with the feet connected to the ground, at a width of stance that aligns each foot with its corresponding ball and socket hip joint, there will be the ability to more optimally sense pressure in the “ball” and “heel” location of the bottom of each foot.  If there is relative functional biomechanical alignment neutrality of the entire structural system, there will be the sensory detection of equal pressure in the center of the ball and heel region of the bottom of each foot.
By first standing without excessive tension in Quiet Upright Standing, and appropriately placing the hands on the top of the iliac crest region (of the left and right innominate bones), golfers can assess if the alignment of the pelvic complex may be classified as “level” relative to a frontal plane orientation. Thus, if an imaginary line was constructed across the anterior aspect of the body (parallel to a frontal plane), spanning from identical landmarks on each iliac crest, such a line would be parallel to a level ground surface upon which Quiet Upright Standing was conducted. This is a big key! The undetected presence of excessive tension of the QL muscle may further fortify the potential for a Pivot Blocking effect. The motor control process of “navigating” the alignment of the pelvic complex to a desired spatial orientation creates empowerment for performance enhancement of the Pivot Propulsion System of the aspiring student golfer.

For more information on this subject matter and to learn about other key biomechanical “hubs” that influence the alignment of the structural system in Quiet Upright Standing or GBP, please consult with the BIA™ Level One Text and the BIA P.A.R.-formance™ Manual. In those reference sources there are several key passages devoted to this subject matter.  This article will retain its focus specifically on the pelvic complex.

The aspiring student golfer may conduct an inspection or survey of the biomechanical system to ascertain the status of the pelvic complex: (Note: Each person should first assess their specific, personal, safe, effective, and efficient capacity to participate in this activity.  If any questions or concerns for participation arise, do not participate in this activity until first consulting with the appropriate health care provider for clearance and guidelines. Pre-participation risk assessment is a necessary and mandatory first step prior to engaging in any physical activity and requires a review of medical and musculoskeletal history which may also require the inclusion of the appropriate consultation with a health care provider. Thank you.)

•    Stand in front of a full length mirror to perform the “self-survey” and observation process.
•    Close the eyes and focus attention upon the current or initial connection of the ball and heel region of each foot with the ground. If closing the eyes is an activity that is not possible relative to medical or musculoskeletal history, then please keep the eyes open and let the gaze of the eyes remain parallel to the ground and in a very relaxed focus.
•    Let the entire body relax and rest fully as well as equally upon these four key points of connection with the ground.
•    Refine the focus of attention further to the center of the ball and heel areas of the bottom of each foot.  
•    Then allow the full focused attention upon reducing as much tension in the body so that all the vertical, “downward” mass of the entire body is supported fully and equally by the center of the ball and heel region of each foot connecting with the ground underneath these anatomical landmarks.
•    After several seconds open the eyes (if applicable) and visually inspect the spatial orientation of the pelvic complex.  
•    Observe to see if the right and left side of the anterior view of the pelvic complex is “level” and not tilted.
•    To assist in this sensation of “relaxing” the QL, place the outer edge of the hands running from the external edge of the index finger around the “rim” of the margin of the hand all the way to the medial outer edge of the thumb against the lateral aspect of the left and right side of the core region just above the iliac crest region of each innominate bone.
•    Thus, the palm of each hand will be facing toward the ground.  
•    In this manner, the interior, outer edge margin of each thumb will rest against the posterior and lateral aspect of the lower back muscles.  The thumb tips of each hand will be approximately “pointing to” the L4 vertebra.
•    In the case of reducing unilateral QL tension, take a comfortable “belly breath”, in through the nose and out through the mouth, focusing on the exhalation of breath relaxing the tension in the involved QL so that the associated innominate bone “feels” as if it is vertically lowering toward the ground.  
•    Breathing in this manner should be relaxed, slow, and easy without any excessive breath holding or forceful actions. This is important so as to avoid any light-headed sensations.
•    During the inhalation portion, the sides of the ribcage and core regions should expand outward in a “balloon-like” manner. Pressure will be sensed against the contact portion of the hands, index fingers and thumbs. If possible and comfortable, inhalation through the nostrils to expand the “belly”, ribcage, and core region, is very helpful.
•    During the exhalation portion, the ribcage and core regions should withdraw inward and “contract”.  This will be sensed by the contact margins of both hands, index fingers, and thumbs.
•    During the exhalation portion, the “tense” or “raised” QL side of innominate bone involvement should be allowed to relax in such a manner as to “feel as if” it is gently lowering or floating downward vertically.  
•    This process of relaxation will “feel as if” the entire innominate bone on the involved side was gently being lowered by the easy vertical, downward straight-line pull of the entire associated lower extremity.
•    The space between the inferior aspect of the associated rib cage and the associated top line of the innominate bone on the involved QL side should now, during the breath exhalation portion of this activity, “relinquish” excessive, stored tension, such that all the associated muscles in this posterior, lateral area will reduce this excessive stored tension.
•    The exhalation portion of this activity is benefited by engaging in a slower and extended period of participation as the breath is released through the mouth.  This may be compared with the same manner by which birthday candles are blown out, as the air is released through “pursed lips”.  
•    Whistling’s action also resembles the type of mechanism for exhalation that would be favorable for this activity.  Again, this activity should avoid forced or an excessively long exhalation period.
•    For some participants, as the exhalation portion of this activity is conducted there will be the sense of the “navel center” being directed or migrating laterally toward the side of involvement, aligning more toward the central median axis of the participant.  
•    This “migration” will be associated with the improved equal distribution of load to the center of the ball and heel region of each foot while in Quiet Upright Standing.  (For more information about the process of “centering”, please consult with the BIA P.A.R.-formance™ Manual.)
•    This appropriate, vibrant, lively, “docking” connection of the center of the ball and heel aspects of each foot (equally distributed upon these four contact points) with the ground will be evident when there is a very small sensation of natural, rhythmic, oscillation of the body.
•    This oscillation state will further solidify the grounding, centralizing, and stabilizing sensation of experience.

Once the pelvic complex is level in Quiet Upright Standing, GBP may now be formed. This example helps to illustrate a productive first step in reducing the adverse influence of QL tension in contributing to a counterproductive Pivot Blocking effect.  

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