The Kinematic Sequence : Your key to an efficient swing.
Do you consider yourself someone who swings the club mainly with their arms? Do you have a two-way miss? Are you not confident in what is going to happen the second you bring the club back down? You may have a sequencing problem - specifically your kinematic sequence.
What is the kinematic sequence?
Simply put, the kinematic sequence in the golf swing is the steps your body needs to take to create lag, power, and speed. Rotation is at its best when it is efficient. Creating that efficient swing requires everything to happen in the correct order, at the right time, and feed off each other. Think of it like driving a car. Sure, you can fire it up and put it in 5th gear hoping to go as fast as possible, but that's not going to get you the result you want. In the swing, if your body fires the arms down first in the downswing instead of the hips, you may end up with a golf swing, but not the shot or distance you want.
So, what are the steps?
In the golf swing, we follow a pretty standard procedure to get the club moving fast. From the top of the backswing, we must move the hips first, followed by the torso, followed by the arms, followed by the club. This is shown below. In the second half of the graph (the downswing), we see the red line (hips) peaking first, followed by the green (torso), Blue (arms) and finally, yellow (the club).
These 4 sections of the body need to fire in this sequence for the most efficient swing, but they also need to build on each other. In the graph above, you see the green dot is higher than the red, blue higher than the green, and yellow much higher than the previous peaks. This is lag. Each section builds on the last lending power to the next section up.
Let’s get back to our car analogy. The goal of the car is to get moving fast (just like we want our club to) but we have to follow some steps to get there first.
- We’re in our car and want to get going, but we know we can’t just put it in 5th gear and drive off into the sunset. We have to start by hitting the clutch (this car is manual transmission by the way) and putting it into 1st gear. Imagine that this step is your hips firing first. This is the building block for us to get to all the other gears that help us go faster.
- Once we are in first, we are finally moving forward towards our destination, but 1st gear is going to top out at 10 mph… that's not nearly fast enough to get where we want to go or in this analogy, to create the club head speed we need. So we need to get to 2nd gear. 2nd gear is our torso firing down after our hips. Keep in mind, we need 1st gear (the hips) to be already moving to have any chance to get to 2nd gear (the torso).
- Now we are on to something, the hips and torso fire down and are creating some speed, our car is cruising in 2nd gear…. At 20 mph… Again, not nearly fast enough but needed to get us to the higher gears. Next step, get into 3rd gear (the arms firing). This is where our arms get to take advantage of the work the hips and torso (1st and 2nd gear) have already done. We are already moving a little faster, so the arms get to ride that wave and get us going even quicker. But we still want more.
- Finally, we are able to open it up and get to 4th or even 5th gears (the club). Because of all the work that we did in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gear, the 4th and 5th gears get to steal the show. Because our hips, torso, and arms have all built on each other in the right order, true speed gets taken to the forefront.
But keep in mind, each step had to build on the last, and take advantage of the work we already did. The same is true in the golf swing. Your club head gets to experience all that speed because of the work and speed the hips, torso, and arms have created by building off each other, firing at the right time. That, in a nutshell, is the kinematic sequence!
Maximize Your Kinematic Sequence
The best way to understand if you are firing on all cylinders is to undergo 3D motion capture testing like you see in the graph above. Unfortunately, slow motion video does not capture all of the intricacies that the motion capture will. But that does not mean you can’t do some screening to help if you find out if you have the ability to dissociate and follow the pattern above. Let us help you with one of our Golf Specific Screens which can give you answers to these questions and can be done virtually or in person.
Until then, here are some of our favorite simple drills you can do at home or your local gym to dial in the kinematic sequence and get it going in the right direction.