A question for Mandrin - modelling muscle action

A question for Mandrin - modelling muscle action

Joined: September 10th, 2004, 4:03 pm

August 19th, 2005, 8:45 am #1

Mandrin, can you please comment on one aspect of what Mindy Blake called his “reflex swing”. He believed that it was very important that what he termed the “transmission muscles” (ie. those of the arms and wrists) should be relaxed during the forward swing and through impact. I believe he said that contracting one of the transmission muscles during the forward swing would be counterproductive, mainly because this would accelerate one part of the “chain” yet decelerate whatever part was at the other end of the muscle.

How (if at all) do you model muscles in your models of the golf swing ?? It does seem to me that the model would be very different depending on whether the muscles could contract vs. (say) treating them (incorrectly I know) as pieces of elastic.

Supposing for a moment that Mindy was wrong in the argument I set out above about the contracting of a transmission muscle being counterproductive, is there any other (scientifically supportable) argument in favour of keeping the transmission muscles relaxed ??

My own experience is that it is indeed very beneficial to keep those muscles relaxed and it has always seemed to me to be this which sets the Blake swing (performed correctly) apart from virtually all other golf swings. Certainly in a conventional swing it is vital to contract the transmission muscles, hang on firmly to the club and hit with the hands through impact.

My suggestion (which I have stated previously) is that the relaxation (or at least attempted relaxation) of the transmission muscles is helpful because it enables those muscles to apply a greater force. This is helpful just in accelerating and controlling the club. One does not have to start talking about pressure during impact. The increased force from the muscles comes because they are being used WHILST THEIR LENGTH IS BEING ALLOWED TO INCREASE. I understand it to be a well established fact that human muscles can exert a greater force when they are being made to lengthen (as they try to contract) compared to either their staying the same length (“isometric” action) or, to an even greater extent, when they are being allowed to shorten.

Regards, Chris Walker.
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Joined: August 6th, 2004, 3:03 am

August 19th, 2005, 4:57 pm #2

Chris, muscles themselves are not modeled, only the fact that they produce an active torque and an associated reaction torque on two adjacent segments. Muscles do need some state of minimum tension to maintain structure and to be able to swing the golf club. Total relaxation is not quite possible, afterall a golf swing is a rather strenuous activity. Better to think in terms of a relaxed state of alertness. A cat-like readiness.

Following Mindy’s ideas about relaxed muscles producing optimum power one could reasonable expect this to translate into quite large clubhead speed and corresponding ball carry. However, Mindy Blake, Snakedoc and Richard are only obtaining quite modest carry. Proof is in the pudding.

The idea of having no torque applied between the active inner pivot and the hands follows the same logic as in Gravity Golf - any active force sets up an associated counter force and hence inefficient. Applying only torque at the inner pivot and keeping all muscles between this pivot and the hands passive prevents this to happen.

This last argument looks very convincing on the surface but needs a bit more consideration. We can apply a torque at the wrists and at the shoulders. Wrists should be either passive or apply some retaining torque. A positive wrist torque from the top of backswing is indeed counterproductive and only moderately useful later in the down swing.

Torque between arms and shoulders is a perhaps a matter of style/preference. You can sling totally passive arms with the body or torque/drive the lead arm/trail arm claw during the downswing in conjunction with an active ‘body’ rotation. Difficult to tell what is optimum for any particular golfer.

It always intrigues me that almost with anything I try the measured clubhead speed does not vary much. This might be with extremes such as a Gravity Golf swing or a very short tight muscle controlled swing, it does not seem to matter.

The body is a very complicated machine and can be used in various ways to produce clubhead speed. It is quite reasonable to assume that for a particular golfer a rather inefficient swing can still, for him, produce near optimum and consistent impact conditions.

I feel that at the level of the average amateur the important feature is to have a golf swing which allows foremost correct impact conditions to occur and to be able to repeat it consistently. It is here where Mindy’s swing is quite interesting - simple swing motions, very elongated trajectory through impact, no rotation of the clubhead, etc.

mandrin
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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

August 19th, 2005, 6:01 pm #3

Mandrin, can you please comment on one aspect of what Mindy Blake called his “reflex swing”. He believed that it was very important that what he termed the “transmission muscles” (ie. those of the arms and wrists) should be relaxed during the forward swing and through impact. I believe he said that contracting one of the transmission muscles during the forward swing would be counterproductive, mainly because this would accelerate one part of the “chain” yet decelerate whatever part was at the other end of the muscle.

How (if at all) do you model muscles in your models of the golf swing ?? It does seem to me that the model would be very different depending on whether the muscles could contract vs. (say) treating them (incorrectly I know) as pieces of elastic.

Supposing for a moment that Mindy was wrong in the argument I set out above about the contracting of a transmission muscle being counterproductive, is there any other (scientifically supportable) argument in favour of keeping the transmission muscles relaxed ??

My own experience is that it is indeed very beneficial to keep those muscles relaxed and it has always seemed to me to be this which sets the Blake swing (performed correctly) apart from virtually all other golf swings. Certainly in a conventional swing it is vital to contract the transmission muscles, hang on firmly to the club and hit with the hands through impact.

My suggestion (which I have stated previously) is that the relaxation (or at least attempted relaxation) of the transmission muscles is helpful because it enables those muscles to apply a greater force. This is helpful just in accelerating and controlling the club. One does not have to start talking about pressure during impact. The increased force from the muscles comes because they are being used WHILST THEIR LENGTH IS BEING ALLOWED TO INCREASE. I understand it to be a well established fact that human muscles can exert a greater force when they are being made to lengthen (as they try to contract) compared to either their staying the same length (“isometric” action) or, to an even greater extent, when they are being allowed to shorten.

Regards, Chris Walker.
Chris, As Mandrin mentioned being an essential, I find that I must have a degree of 'structure' for dragging to work efficiently. What I mean is a certain degree of muscle contraction in the arms and probably the shoulders, maybe even the torso. In fact, if my arms are too relaxed, dragging simply doesn't work and I get a weak result. Obviously, there must be some muscle contraction to get the arms to the top of the backswing. Perhaps one could relax muscles at the top before starting down, but it seems to me if one did that you'd lose 'structure'.

When I extract everything that Blake said about relaxed muscles, put it together and try to analyze it, I come to the conclusion that I don't understand what he was trying to get across. Would you mind stating your average carry with a driver? Thanks, Jim
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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

August 19th, 2005, 6:15 pm #4

Chris, muscles themselves are not modeled, only the fact that they produce an active torque and an associated reaction torque on two adjacent segments. Muscles do need some state of minimum tension to maintain structure and to be able to swing the golf club. Total relaxation is not quite possible, afterall a golf swing is a rather strenuous activity. Better to think in terms of a relaxed state of alertness. A cat-like readiness.

Following Mindy’s ideas about relaxed muscles producing optimum power one could reasonable expect this to translate into quite large clubhead speed and corresponding ball carry. However, Mindy Blake, Snakedoc and Richard are only obtaining quite modest carry. Proof is in the pudding.

The idea of having no torque applied between the active inner pivot and the hands follows the same logic as in Gravity Golf - any active force sets up an associated counter force and hence inefficient. Applying only torque at the inner pivot and keeping all muscles between this pivot and the hands passive prevents this to happen.

This last argument looks very convincing on the surface but needs a bit more consideration. We can apply a torque at the wrists and at the shoulders. Wrists should be either passive or apply some retaining torque. A positive wrist torque from the top of backswing is indeed counterproductive and only moderately useful later in the down swing.

Torque between arms and shoulders is a perhaps a matter of style/preference. You can sling totally passive arms with the body or torque/drive the lead arm/trail arm claw during the downswing in conjunction with an active ‘body’ rotation. Difficult to tell what is optimum for any particular golfer.

It always intrigues me that almost with anything I try the measured clubhead speed does not vary much. This might be with extremes such as a Gravity Golf swing or a very short tight muscle controlled swing, it does not seem to matter.

The body is a very complicated machine and can be used in various ways to produce clubhead speed. It is quite reasonable to assume that for a particular golfer a rather inefficient swing can still, for him, produce near optimum and consistent impact conditions.

I feel that at the level of the average amateur the important feature is to have a golf swing which allows foremost correct impact conditions to occur and to be able to repeat it consistently. It is here where Mindy’s swing is quite interesting - simple swing motions, very elongated trajectory through impact, no rotation of the clubhead, etc.

mandrin
There is a Blake swinger at Riviera Club in California whose carry with driver is longer, as I recall 280+ yards. Gene Bock, if you see this would you please post your average and longest carry with driver. Perhaps my recollection is an exaggeration. Thanks, Jim
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Joined: August 2nd, 2004, 11:57 pm

August 19th, 2005, 6:33 pm #5

If I remember right gets it out there pretty good.
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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

August 19th, 2005, 7:54 pm #6

My recollection (often not good) is Julian reporting his drives average 250 to 260. Julian, how far off am I? SD
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Joined: July 31st, 2004, 10:14 pm

August 19th, 2005, 9:46 pm #7

I avg. about 270. you ask Mandrin about a golf swing that he knows nothing about. He has a IQ of 175 but he can't break 90 on the course.
i have went rounds and rounds with him and he will never show his swing.
o by the way/ i am playing better now that i stop posting /
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Joined: December 23rd, 2004, 12:51 am

August 20th, 2005, 7:08 pm #8

Mandrin, can you please comment on one aspect of what Mindy Blake called his “reflex swing”. He believed that it was very important that what he termed the “transmission muscles” (ie. those of the arms and wrists) should be relaxed during the forward swing and through impact. I believe he said that contracting one of the transmission muscles during the forward swing would be counterproductive, mainly because this would accelerate one part of the “chain” yet decelerate whatever part was at the other end of the muscle.

How (if at all) do you model muscles in your models of the golf swing ?? It does seem to me that the model would be very different depending on whether the muscles could contract vs. (say) treating them (incorrectly I know) as pieces of elastic.

Supposing for a moment that Mindy was wrong in the argument I set out above about the contracting of a transmission muscle being counterproductive, is there any other (scientifically supportable) argument in favour of keeping the transmission muscles relaxed ??

My own experience is that it is indeed very beneficial to keep those muscles relaxed and it has always seemed to me to be this which sets the Blake swing (performed correctly) apart from virtually all other golf swings. Certainly in a conventional swing it is vital to contract the transmission muscles, hang on firmly to the club and hit with the hands through impact.

My suggestion (which I have stated previously) is that the relaxation (or at least attempted relaxation) of the transmission muscles is helpful because it enables those muscles to apply a greater force. This is helpful just in accelerating and controlling the club. One does not have to start talking about pressure during impact. The increased force from the muscles comes because they are being used WHILST THEIR LENGTH IS BEING ALLOWED TO INCREASE. I understand it to be a well established fact that human muscles can exert a greater force when they are being made to lengthen (as they try to contract) compared to either their staying the same length (“isometric” action) or, to an even greater extent, when they are being allowed to shorten.

Regards, Chris Walker.
After reading the article I suspect a better description for the transmission muscles may be 'not active' vs 'relaxed'. When you observe the apx 90 deg bend Blake had in his trail arm when the club was horizontal in the downswing it is clear that his trail arm was not relaxed or it would not have that bend. However the near maximal extension of his trail wrist at the same point indicates relaxation of the forearm muscles that would, if active, be used to move the club head into impact. Similarly Blake expects you to 'wind down' so that the lowe body movement additionally stretches muscles in the torso (if your 'rubber brick' was not completely effective) for more efficient transmission of lower body action.

So you have a combination of muscle tension to maintain a 'not active' (i.e. not trying to move the club head into impact) structure and relaxed muscles to allow positions and connections that will increase the efficiency of the swing.

Peter
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Joined: September 10th, 2004, 4:03 pm

August 26th, 2005, 11:22 am #9

Mandrin, can you please comment on one aspect of what Mindy Blake called his “reflex swing”. He believed that it was very important that what he termed the “transmission muscles” (ie. those of the arms and wrists) should be relaxed during the forward swing and through impact. I believe he said that contracting one of the transmission muscles during the forward swing would be counterproductive, mainly because this would accelerate one part of the “chain” yet decelerate whatever part was at the other end of the muscle.

How (if at all) do you model muscles in your models of the golf swing ?? It does seem to me that the model would be very different depending on whether the muscles could contract vs. (say) treating them (incorrectly I know) as pieces of elastic.

Supposing for a moment that Mindy was wrong in the argument I set out above about the contracting of a transmission muscle being counterproductive, is there any other (scientifically supportable) argument in favour of keeping the transmission muscles relaxed ??

My own experience is that it is indeed very beneficial to keep those muscles relaxed and it has always seemed to me to be this which sets the Blake swing (performed correctly) apart from virtually all other golf swings. Certainly in a conventional swing it is vital to contract the transmission muscles, hang on firmly to the club and hit with the hands through impact.

My suggestion (which I have stated previously) is that the relaxation (or at least attempted relaxation) of the transmission muscles is helpful because it enables those muscles to apply a greater force. This is helpful just in accelerating and controlling the club. One does not have to start talking about pressure during impact. The increased force from the muscles comes because they are being used WHILST THEIR LENGTH IS BEING ALLOWED TO INCREASE. I understand it to be a well established fact that human muscles can exert a greater force when they are being made to lengthen (as they try to contract) compared to either their staying the same length (“isometric” action) or, to an even greater extent, when they are being allowed to shorten.

Regards, Chris Walker.
Firstly thanks to Mandrin and Peter for responding to my original posting on the “modelling of muscles” in a golf swing. I rather suspected they were not being modelled. I have no illusions as to how difficult this would be !! However, wouldn’t it be useful if they were to be modelled, even if imperfectly. I feel sure that we would be able to learn a few useful lessons.

Why I keep on about relaxed muscles is that in my experience this is a very important factor in a successful Blake swing. If I get the wrong muscles tense at address, everything can go wrong. I have for a while been worked on getting my trail arm well across my body at address. But I know I have to be very careful that the muscles in this arm do not become tense. If they do, I can be pretty sure that the trail arm will try to play a dominant part in the swing whereas the legs must drive the swing with the arms relaxed.

To pick up on a couple of points made by SnakeDoc:

1) I have quite frequently found that taking the club to the top of the backswing and then relaxing the arms is a very profitable strategy. By the time you have started to worry about the relaxed arms, the downswing is underway, indeed the ball may already have been hit !!

2) Richard Wax can probably comment having played golf with me, but I recon I carry shots with my driver approximately 220 yards but then get 30 to 40 yards of run. I do hit the ball relatively low (and indeed therefore use a 12 degree driver). I certainly do not regard the Blake swing as any sort of a defensive swing. If you get the arm (and particularly the trail arm action) correct, you should be hitting the ball very solidly, indeed pretty hard. You should also be hitting it straight with little deviation in flight !!

Anyway, I hope one day to fully understand why relaxed “transmission muscles” are so beneficial in a Blake swing. In the meantime, good golfing.

Regards, Chris Walker.
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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

August 26th, 2005, 6:00 pm #10

Re your (1). What I do is 'pause' momentarily at the top. I don't feel that I'm intentionally relaxing the arms/shoulders during that pause, but some relaxation may be occurring naturally. However, 'structure' must exist in the arms when the downsing starts for dragging to work.

In assuming the address position, simply to place the arms in a particular position requires some muscle contraction. It may be possible for the lead arm, hanging vertically, to be quite relaxed, but the trail arm is thrust across the body and requires some muscle contraction to hold this position (structure) until the backswing starts. In the backswing muscle contraction is required to move the arms to their top of backswing position. What is your thinking re the idea of 'structure'? Structure requires muscle contraction yet Mindy says repeatedly that transmission muscles must be relaxed. How do you reconcile the need for relaxation vs the need for structure? Thanks, Jim
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Joined: December 23rd, 2004, 12:51 am

August 26th, 2005, 9:09 pm #11

is that the transmission muscles are not the same as the structure muscles though both are in the torso/arms (i.e. lead side obliques vs trail arm biceps) and/or 'relaxed' really means 'not active in accelerating the club' (i.e. pec can keep trail upper arm forward but not accelerate it down).

Peter
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Joined: September 10th, 2004, 4:03 pm

August 28th, 2005, 7:01 pm #12

Re your (1). What I do is 'pause' momentarily at the top. I don't feel that I'm intentionally relaxing the arms/shoulders during that pause, but some relaxation may be occurring naturally. However, 'structure' must exist in the arms when the downsing starts for dragging to work.

In assuming the address position, simply to place the arms in a particular position requires some muscle contraction. It may be possible for the lead arm, hanging vertically, to be quite relaxed, but the trail arm is thrust across the body and requires some muscle contraction to hold this position (structure) until the backswing starts. In the backswing muscle contraction is required to move the arms to their top of backswing position. What is your thinking re the idea of 'structure'? Structure requires muscle contraction yet Mindy says repeatedly that transmission muscles must be relaxed. How do you reconcile the need for relaxation vs the need for structure? Thanks, Jim
Peter may have it about right in his post "My thought...".

Let me try to contribute 2 points:

1) I find that it is very useful (indeed almost essential) to move the club very slowly throughout the backswing. A fast backswing (ie. one not dissimilar in speed to the vast majority that conventional golfers, good and bad, use) results in the muscles of my hands and arms having to tense up or I lose control of the club (especially at the top of the backswing as the direction of motion of the club is reversed). So yes, muscles are needed to get the club to the top of the backswing, but compare a very slow backswing to a faster (normal ??) one to experience what I am talking about regarding the relaxation of at least certain muscle groups.

2) Something I have mentioned before regarding "structure"... take a conventional backswing (possibly with an open stance) but, at the top, close the clubface by 30 to 40 degrees. The wrist of your leading hand should become distinctly convex and that of your trailing hand very concave. Then do nothing more than open your hips (ie. turn them towards the target). You should find that your hands are dragged down in front of your torso and in particular your trail elbow is WAY forward. This is more or less what should happen in a Blake swing. The lead hand having turned under your trail hand gives you the "structure" at the top that allows the legs to drag the arms down.

Regards, Chris Walker
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Joined: September 6th, 2004, 3:46 am

August 28th, 2005, 10:52 pm #13

Slow backswing: absolutely agree. I can do everything right, then backswing too fast and the swing is ruined. My tendency is start backswinging too fast after a few swings in which I really pay attention to slow backswing. I have to make it my last thought before backswing to keep it slow enough.

Structure: Ben Hogan recognized in 'Five Lessons' that turning the hips could pull the arms down to waist level from the top. Mindy later found that, with a well forward trail elbow, one could pull the arms down and through the impact area with no conscious help from the upper body.

Based on my reading, I previously thought that John Redman was the closest to Blake in his swing theory. Redman believed hip turn alone could 'drag' the arms to the top of the backswing and then an un-turn of the hips could drag the arms down and through. He didn't say anything about the trail elbow. I have found another instructor/writer who believed the body can swing the arms all the way through impact with an uncoiling of the coiled body. The book is 'The Keys to the Effortless Golf Swing: Curing Your Hit Impulse in Seven Simple Lessons' by Michael McTeigue. It's an interesting read and the book is still in print. He wrote of the concept of 'connection' thinking of it similarly, and referring to, Jimmy Ballard's ideas on connection. McTeigue spent a many pages explaining how to get the arms/shoulder triangle to the top of the backswing. Like Redman he didn't attribute any need for a special position of the trail elbow. SD
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