Those who play the game of golf know the physical strain it can place on the entire body especially the lower back. The last thing any golfer wants to do is to miss a few rounds of golf because of pain or injury. Anyone who watches golf on TV can tell you that the days when players were out of shape and overweight are gone. Nowadays, each player follows a rigorous training program to stay at the top of their game throughout the year. Here are a few tips to keep you at the top of your game.
Low back pain is consistently the number one injury that golfers suffer from every year. During a proper golf swing, a player must rotate through their upper back and hips, while maintaining good low back posture. By doing this a player can harness the most power and consistency from their swing. However, when done improperly, the golf swing can turn into a violent motion, and when performed 70-120 strokes a round, can lead to back pain.
When looking at one’s golf swing, the cause for back pain can typically be attributed to two factors:
- A lack of movement, mobility or flexibility, throughout the swing coming from a player’s hips and upper back
- A lack of core and abdominal strength, causing too much movement in a player’s low back
Simply put, a player’s low back is built for stability, while a player’s upper back and hips are meant to give a player their movement throughout the swing. Too often a player’s hips and upper back remain tight, causing them to compensate by getting more movement elsewhere such as the low back.
When addressing factor number one, it is important for any golfer to include a certain amount of stretching and mobility training into their daily exercise routine. Some of the key muscle groups a player may want to stretch are their obliques, hamstrings, hip flexors, and glutes. By stretching these groups of muscles a player can help to ensure proper body mechanics throughout the entire golf season.
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The second factor is having a lack of core strength, which can also be addressed through a regular exercise program. When addressing this area it is important to train not only the abdominal (stomach) muscles, but also the ones on the sides and in the low back. Here are some exercises that can get any golfer started without any equipment.
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The most important thing that any golfer can do is to warm up properly prior to playing. By stretching and warming up one is able to increase blood flow to key areas of the body and also prepare soft tissues for the constant stretching and shortening that happens throughout a swing. When a player does not warm up prior to playing, muscles and tendons are less elastic and more prone to injury. Taking just 5-10 minutes before a round of golf can significantly lower a player’s chance for injury.
By following these tips of stretching and strengthening, any golfer can ensure that their golf season remains pain and injury free. As any golfer can tell you, more time on the course makes for a much more enjoyable year of golf.