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Golf And Your Low Back

Many local golfers are itching to get back on the course as the weather starts to warm up, and we need to make sure our backs and bodies are prepared for the demands required of us to swing the club efficiently.

Low back pain is the most common injury among golfers, and 80% of golfers report having felt some sort of back pain during or after playing golf.

Believe it or not, the joints of the low back are not meant to rotate extensively. They prefer to bend forwards and backwards. So how do we get that big turn that is required in the swing? Answer: the upper back and hips!

But what happens when you don't turn your shoulders, upper back, and hips sufficiently? You will try to recruit more rotation from elsewhere, like the vertebrae in your lower back - a part of the body that doesn’t like to rotate. It doesn't take much extra rotational strain before you over-tax the supporting muscles around the lumbar spine and they go into spasm. The results can be painful and debilitating to your golf game.

Simply put, the back goes through a lot in the golf swing – but that is OK! There are exercises that can help get the muscles in the back stronger, and the joints of the surrounding areas more mobile to better prepare your body for the golf swing and reduce the chance of injury.

As a certified medical professional through the Titleist Performance Institute, I have outlined four of my personal favorite exercises to get the back ready for a round of golf. Give these quick drills a try before your next round!

 

Bridges

Purpose: strengthen the glutes, core, and lumbar muscles. The glutes and core are extremely important muscle groups for staying in posture and developing power during the golf swing.

Instructions: Perform 2-3 sets of 10 reps. Hold for 3 seconds at the top, squeezing the glutes and abdominal muscles.

 

Open Books

Purpose: loosen up the shoulders, middle, and lower back to prepare your body for the rotation required from the golf swing.

Instructions: Perform 10 reps on each side, slow and controlled, holding for 5-10 seconds

 

Hip Openers

Purpose: This is one of my favorite drills to help loosen up the hips to put less strain on the back and help prepare them for the rotation required from the golf swing.

Instructions: slowly rotate the legs from side to side for 2 sets of 10 reps

 

Cat-Camel

Purpose: warm up the back, hip, and core muscles - better preparing the whole body to transfer energy through the hips, core, and low back during the swing.

Instructions: perform 2 sets of 10 reps, slow and controlled.

 

If you have pain with your golf game and are looking to begin an individualized physical therapy specifically for golfers, reach out to me for a consultation so I can hep you recover from your injury and reach your goals of playing pain free golf.

Keep swinging!