by Malcolm Joseph
Senior Instructor– DLGA, Bradenton
It seems back problems, no matter how small, are more common than ever these days. Almost everyone has experienced it or at least knows of someone that has. Back problems effect over 70% of the working population and that number is probably higher amongst those of you who play golf.
No matter if you’re right or left handed, when you play golf you develop a repetitive twisting motion in one direction. You play twisting one way, you practice swing twisting one way and you hit balls at the range twisting one way. Have you ever stopped to think how many times you’ve twisted in that dominant direction? Thousands maybe millions, if you’ve been playing for a long time. It’s no wonder when your lower back otherwise known as the lumbar region decides enough is enough and that’s when injury occurs. We also add to this stress by the use of improper technique, inadequate warm-up and of course poor physical conditioning as we get older and we are in for a tough time.
However all is not doom and gloom. With the correct analysis, recovery plan and sufficient rest period you can bounce back from your suffering and perhaps even be a stronger and better golfer than before; whilst prolonging your golfing days.
Injuries in the lower back can be mechanical which is an injury to the surrounding muscles in the lower back; a strain of the annulus which is the stiff ligament that surrounds each disc; or by bulging/herniated discs that protrude and put pressure on the nerves in the spinal cord. In most of these cases the problems evolve from – poor technique, poor warm-up and general weakness in the core of the body.
In our teaching here at the DLGA in Bradenton we are fortunate enough to have an excellent work out facility and a knowledgeable sports performance staff to help condition our junior golfers into finely tuned athletes. We stress this side of the game not only to improve the techniques of our players by making them more flexible and stronger but also to prolong their playing careers due to better technique and overall body strength.
I have outlined five basic exercises to help you on the road to recovery and in turn, more time on the course. These exercises do not involve heavy weights and are not your normal back muscle building exercises that you might see the guys doing in the gym. They are however challenging and will help you develop a stronger core essential for a healthy body and a better golf swing.
# If you feel you have a serious problem and you feel pain or numbness in your legs please consult your doctor as there may be a more serious problem.
Using the Physio ball start with your feet on the ground and your back parallel to the floor. Then draw in your abs and crunch up. Hold for a couple of seconds and slowly return back down. This will help strengthen the stomach muscles essential for a healthy back. Repeat 12-15 times.
Exercise 2. KNEELING OPPOSITES.
Start on all fours and draw in your abs. Then slowly raise your left arm and your right leg at he same time. Try to maintain a balanced position and squeeze your glute muscle as you raise your leg. Repeat the exercise with the opposite arm and leg. Do a set of 10 for each side.
Exercise 3. SIDE PILLARS.
Begin by lying on one side in a straight line and position your elbow under your shoulder. Then again draw in your abs and raise your hips as high as you can. Hold this position for about 30 seconds and lower slowly. Once this becomes easier you can advance to the second level were you would raise your leg in the air once you have raised your hips. Repeat his exercise on both sides.
Exercise 4. BRIDGE.
Begin by lying on your back with your knees in the air squeezing a ball. Then draw in your abs and lift your hips as high as you can all the time squeezing your glute muscles as tight as possible. Hold for about 5 seconds and then slowly lower then repeat. Do this 12 -15 times.
Exercise 5. OPPOSITE SWINGING.
This is a really simple exercise but yet extremely effective in developing the equilibrium in your muscles. Very simply, if you are right handed swing left handed 20 times. If you are left handed swing right handed 20 times. Add this exercise to your work out and you’ll not only help your back remain strong you’ll see an improvement in your flexibility too.