Wellness Wednesday: Lower back injuries in golf
July 28, 2014
By Sean Cochran, PGATOUR.COM
- July 28, 2014
- Sean Cochran demonstrating the T-Spine Opener exercise. It addresses upper back mobility to assist in rotation. (Sean Cochran/PGA TOUR)
Statistics point to the fact one out of every two golfers will incur a lower back injury at some point during there playing career. This includes golfers from the professional ranks down to the amateur level.
A number of reasons exist for this 50 percent rate of injury in the sport of golf. The actual biomechanics of the swing place high loads and shear forces on the lower back. Secondly, the repetitive action of the swing continually places load and stresses on the kinetic chain. Finally, if the golfer executes the swing in an inefficient manner, the stresses placed upon the body are much higher.
These points indicate a necessity by any golfer to implement preventative exercises addressing the lower back region. These preventative exercises are typically a combination of mobility and core stability exercises. Mobility to increase joint range of motion and soft tissue pliability, and core stability exercises to strengthen the musculature of lower back.
To begin this process of lower back injury prevention the golfer can utilize the two following exercises within their programming; T-Spine Openers and the Side Plank.
T-Spine Openers address upper back mobility to assist in rotation and the Side Plank increases the stabilization capacities of the core.
• Place both of your hands on the floor directly under the shoulders
• Position both of your knees directly under the hips, eyes looking down and back flat
• Place the left hand on the back of your neck
• Pull the hips backwards towards the heels keeping the hands in position
• Slowly rotate the left elbow towards the right arm
• Continue to rotate until the left elbow touches the right arm
• Reverse the rotation of the elbow away from your right arm
• Rotate the elbow to your left and upward as far as possible
• Allow the shoulders, chest and torso to rotate during the movement
• Return to starting position and perform 15 repetitions, repeat with opposite arm
• Begin on your right side, elbow directly under the right shoulder, forearm on the floor
• Extend your legs straight with the left leg on top of your right
• Straighten the left arm upward into the air
• Do not permit your right elbow to be placed in front or behind the shoulder on this exercise, doing so may cause discomfort in the shoulder capsule
• Elevate your hips off the floor to a position in-line with the feet and shoulders
• Hold this position for 30-60 seconds
• Do not allow the hips to “sage” during the exercise
• Repeat on the opposite side
About the Author: Sean Cochran, one of the most recognized performance coaches in sports today. A career spanning positions with 2 major league baseball organizations, over 10 years on the PGA Tour and work with top professionals including three-time Masters, PGA, and British Open Champion Phil Mickelson, future hall of fame pitcher Trevor Hoffman, and World Series MVP Cole Hamels. He has been involved in the production of numerous performance videos and authored books including; Performance Golf Fitness, Complete Conditioning for Martial Arts, and Fit to Hit. He has been a presenter of educational seminars for numerous organizations including the world renowned Titleist Performance Institute.
About our sponsor: Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Ky., is a leading health care company that offers a wide range of insurance products and health and wellness services that incorporate an integrated approach to lifelong well-being. As part of an ongoing commitment to lifelong well-being, Humana partnered with free smartphone app Charity Miles to bring its popular Walkit program back to the PGA TOUR in 2014. For every mile app users walk, Charity Miles will donate 25 cents to national charities. Additionally, Humana will match all workout-based donations up to $20,000 to support charities in participating tournament markets. For more information on Humana’s offerings and PGA TOUR sponsorship, visit www.humana.com