Wellness Wednesday: Injuries in golf
August 06, 2014
By Sean Cochran , PGATOUR.COM
- August 06, 2014
- Sean Cochran demonstrates the Alternating Arm & Leg Extension exercise which improves core stability. (Sean Cochran/PGA TOUR)
Golf, as with any sport, has an injury rate for the both the professional and amateur player. As discussed last week research indicates one out of every two golfers will incur a lower back injury at some point during their playing career.
The cause of injuries in the sport of golf comes down to a number of reasons. First and foremost the golf swing is a unilateral athletic action placing high amounts of stress upon the kinetic chain (neural, soft tissue, articular systems of the body) each and every swing over an extended period of time. The rate of efficiency by which the golfer executes the biomechanics of the swing will determine the level of stress placed upon the body.
An amateur golfer will typically place larger amounts of stress on the body due to lower levels of efficiency in the execution of the swing relative to the professional player whom performs the swing with a much higher level of efficiency.
The second factor relative to injury rates in the sport of golf is the body. The golf swing requires certain levels of mobility, flexibility, strength, endurance, and power to perform efficiently. If the body is lacking in the required levels of muscular flexibility, strength, power, or endurance, the ability to execute a proficient swing over an extended period of time will be limited. Thus fatiguing and stressing the body to a greater degree.
Finally, we must keep in mind the term workloads. Workloads are the amount of swings performed over a period of time. This time frame can be days, weeks, or even an entire season. Workloads must be “matched up” to a golfer’s physical levels of conditioning and biomechanical efficiencies.
If a golfer is physically de-conditioned workloads must be altered in order to avoid fatigue and potential injury.
If the efficiency by which the golfer executes the biomechanics of the swing is low, greater stress is placed on the body every swing, and again workloads must be adjusted to compensate.
Finally, regardless of how strong or efficient the mechanics of the swing may be, if workloads are too high, breakdowns will occur.
We typically will find the professional golfer physically sound and efficient in the execution of the golf swing. Workloads are where the professional player will typically get off-track. The amateur player on the other hand is a combination of physical conditioning, biomechanical efficiencies, and workloads in the process of injury prevention.
A nice mantra to keep in mind is the following: “You are only as strong as your weakest link and only efficient as your poorest mechanic."
That being said and knowing the importance of physical conditioning in the execution of the golf swing two very good exercises for the golfer to perform are the Alternating Arm & Leg Extension and Figure Four.
Alternating Arm & Leg Extension
Goal: Improved Core Stability
• 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.
• Simultaneously extend the left arm and right leg.
• Extend both the arm and leg until completely straight.
• Hold this position for one second and return to the starting position of the exercise.
• Repeat the exercise for 10-15 repetitions and repeat with opposite arm and leg.
Goal: Increased Hip Mobility & Soft Tissue Extensibility
• Lay on the floor, knees bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor.
• Slowly place the outside of your right ankle on the thigh of the left leg.
• Grasp the right ankle with your left hand and place the right hand on the inside of the right knee.
• Elevate the left leg to a position where the lower leg is parallel to the floor and the knee is bent at 90 degrees.
• Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat with the opposite leg.
Tip: Maintain a 90-degree bend in the knee when elevating the leg.
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 The 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