Liz Lubbe, Physical Therapist at Apex Fitness in Cross River, says it’s crucial to maintain flexibility, strength, stability, and balance to produce an effective golf swing. Your back, she points out, is literally at the center of it all. “With each golf swing, your body undergoes a combination of rotational, compression, stretching, and shearing forces,” she says, “that can result in back pain due to weakness in your core and glutes and lack of flexibility.”
In addition, according to PGA pro Chris Case, poor swing mechanics result in back injuries and pain. Case says, “These are most commonly due to poor sequencing and the inability to separate the movement of the upper and lower body.”
Lubbe points out that golf-related injuries can be minimized by 1) developing proper technique, addressing any structural challenges, and developing a good, individualized game plan; and 2) improving your physical limitations: tightness, weakness, and functional balance instabilities.
She recommends these three back-protecting exercises:
Seated in chair. Repeat each 10 times and hold each for 20 seconds.
Bend from the waist toward the ground stretching the lower back out.
Straighten one leg out with heel on the floor. Flex your foot back and gently lean forward with both hands towards your ankle. Feel the stretch behind your leg, knee, and calf.
Cross right ankle over left knee and lean forward towards your right foot until you feel the stretch in the right buttock.
Repeat 10 times and holding each for five seconds.
Lay on the ground, knees bent and feet flat. Tighten the core muscles and slowly raise your buttocks in a bridge position. Add a small ball between knees and squeeze the ball as you bridge up. Then tie a belt above your knees to push knees open as you lift.
Repeat 10 times.
Stand in a semi-squat position with feet shoulder width apart. Hold a 3-5lb weight with both hands and rotate from your hips to your thoracic spine, mimicking the golf swing, keeping the weight below shoulder level. Transfer your weight from right leg to the left leg while keeping your core and glutes tight.