By Pam Owens, Special to Lone Star Golf
industry efforts to explore safer swing techniques and fitness initiatives, too
many golfers suffer from back injuries or chronic back pain. A sedentary
lifestyle combined with over-exertion and high repetitive forces prove to be
too much load for certain segments of the spine on many players.
contrast, treating your back as if it’s fragile or overprotecting your back by
always remaining in “neutral posture” can make you weaker and even more
vulnerable to injuries. So what is a golfer to do?
my opinion, we are missing the mark on back health due to a lack of knowledge
about what humans need. The overfocus on remaining in neutral posture
throughout the day combined with the lack of daily, intentional spine movement
and the lack of safe, progressive loading contribute to a weaker core that
can’t bear the load of repetitive powerful swings.
pain can have debilitating effects and should be diagnosed and treated by
medical professionals. My goal in this article, however, is to reach golfers before
your back becomes a limiting factor. So, by using good logic and training
principles, we can protect the back.
Let's look at these facts:
daily life, our backs already move into many positions in a wide variety of
directions. Then when we reach for something on the floor and injure ourselves
we conclude that the movement caused the injury. Thus we move even less. I
believe the takeaway is not to restrict movement or loads, but to add more
non-loaded movement and progressively build loads in a variety of angles and
motions as the spine was designed to do. When you prioritize building capacity
and strength in all ranges you are less likely to get injured in golf and in
random daily motions.
have two exercises for you today. Even though these exercises do not involve
rotation they will build your ability to rotate better. These moves can be
quite challenging to do well but daily practice will build more and more
first exercise, “Segmented Cat/Cow,” helps you build mobility in each area of
the spine. By segmentally moving each area in sequence we can build the ability
to distribute any movement across more area to minimize overloading just a few
second exercise, “Core-Loaded Dead Bugs,” builds core bracing to prevent loss
of posture and allow more hip extension.
on all fours or quadruped position with your knees under your hips and your wrists
under your shoulders. Tuck the tailbone under to flex the lowest part of the
lumbar spine, then gradually flex each segment moving up through the thoracic
spine and cervical spine.
this flexed-spine position, your anterior core will be “short,” and posterior
core will be “long” or open. Then begin to lift the tailbone and extend the
lower back continuing to extend to the upper back and neck to make the back
“short” and the front of your trunk “long.”
on contracting the shortening side while stretching the opening side of the
spine. Perform two or more repetitions daily.
higher-tension version of dead bugs, a move I learned from U.S. Open champion Jon
Rahm’s workout, builds the anterior core, which can protect the lumbar spine
from over-arching and losing posture.
on your back with both legs in the air and position your lower back down into
the floor. Press your club across your thighs while simultaneously pushing your
legs into the club. Alternate sliding each leg out and back and maintain your
core brace with as much pressure as possible.
you notice your back lifting up, then elevate your hips with a towel to keep
your legs above your hips. If you still have difficulty with core stability
keep one foot on the ground and do leg slides without the club.
a small amount of time daily with these two exercises to move your complete
spine and build strength for the loads and forces of golf. Protecting your back
now will keep you on the golf course for many years to come.
Owens is the Director of Fitness for Royal Oaks Country Club in Houston and the
owner of Pam Owens Fitness. A two-time Golf Digest Top 50 Fitness Professional,
Pam helps golfers all over the world get lean, bendy and powerful with online
or in person coaching. For a free recovery routine and for more resources, click here.