Golf: 2 Exercises for Strength and Flexibility
Get tips for improving your strength and flexibility to avoid pain from being on the golf course.
Back pain. Not even Tiger Woods is immune to it — his back spasm in the final round at the 2013 edition of The Barclays tournament may have cost him the championship. And he had been suffering from lower back stiffness the entire week of play.
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As superbly conditioned as Woods is, back pain can still be one of any golfer’s biggest challenges to play through.
To avoid any kind of back injury on the golf course, experts say: Be flexible and get strong in your core.
Golfers can do specific stretches and exercises that will help them not only avoid injury but also play their best game, says Timothy Ertle, MPT, Physical Therapist, Cleveland Clinic Sports Health.
Being better conditioned helps people avoid injury related to repetitive movements, which cause 82 percent of all golf injuries.
Consider that the average golfer takes about 9,000 swings per year, including rounds played and time spent practicing at the range. The lumbar spine is most vulnerable to injury because each full golf swing places the spine at, or near, the end-range of available spine movement. Gaining flexibility and strength in this area is important.
Golfers who are more flexible can hit the ball further, because they are able to recoil more energy into their backswing and release this energy when they strike the golf ball.
One good stretch for the lumbar spine is the “open book” stretch. This stretch improves lumbar rotation range of motion and is helpful in improving your backswing flexibility. You can do this stretch every day.
To perform the stretch:
A strong core allows a golfer to maintain spine angle and the stability of each spinal segment while the body moves through each phase of the golf swing.
This is important because, as the number of strokes increases, so does the potential for fatigue, which leads to a gradual loss of coordination of the deep muscles that control and stabilize the spine. The lumbar joints, disc and muscles are then more susceptible to forces leading to a potential joint breakdown, sprains and strains.
Incorporate a good core strengthening exercise into your regimen three to five times a week. A good exercise to try is the prone alternating leg extension.
To perform the exercise: