According to the Titleist Performance Institute low back pain is by far the most common injury picked up by golfers. Data from over 31000 golfers showed a 28% incidence of lower back pain after every round. When we break down the golf swing we find there are incredible rotational forces going through the spine and to protect the back and minimise the chance of back pain we have to ensure correct conditioning of the relevant core muscles.
Some of the injuries includes but is not exclusive to, Muscle Strains, Ligamentous Sprains, Disc Injury, Altered Joint Mechanics, Degenerative Arthritis and Bone fractures, we can see just how important core muscles are in the prevention of injuries and a added benefit of a strong core is more power translating to the club face and more distance on the ball!
Everybody’s biomechanics differ a little and for effective exercise prescription is a good idea to speak to someone like a TPI certified trainer who understands the mechanics of golf and has specific tests to find your specific weak link to strengthen and prevent back pain.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Five of the most effective exercises to protect the back are the ones listed below, they can also be adjusted to be more or less challenging according to your level of fitness.
1) Bird Dog Club Perpendicular
Start on a 4 point stance position; place a club across the back on the lower back/hip. Extend the opposite arm and leg until horizontal with the floor and return to the starting position. The club on the back should stay balanced the whole time. This is a good exercise to get the core going but also good for hip/back dissociation.
2) Bridge with Leg Extension
Start on the back with feet flat on the ground. Squeeze the hips into the air until a straight line can be drawn from the knees through the hips into the shoulders. Extend one leg now and lower the hips to the ground until the Glutes touch the floor lightly then push the hips back into the air using the Glutes..
3) Dead Bugs Opposite Arm and Leg
Lie down flat on the back arms pointing up to the ceiling and leg in the air knees bent ninety degrees. Lower opposite arm and leg to the ground and return to the original position, taking care to keep the spine stable.
4) Prone Plank – Alternating Leg and arms
This is a variation on a normal plank, start on a plank on the elbows, hold it for fifteen seconds, next lift one leg off the ground and hold for fifteen seconds, repeat with other leg and arms and finish off with a normal front plank again.
5) Chop – Resisted No Rotation Half-Kneeling
You will need an adjustable cable machine for this one, kneel side on to the cable. The kneeling leg should be furthest away from the cable. Hold the handle against the chest with both hands. Push your hands straight forward making sure there is no rotation in the torso or hips.