Exercises to Prevent Golf Injuries
Are you a golfer? Or do you just enjoy playing golf? Either way, as a golfer, you want to stay injury-free to practice and play regularly, which ultimately lets you hone your skills and elevate your performance.
To help avoid injury and boost level of play, you need to understand how two key muscle and soft-tissue systems—the posterior oblique system and the anterior oblique system—affect the golf swing.
Here are two exercises to help prevent golf injuries from St. Louis, Brentwood and Clayton, MO personal trainers.
Posterior Oblique System
The posterior oblique system consists of muscles, fascia and connective tissue that run diagonally across the back of the torso and hips. Its primary muscles are the gluteus maximus and latissimus dorsi. This cross-body myofascial system enables you to create power and force to hit the ball farther while reducing stress and averting potential injury to bony structures in the knees, hips, lower back, shoulders and arms.
Anterior Oblique Movements
Golf swings also rely on the anterior oblique system’s adductor muscles and external obliques on the opposite side of the body. Like the muscles of the posterior oblique system, these tissues work in a cross-body fashion during a golf swing.
When a right-handed golfer takes a backswing, the left hip/leg externally rotates as the pelvis, spine and shoulders rotate clockwise (when viewed from above). As the pelvis and torso move away from the left leg, the left adductor group of muscles and right external oblique muscles lengthen under tension. The tautness that this creates in the myofascial system reduces potential for injury to the hips, sacroiliac joint, spine, rib cage and shoulder girdle during the backswing. Releasing this tension produces a forceful downward rotation to let you hit the ball farther. Once the ball is struck, the right adductors and left external obliques (on the other side of the body) lengthen to decelerate overall stress to the skeleton.
SPECIFIC EXERCISES FOR GOLFERS
Lunge with Rotation
This exercise strengthens the posterior oblique system by increasing internal rotation of the hip/leg and boosting torso rotation.
Lunge forward with your left leg, keeping your spine erect and shoulders level. As you lunge forward, reach down and gently pull your left knee toward the midline of your body while swinging your left arm behind you. As you rotate your torso, keep your left foot firmly in contact with the ground. As you stand up out of the lunge, rotate your torso and arms back to center. Perform 10—15 repetitions on each side of the body. Do 2—3 sets.
Swiss Ball Side Lunge
Note: If this exercise is too balance challenging for you, perform it from a BOSU ball.
This exercise strengthens the anterior oblique system by increasing external rotation of the hip/leg and boosting torso rotation. Transferring weight onto the standing leg during this exercise also strengthens the posterior oblique system.
Place your left foot on a gym ball as you balance yourself with your right leg. Roll the gym ball out to your left side with your left foot as you perform a single–leg squat with your right leg. As you squat, rotate your arms over your right leg as though you were taking a backswing in golf. Try to keep your right knee toward the midline as you perform this movement.
Placing more weight on your left leg (on top of the ball) stresses the anterior oblique system during this movement, while putting more weight on your right leg strengthens the posterior oblique system. Perform 10—15 repetitions on each side. Do 2—3 sets.
For more information on exercises to prevent golf injuries, contact Maurie Cofman, CMES, CES, TBMM-CES, Personal Trainer, Certified Medical Exercise Specialist, Health Coach and Corrective Exercise Specialist in the St. Louis, Brentwood, and Clayton, MO area.