This year’s BackCare Awareness Week runs form the 7th to the 11th October and the theme covers Back Pain in Golf.
We think this is a great idea and we would like to support the charity by bringing our readers some simple techniques to help golfers prevent back pain, and as we all know, prevention is better than cure!
The BackCare team have produced a display pack which will include several informative booklets and posters covering:
- Back pain in golf
- New A5 booklet
- New A3 poster
- Back pain get help A5 booklet
- 2 copies of special edition of their Talkback magazine
- Flyer of "Fast Facts"
UK - How Much Do We Love Golf?
Here in the UK we really love our golf and we won’t even let the rain put us off this great form of exercise. Did you know that England has the highest number of registered golf courses in Europe? Clocking up a whopping total of 1,872, followed by Germany with 731. With so many of us out there golfing we should give some thought to the effects it can have on our bodies.
The average 18-hole golf course takes between 4 and 6 miles to walk. The average time spent on your feet is about 4 hours when playing 18 holes so, one thing that's obvious, if you haven’t played in a while your legs are definitely going to feel the effects of all that time spent on them.
When we think logically about what we golfers do to our bodies, it's no surprise that injuries are commonplace. How often do you see an amateur golfer doing a warm-up routine? How many times have you heard about a golfer's training plan? It's not usually considered until after an injury - by which time it's too late.
The action of swinging the club really works a muscle called the quadratus lumborum as well as the obliques so ensuring these muscles are strong is going to help stabilise your core and support your spine. The repetition of the movement can take a toll on the lower back so ensuring your core is solid will help you in preparation for any future rounds.
Another common problem golfers face, as well as good opponents, is muscle imbalance. The repeated movement of swinging a club on one side can lead to some level of muscle imbalance. Simply put, one side can become over developed and fatigued whilst the other side remains weak and over stretched.
The team at Sense has put together a few quick tips for golfers, providing some helpful advice that covers the very basics to help keep you fit on the fairway and hopefully injury free.
- Get a strength training plan to work on key muscles when you’re not on the green to help create a strong low back and core area. Below is a routine of strength-based exercises, a short warm-up routine and some cool-down stretches to keep your lower back in tip top condition.
- Factor in some 4 to 5-mile ambles to get the legs equipped for those all-important golf days.
- Have a short warm-up routine and some dynamic stretches to prep you for your game and keep you injury free.
- After the game stretch, apply ice to any sore muscles and if you can, a hot soak will help to relax those tired muscles. If you're lucky enough to be at a fabulous golf course that's equipped with a sauna and stream room, try to take full advantage of that! Your body will thank you in later years.
The Strength Plan
It's important that when doing any strengthening exercises that you don't do too much too soon. Always build up your exercises over time and remember that if you experience pain you should stop and seek advice from your doctor.
Top Four Moves for a rock-hard core.
We want this quick routine to be fast and effective, a workout that can be done anywhere and quick enough, so that you can do it every day. Regularity is important, just like getting plenty of practice will do wonders for reducing your handicap.
1. The Plank
Why? Because it’s a static exercise with next to no risk of injury. It will warm up the body before other exercises and can be done anywhere, also it can be made really challenging! Most people find holding a one-minute plank a good benchmark to work towards, so if this one is new to you grab the stopwatch and time how long you can hold the move. Absolutely no back dipping, just as the name suggests the body should be held like a plank of wood, nice and strong and flat. Once you are up to one minute mark you can start to make this harder by lifting one leg off the ground, hold for 10 seconds and then lift the other leg. Alternate until you are done. No excuses - this is super quick and who doesn’t have a minute?
2. Side Bends
Grab some iron and let’s do some weightlifting to build strong muscles! We want to target that mid-section of muscles and this is as easy as they come. With a weight in each hand, pull in the stomach muscles, ensure you can feel the whole girdle area contracting. Slowly bend to the side, allow the weight to run down the outside of the leg and then return back to a straight standing position. Stick on the same side and do 10 repetitions. When you have done that side do 10 on the other and repeat to complete 3 sets. Do them slowly with enough weight so that when you have completed the last repetitions it should be challenging.
3. Rotational Cable Pulls.
This exercise will work the quadratus lumborum and apply a similar action as a golf swing. 10 reps x 3 sets each side.
If you are suffering from muscular imbalance this can be a great move to help re-balance the body. To re-balance work the opposite side of the body only from which you swing (10 reps x 3 sets)
4. Medicine ball rotation turns and slams
Level 1 – standing in a lunge position, rotate a medicine ball from left to right, change legs and repeat. This movement should be fast but controlled. 10 each side x 3 sets.
Level 2 - Once level 1 is mastered either increase the weight or add a lunge jump in-between each changeover of the legs. This can be challenging. Please omit the jump if you have knee problems.
Level 3 – Slams. As above but now we add in a floor slam. Throw the medicine ball to the ground as hard as you can, pick up the ball, jump lunge onto other leg and repeat. Heart rate should be up but keep the abdominals and core tight whilst preforming this exercise.
The 8-Step Golfing Warm Up
- Shoulder rolls 3 forward 3 back.
- Full arm rotations 3 back 3 forward each side.
- Body rotations, elbows bent, alternate 6 times.
- Body rotation – same side 3 times extend the arm back – change sides.
- Pelvic hip rolls – 3 times to the right and 3 to the left. Abs contracted
- High side to side lunges – open out the hip flexors.
- Slow lower side to side lunges with a short pause.
- Knee bends to loosen the ankles and calves.
Remember to perform all movements in a controlled manor.
These are our favourite stretches for golfers. Follow this standing stretch routine at your own level. Take care to stop if you feel any pain.
Gently, hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
These stretches are really quick and easy but they are all very beneficial for the body and helps keep you injury free.