Golf Body Movement
Is Efficient Movement Vital?
The Importance of Exercise
1. Golf body movement
The golfers body endures a series of complex dynamic explosive movements whilst at the same time absorbing some of the increased forces throughout the golf swing. Consequently the forces produced have been suggested to be nearly 8 times a golfers body weight in compressive forces to the spine which may suggest one of the reasons why injuries are common .
2. Is efficient movement vital?
Efficient movement is vital so that the golfer is able to produce and maintain the necessary forces by transferring such loads between upper and lower body parts as well as to reduce the likelihood of injury. If the golfers movement is impaired this may likely produce considerable abnormal stresses to the joints and body tissues leading to discomfort, pain, poor swing technique and injury .
3. The importance of exercise
Exercise is an important part to maintain health and well-being. To cope with physical demands (e.g. repeated increased high velocity forces as well as to endure some of the loads) a golfers body requires mobility, stability, strength and endurance for optimal performance. Exercise will help reduce the likelihood of injury as well as improve the golfer's physical fitness and performance. There are many exercises suitable to each individual needs however in this Health News article we will focus very briefly on low back pain.
4. The science
Research suggests that golfers that complain of low back pain often have a reduced range of motion such as hip internal rotation with the lead leg, deficient low back extension and or with delayed timing of muscle activation (e.g. knee extensors, spinal erectors) [3-5]. Our Biomechanical assessments can help identify movement impairments and compensatory patterns to help reduce the likelihood of injury. This is then supplemented with a tailored exercise program suitable to individual needs to help improve optimal performance.
It is estimated that 60 million people worldwide play golf. 80% of golf related injuries have been reported to be overuse injuries and injuries can occur at any level due to function of age and frequency of play. It is no surprise that low back dysfunction is one of the most common complaints seen in golf today . For this very reason in this Health News article I will very briefly discuss the following:-
5. Recommended exercises
Depending on each individual case researchers however suggest that strengthening and stretching exercises should focus on the lower spine (lumbar) and limbs including abdominal muscles to help improve function and to reduce pain. Individualised training programs tailored for individual needs will also help reduce the likelihood of injury occurrence and therefore must comprise a variety of exercises to cope with such physical demands. For example: - by helping to improve range of motion of tight overactive muscles. Strengthening and stretching exercises to improve weak, inhibited muscles and by improving neuromuscular control through an integrated training program recommended by a health care professional [6-7].
Back pain can be very complex and each integrated training programs will vary for each case. What may work well for one individual may not necessarily work well for another. Therefore if in doubt or if you have a niggle or pain that is bothering you always seek a health care professional for advice such as a Sports Therapist. Below are just a few brief descriptions of some benefits of certain exercises that may help although there are many others...
The Squat Exercise - helps to develop strength in thigh, gluteal and the hip muscles amongst others to help with initial power during the golf swing.
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Hamstring Curls on a Stability Ball - promotes balance and body awareness. Main muscles involved are the hamstrings, calf’s, gluteal and low back extensor muscles. This enables the golfer to learn how to efficiently co-ordinate their legs correctly as well as to improve strength along the posterior chain for propulsion. Particularly useful exercise for those golfers that tend to collapse their knee inwards towards the midline during the back swing which may make the drive more difficult towards and on to the target side leg during the downward swing phase of the stroke.
The Side Plank Exercise - utilises shoulder, upper arm and trunk muscles to help develop strength and to endure high velocity swings particularly useful when the golfer experiences resistance such as playing in deep rough terrain.
Back Extension Exercises (position lying face down) - this exercise involves shoulder, upper arm, trunk, hip and thigh muscle activation to help develop strength and stability for a consistent swing.
The list goes on..
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Gosheger G, Liem D, Ludwig K, Greshake O, Winkelmann W. Injuries and overuse syndromes in golf.. 2003;31(3):438-443.
Snijders CJ, Ribbers MT, de Bakker HV, Stoeckart R, Stam HJ. EMG recordings of abdominal and back muscles in various standing postures: validation of a biomechanical model on sacroiliac joint stability. . 1998; 8:205-14.