Random golf fitness thoughts: Instalment 4

1. The ‘modern’ golf swing may be more conducive to low back pain.

Research has suggested that players using a more classic style of golf swing experience less low back pain. If we break it down this makes perfect sense; the ‘modern’ golf swing involves turning the shoulders whilst keeping the hips relatively square and stable with the lead heel planted to create the mythical ‘x-factor’.  This means greater hip and especially t-spine mobility demands relative to a more classic style swing, where the hips are allowed to turn a lot more relative to the shoulders even to the extent of the lead heel lifting, and we already know not having appropriate t-spine and hip mobility to perform the golf swing is a contributing factor in golfers experiencing low back pain.

2. Stabilise the lumbar spine, then stabilise it some more.

I’ve talked previously about the need to develop adequate t-spine and hip mobility as when your body doesn’t have it, it will attempt to get movement elsewhere in order to make up for it, namely the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine isn’t really designed to move a great deal and requiring motion from the lumbar spine to perform the golf swing is a recipe for injury. However, we haven’t looked much at this from the other angle. Namely the need to be really really stable in the lumbar spine to prevent those excess motions in the golf swing. Core exercises, such as barbell rollouts, trx fallouts and pallof presses, as well as hip extension exercises and simply paying better attention to pelvic and rib cage positioning during movement (think neutral position, rib cage turned down and abs engaged) can have a great affect on improving lumbar stability.

3. Agnostic supersets are great, but consider spinal compression when planning them.

The agnostic method of organising supersets is one of the most popular ways of programming in total body workout set-up. The problem is, while the muscles being targeted may indeed oppose each other, you could be doubling up on the stress imposed on the skeletal frame. Here’s an example:

A1. Barbell Deadlift or RDL

A2. Barbell Standing Press or Push Press

We’ve got a pulling movement followed by a pushing movement, even though the directions of force are opposite one another both exercises place compressive load on the spine. This means the low back doesn’t get a break, often meaning that your skeletal system will become a limiting factor, not good in your pursuit of improving muscular strength. It’s important to think of the effects supersets have not only on muscles, but the bones in question, too.overhead-press

A superior alternative involving both of these exercises in a total body workout may look something like this:

A1. Barbell Deadlift or RDL

A2. Bodyweight Dip

Or

A1. Barbell Standing Press or Push Press

A2. Wide Grip Pull-Up or Lat Pulldown

In both cases, we have an example of an exercise that provides a decompression of the vertebrae after the compression imposed by the first exercise. This is a subtle change in thinking your body will thank you for.

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