Want to play the game we all love for as long as possible? Of course you do!
The golf swing is not an easy motion on the body and your posture likely sucks – You sit a lot and you stare at a lot of screens.
In order to play for as long as possible, you need to make caring for your body a priority in order to prevent injury and insure lifelong orthopedic health.
The first step is to get your training program rebalanced. Generally speaking most gym goers push more than they pull, leading to a host of potential problems down the road. Take a look at your current program and make sure to get a 2:1 ratio of pulling to pushing exercises.
Once that’s taken into account use these exercises to straighten out your posture and keep you on the course for the long haul.
No. 1 – Face Pulls
The face pull may be the most versatile loaded training tool in our arsenal for remediating poor shoulder and thoracic positioning. It provides the exact opposite movements to the ones we’re continuously pulled into on a daily basis.
This movement incorporates humeral horizontal abduction and external rotation of the shoulder and retracts the shoulder blades – all helping combat the hunched over, constantly adducted, internally rotated and protracted posture.
Slouching over a phone or computer reading this? that’s the poor position I’m talking about!
Don’t be fooled into thinking the face pull is just another dainty corrective exercise either. Sure, it can be programmed into any successful dynamic warm-up or activation technique for prepping the shoulders and rotator cuff, but you can also load this pattern up for a results-producing training effect.
No. 2 – Rear Foot Elevated Split-squats
To me the rear-foot elevated split squat might offer the biggest bang for you buck of any squat or single-leg exercise. You get the stability requirements of standing on one-leg, ycan load some heavy ass weight up with it, and it also provides some direct dynamic mobility work for the hip flexors of the leg which is placed in the elevated position (achieving an extended hip position with a flexed knee puts a nice stretch through the superficial and deep hip flexor groups while challenging this position under stability and strength requisites). All this adds up to you getting a downright brutal training effect when executed properly.
And there’s more! Not only does this movement have the ability to be loaded up, but done so in a safe manner. It actually protects the lower spine.
The single leg nature of the movement incorporates a reciprocal pelvic position that deloads the lower spinal segments and helps protect notoriously vulnerable segments from unwanted shear stress. When done with the weight loaded in a front racked manner the greater core activation will help to prevent anterior pelvic tilt during the movement (a particular problem in exercises like back squats) and hold the spine in neutral.
Basically RFESS’s mean you can strengthen the lower body without putting the spine under as much load.
No. 3 – 1-leg rotational med-ball taps
The relationship between a loss of balance and ageing has been long established. Put simply the longer you are able to maintain your level of balance ability, the more likely you are to stay active, healthy and without the need for rehab. Additionally, static balance proficiency has been associated with improved performance in baseball pitching, a movement that usually exhibits pretty good carryover to the golf swing.
The 1-leg rotational med-ball tap is a nice exercise to develop static balance whilst beginning to learn to disassociate the upper and lower body, and correct rotation mechanics.
No. 4 – Loaded carries
The loaded carry is another class of movement that is absolutely pivotal for every single person on earth to practice and master.
World class experts have been passionately teaching the loaded carry for years to tap into both a prehab model of the spine and synergistic neuromuscular stability patterns that link up the shoulders, core, and hips.
When executed properly, loaded carries are pretty much the ultimate form of core training. Indeed, low back and core health expert Dr. Stuart McGill, considers the programming of loaded carries absolutely essential.
So why does the loaded carry keep you healthy and functioning above all other core specific movements? The phenomenon of what Dr. McGill has coined “super-stiffness,” this can be explained as a rhythmic and timely firing pattern around a region of joints to maintain an optimal position.
The loaded carry does just that, and then some. Not only are the four layers of the abdominal wall being activated, but also the hip and shoulder complexes that can have the ability manipulate the position of the spine, especially when they become dynamic in nature.
Don’t dismiss the carry as just an optional metabolic finisher. When programmed with parameters of progressive overload, the carry can be advanced to match increasing levels of your skill and strength.
No. 5 – Glute bridge
If you haven’t got the idea from this post already, spinal health is a big deal if you plan on playing golf or moving in general for the rest of your life. Glute strength is a vital component spinal health.
You can prevent spinal injury through training the lower pillar of your spine in a more concentrated dynamic nature.
From the simplistic supine bodyweight glute bridge to the loaded hip thrust, the popularization of glute training has never been more mainstream.
The glute max forms a highly influential structure, with specific attachment points throughout the posterior pelvic structure, that plays a major role in enhancing both posture and stability throughout the lower lumbar segments. The glute medius may be equally as important to long-term function, responsible for both lateral hip stability and alignment.
From athletic performance to avoiding hip fractures later on in life, targeting the glutes directly translates into function. Manipulate range of motion, rhythm, and loading variables in training, and the glutes will enhance global function in every step of your life and undo the poor postural stresses of daily sitting while also firing up the posterior chain.