Golf can be a frustrating game as it is, let alone adding some nagging aches and lingering stiffness to the pile.
These things can literally ruin a good round, stopping you from lowering that handicap.
You may know all the mechanics and have a swing that works for you, but what if it is coming at a cost? Or better yet, the things you do outside of golf are actually contributing to your stiffness.
Usually poor movement patterns are represented in our day to day lives and create a compounding effect that tends to show most with higher levels of activity.
Most of the time a lack of mobility in the hips creates extra strain on the low back.
It doesn't mean that you don't rotate in your hips at all. It just means you may run out of the rotation you need for a full swing beforehand,. At the stopping point, the back compensates and tries to take over to make up for lost rotation.
Now you are swinging out of your back first, before you can gain some mobility in the hips again, causing the back to tighten up over time with its use.
So how can we address this?
First we need to unlock the back a little bit so we can reduce the overall strain on it, allowing us to get after the hips a little more.
A toe touch variation is a great start to loosen the back, and below is a video on how to do 2 variations. You want to make sure the knees stay straight and you ARE NOT forcing the bend. Exhale on the descent, inhale slowly at the bottom, exhale as you ascend again.
Note: Heels elevated will open up the lower back above the pelvis, and the toes elevated will open up in the lower sacrum area.
Next we can learn how to increase mobility from the hips while learning how to turn to our left or right.
It's quite simply done thru a rolling pattern that involves the leg to lead the motion.
Below is a video on how to complete the rolls, and you want to make sure you do not hold your breath during this. The leg leads the roll and the upper body just goes for the ride. When the top leg rolls over, you are learning how to open up that back of the hip on the top leg and the front of the hip on the bottom leg. Doing both ways can help you capture full rotation in the hips on both sides.
Now you have a couple of strategies to loosen up the back and the hips right on the course so you can finish a solid round.
This is a starting point. You may have something more involved going on with your swing or mechanics that is causing strain on the hips or the back beyond what these solutions can provide..
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Dr. Peter Dionisopoulos is the owner and founder of Dynamic Performance & Rehab. He has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and enjoys to help active adults maintain their lifestyle and provide natural solutions to their pain.