July 18, 2017. Courtesy of Dennis Borg, The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention:
With summer in full swing, so is your golf game. Speaking of swings, make sure yours isn’t causing more harm than good leading to eventual injury. As part of our Health is Wealth initiative, we reached out to the Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention for useful tips for the average golfer to not only improve their swing, but to prevent injury. Dennis Borg is Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) at the Micheli Center and is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA. Other accreditations includes a Master of Science in Human Movement and a TPI Level II Certification. In this blog, he has paired his expertise with knowledge gained from the 3D Motion Analysis technology used at The Micheli Center and he was kind enough to share his top ten exercises with Centerpoint:
10 Exercises to Improve Your Golf Game, By Dennis Borg:
Three of the most common swing flaws in amateur golfers are loss of posture, early extension, and early release or scooping. All of these flaws lead to an inefficient and inconsistent swing, which cause you to shoot a higher score then you should. There are a few simple drills that you can do however to prevent these issues from happening in your swing, lowering your score, and making you feel better physically after a round.
Loss of Posture
Loss of posture occurs during the golf swing in almost two-thirds of amateur golfers and can cause low back pain as well as elbow and wrist pain. It can also lead to mishits, blocking the ball (hitting the ball too much from the inside, which pushes your ball right) or hooking the ball. To prevent this from occurring strengthening the glutes and abdominals is important as well as working on shoulder rotation and balance.
Early extension also plagues two out of every three amateur golfers and can lead to the same mishits as loss of posture along with back pain. Early extension usually occurs when a golfer has lost their posture during the back swing and ends up further away from the golf ball than at address. This is often caused from decreased hip internal rotation, poor thoracic rotation, weak glutes and abdominal muscles and the inability to separate your lower body from your upper body during the downswing. To account for this the golfer will extend their hips forward to get to the ball.
Over half of amateur golfers struggle with early release. Golfers who early release, or “scoop the club”, commonly suffer from elbow pain and/or low back pain. Scooping the club occurs when the lead wrist releases too early during the downswing and can result in inconsistent shots and a loss of power. This often occurs when the downswing is dominated by the upper body, which can be a result of lack of mobility and stability in the lower body.
Below are 5 simple exercises you can do in the gym and 5 you can use before you tee off to help alleviate these three simple issues.
In the Gym
Pigeon Pose: Stretching external rotators to help achieve internal rotation
Hip Flexor/TFL Rolling: Decreasing lumbar lordosis to help maintain posture and allow greater hip range of motion
Supine Hip internal rotation with Core Activation: Strengthening hip internal rotators while activating the core to keep good pelvic alignment
Rib Grabs: Increases thoracic rotation
Leg Lowers: Activating obliques while also working on hip hinge patterning
On the Course
Figure 4 stretch: Stretching external rotators to help achieve internal rotation
Hip Flexor with Rotation & Side Bend: Decrease lumbar lordosis to allow for hip mobility, also stretches out lats and works on thoracic rotation
W Turns: Increases thoracic rotation while separating upper body from lower body
Stork Turns: Single leg balance working on separation of the upper and lower body
Single Leg Swings: Works on balance while swinging
About the Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention: The Micheli Center is comprised of clinicians, scientists, activists, and technologists dedicated to encouraging sports and exercise, especially among children and young adults, while simultaneously preventing sports injuries. We offer our trainees evidence-based strategies to help reduce their personal risk of injury while enhancing their sports performance. The Center uses current medical and scientific information to develop practical strategies that help young athletes reduce their risk of injury as they prepare for a healthier future, seeking to advance the field of sports medicine by revealing current injury patterns and risk factors while developing new methods, strategies, and technologies, for preventing injuries.