There’s never a time to be more antsy than right before tee time! This is your time to relax, drop every stress from work and focus on the green. Most golfers want to just rush right on to the turf and start swinging. However, you must always consider a warm-up before teeing off, especially when looking to avoid back pain.
Proper warm up will be important to treating your back properly while on the course. You want to create a routine that you will do without even thinking about it. Nothing will strain your muscles more than grabbing a club and taking an immediate swing. You should shoot for at least a 15 minutes warm-up and focus on the following:
Beginning at the top, you want to make sure to loosen your neck muscles. You can rotate your neck from side to side, flex your neck down as if you are staring at a stain on your shirt (flexion) and laterally stretch by looking forward, then bringing your head down to either side as if you were trying to touch your ear to your shoulder. These three neck stretches should help the blood flow through to these muscles.
b. Shoulder and Chest
For your shoulder, you can bring one arm over and behind your head, while grabbing it with the other arm. This is a nice stretch that should be felt from your shoulder to your elbow. It is also good to open up your chest. Clasp your hands behind your back and lift up. You should also feel a very nice stretch here in your chest and upper body.
c. Forearm and Wrists
A very commonly overlooked area to stretch is your forearm and wrist. Stretching them may not be the biggest way to help your lower back, but stretching out all parts of your body is important, and this one is super easy. Simply extend one arm out and lock out at the elbow. Next, take your opposite hand and bend the extended wrist downward as far as possible. Do this with your palm facing down and also facing upward.
d. Lateral Back
While standing upright, grab a club (any club will do) and raise it above your head with both hands, horizontally. Now, bend to the left and to the right while keeping your pelvis steady. Hold and repeat until you begin to feel loose.
e. Toe Touch
Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, slowly bend forward at the waist and work to touch your toes. There are variations of flexibility depending on your ability, but the more you stretch, the more likely you’ll get closer to touching your toes or the ground. Keep in mind, do not bounce while performing this stretch. A simple modification (if this seems painful) is to sit on a bench and then try to bend to touch your toes.
f. Lower Back
A simple trunk rotation can really help to loosen your lower back. You can perform this stretch by sitting on a bench or in your golf cart. Sit straight up and while keeping your hips facing forward, twist your body to one side and look over shoulder.
g. Leg (hamstring, quad and calf)
Your legs definitely help to support your back, so keep them loose and limber. You can start by stretching one leg up on a bench or your golf cart and reach to grab your toes. Be sure to keep your back straight during this stretch and you’ll feel a nice pull in your hamstrings. For your quads, you can stand straight up and bend one leg backward as if you kicking your butt with your heel. Here, be sure to keep your leg in line with your body and not sticking out to the side. Lastly, stretch those calves by planting your heel on the ground and placing the ball of your foot against a wall or maybe the tire of your golf cart. Gently lean into this move, but always keep your knee straight.
The Swing (and don’t miss)
Once you’ve managed to get loosened up, the next way to take care of your lower back is to practice your swing. Your swing includes lots of torque (force) and torsion (twisting) in order to drive that club head at great speed. This all affects your lower back greatly. Working to make your swing smooth and rhythmic, will help reduce unnecessary stress on your lower back.
Use the Force (but gently)
Grab your bag
Indirectly involved with your golf game is how you hold and carry your golf bag. Many golfers haul it around without even thinking. Next time you are on the green, pay attention to it. Make sure you are bending properly to pick it up, and it is advisable to use a bag with dual straps in order to evenly distribute the weight of the bag between your shoulders.
Lower back pain can really put a damper on your golf game, but there are ways to reduce existing pain and minimize further damage. Before you get ready to hit the turf, be sure to take care of your back through stretching, swinging and being kind to your body. With the proper precautions, you can have a lower back pain free golf game.
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