Golf and injury prevention
The greatest game on earth.. can also cause nagging injuries (physical and emotional).
Golf is a sport that requires a great deal of skill and technique, but it also involves a lot of physical activity. As such, golfers are prone to injuries, particularly if they do not properly prepare their bodies for the sport.
One resource that we frequently turn to for guidance on injury prevention in golfers is the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI). The TPI is a research and education organization that is dedicated to the study of the golf swing and how it relates to the human body. They have identified several key areas that golfers should focus on to reduce their risk of injury and improve their performance on the course.
Stability and Mobility
Of primary importance to golfers is good stability in the low back and sacroiliac region, plus mobility through the hips and low back. The primary rotational muscles in the core, back, and hips, are critical for generating power and stability in the golf swing. However, if these muscles are weak or imbalanced, they can lead to a range of injuries, including back pain, hip pain, and even elbow and shoulder injuries.
To improve basic stability, golfers should focus on exercises that target the intrinsic muscles, such as planks, bird dogs, and side planks.
From there we focus on rotational strength such as the pallof press or cable chops.
Additionally, golfers should work on improving their overall hip flexor, hip rotators and thoracic spine mobility.
Eccentric loading of common core rotational muscles is another approach that we use with golfers looking to explore more explosive muscle strength, Of course this is generalizing things a little bit too much. It would be of benefit to any golfer to have their strength and mobility assessed by a qualified therapist.
Before hitting the course, golfers should take the time to warm up their bodies and prepare their muscles for the physical demands of the game. This can include exercises such as jogging, hip 90/90s, and dynamic stretching, which can help to improve blood flow and flexibility. This dynamic hip mobility program by Prehab Guys is pretty awesome too.
Golfers who repeatedly swing with poor technique, such as using too much upper body instead of incorporating the hips and legs, can put a great deal of stress on their muscles and joints. This can lead to injuries such as golfer’s elbow, rotator cuff tears, and lower back pain.
Golfers who use equipment that is not properly fitted to their bodies can also be at risk for injury. For example, using a club that is too long or too heavy can cause undue stress on the joints and muscles, while using a club with a grip that is too small or too large can lead to grip pressure issues and potential wrist and hand injuries.
There are also specific exercises and techniques that golfers can use to address their individual needs and reduce their risk of injury. For example, golfers who struggle with low back pain may benefit from strength exercises that target the glutes and hamstrings, while golfers with shoulder pain may benefit from exercises that focus on the rotator cuff muscles.
At our clinic, we work with golfers of all ages and skill levels to develop personalized injury prevention plans that address their unique needs and goals. These exercises are merely a guideline and you should always consult with your physiotherapist, massage therapist or naturopathic doctor should you have any pre-existing injuries or if you’d like some guidance.
Also see: Should I get Imaging for My Low Back Pain?
Titleist Performance Institute. 5 Common Mistakes In Golf Strength & Conditioning
Titleist Performance Institute. Weight Training for Golf
Titleist Performance Institute. The Health and Performance Benefits of Eccentric Focused Training
Lindsay DM et al. Golf-related low back pain: a review of causative factors and prevention strategies. Asian J Sports Med. 2014.