Do you remember the children’s song about how everything is connected? The neck bone’s connected to the shoulder bone, the shoulder bone’s connected to the chest bone, etc. Well keeping this in mind as you begin the new season of golfing as it may help you prevent injuries along the way.
Let’s start with the golf swing. To avoid golf injuries, it’s important that golfers get their swing technique as solid as possible. Amateur players are at increased risk of injury because their swing will often put excessive stress on the shoulder, arms and the back. Since golf is played at a slower pace a warm up is essential to help prevent injuries. Think about the song at the beginning and work your way down the body.
Warming up the neck. Start slowly and with purpose. Instead of the usual head circles, think about the position you put your neck in from presenting the ball to your backswing and downswing. Your head is in a neutral position. Then pull your arms into your backswing position, now look at the position of your head; it’s still facing forward, however, your shoulders have rotated so your chin is now touching your shoulder. For a warm up, stand facing forward and slowly turn your head to the right, then dip your chin and try to touch your collar-bone. Now repeat the other direction. This will warm up the muscles along the sides and back of the neck.
Let’s move on to the shoulders. This is where a lot of injuries can occur. With the large amount of torque needed on the downswing, it’s critical to warm up all the muscles in the shoulder. Start with small circles and work your way to med and then large. Make sure your hand positions change. This ensures you will hit each different muscle that makes up the rotator cuff; Thumbs up, palms down, & thumbs down. Rotate five times each set.
Now the back. Just saying “the back” doesn’t give you enough information. There are two specific areas that we want to warm up. First is the thoracic spine (upper back area). The thoracic spine starts just under your ribs and stops at your collarbone. This is also where you want the most rotation in your back swing and not in your lower back region. Taking your club and placing it on your shoulders and rotating from right to left is a good warm-up, but take care to lock your hips in place so you’re not rotating in your lower back. Sit down and squeeze your knees together, then place your hands behind your head and spread your elbows out. Now sit up straight and turn to your right, as if you were looking over your shoulder, now drop your right elbow and try to touch your right elbow to your hip. You should feel a stretch on your opposite ribcage (left side). This works the thoracic spine in the two ways it works best, rotating behind you and side-to-side. Complete eight times each side.
The second area of the “back” is the hips. Again, we don’t want to rotate through the lumbar spine. It might feel like that is what is happening, however, the hips are made to rotate and have a much better design for it. So stand tall and take your 5-iron or hold onto a pole or rail. Twist your hips in a circular motion as if you’re trying to take your front hipbones and touch the pole or 5 iron. Make sure you keep the upper body as still as possible. Also, keep your feet flat on the ground to get a bit of internal and external rotation. Rotate each side eight times.
Ok, so you are warmed up in the areas that get the most work in your golf swing. As you move your static warm up to a more dynamic warm up, a slow start as you hit balls will get you fully warmed up and help keep you from injury. The more conditioned you are for your golf swing is the best way to keep yourself injury free!
Diana Del Garbino is a certified golf fitness instructor through the Titelist Performance Institute and coaches beginner through advanced golfers at Muscles in Motion-Professional training studio in Lake Oswego Oregon. For more information about the program visit /.