One sided rotation. Knee torque. Back disc breakdown. The golf swing is up there on the list of “worst movements to do over and over again.” Okay, I just made that up. But, seriously, the golf swing can create serious biomechanical problems!
If you are avid golfer and play regularly, you need to do some self-care maintenance to help prevent breakdown. A right handed golfer is at risk for left knee problems, right sided back issues, right sided neck issues, and right shoulder/elbow issues and that is not even looking at it from a postural restoration angle! Don’t believe me, see “Tiger Woods injury list.” Go ahead and google it. I’ll wait…..
A left handed golfer will have issues on the opposite side of that.
A huge protection for biomechanical breakdown is ribcage positioning. Repetitive golf swinging will create poor ribcage position (especially for right handed golfers). This will cause the ribcage to elevate and rotate to the right. Don’t believe me? Lay on your back and put your hands on your ribs. Do they stick up? Do you feel one side more than the other? Try and allow your ribs to come down (take a large exhale). Is that a difficult position to hold when you try and inhale? If you answered yes, to any of those, you could be at risk for biomechanical problems. Most of my clients with biomechanical problems (regardless of whether they are a golfer or not) have elevated ribcages. My golfers have a discrepancy in height on the left side.
So what can you do to help prevent injuries on the course? Here are a few basic exercises.
- Take some swings at the range on the other side. It will feel horribly awkward, but think of it as “equaling out” the body. Take 10-15 swings to the right and then 4-5 to the left. This will give joints a break on that side and allow some rest.
- Work on exhaling. Lay down on your stomach and practice deep exhaling. See if you can lower your ribs and then keep them down as you inhale. This will help strengthening your diaphragm and restore some ribcage mobility.
- Make sure you can rotate. Lay on your right side with your knees bent. Keep your knees still and rotate to the left with your upper body. Try to touch the back of your left hand to the floor. Repeat on both sides. If one side is tighter, then you need to work on improving that side more.
- Squat. Can you fully squat down with your heel downs? Can you breathe when you get there (without lifting your head – that’s cheating!) If you can’t do that, then you need to practice! That stretch will help restore some of your mobility that a one direction movement (i.e. golf swing) dominated.
If you are wanting to increase your performance, distance, and/or power, then a postural assessment is for you! You can learn more about that here.