With the Summer here, golf season is officially in “full swing”. Some of you may even be experiencing some aches and pains after your first few rounds. Lower back pain is a very common complaint made by golfers of all ages. This pain can be caused by a multitude of different factors, but when it comes to golfers there are two common causes – poor hip mobility and lack of core strength.
Limited Hip Mobility
When it comes to golfers with lower back pain, very often you’ll find that they have limited internal rotation in their hips. Internal rotation involves the rotation of the head of the femur into the hip socket. When a golfer goes through their backswing the hip on the dominant side of the body will go through internal rotation. On the follow-through the opposite hip will go through the same motion. If your hips are too stiff your body will attempt to compensate for this, which can lead to strains of the lower back.
Having a strong core is incredibly beneficial to every single existing sport short of Chess (although it may help with sitting in those chairs for many minutes at a time..). Weakness in the core will cause strain on the joints within the lower back as they go through the rotational movements involved with a golf swing. Not only can this weakness cause strains, it will also impact your ability to maintain form and hit the ball properly. Nobody wants to be the guy slicing his drive.
Quick Exercises to Improve Hip Mobility and Core Strength
- Hip Drivers
These are great for increasing the overall mobility of your hip joints. Simply stand with both hands against a wall and your feet placed about 2 feet from the wall. Take your right leg and, leading with your knee, bring it up towards your left hand. Repeat this motion with the opposite leg. This movement imitates the internal rotation of the hip which many golfers struggle with.
- Back Bridges
This is a great exercise for strengthening your lower back and hip stabilizers. Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Contract your core muscles and bring your bottom off of the ground until you are in a full “bridge” position. Pause at the top for a 1 or 2 second count and then slowly lower your bottom back to the floor.
- Bird Dogs
Another great exercise to work on those core stabilizers. Get on your hands and knees and tighten your core. Then slowly reach out your right arm and kick out your left leg. Continue until you’ve raised both limbs to be roughly parallel with your spine. Keep your core tight throughout the motion. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.