yoga for golf

3 Easy Steps to Stop Playing Golf with Back Pain

Note from Sean: Being a Black Belt, Fitness Instructor, Certified Strength Coach and a former United Sates Marine means that this week’s guest poster, Keil Cronauer knows his stuff when it comes to fitness. We are thrilled to feature him here as he goes into some really important steps on how to reduce back pain while playing golf. 

Also I highly suggest you consult with your doctor before beginning a workout plan and or get with a trainer that can show you the correct way to do these exercises effectively.

Take it away Keil!

One of the most common injuries in Golf is back pain; it even took Tiger Woods out for most of the tournaments this past summer. I’m sure if you asked Tiger, he’d rather be playing Golf then nursing several back injuries.

It’s been researched that more than 40% of Golfer’s are playing hurt and over half of those injuries are associated with back.

First we need to understand why we’re hurting our back, and then go into how we’re going to fix it with three easy steps.

Understanding Your Core

I’m sure a lot of you have heard the saying rotate around the spine during your Golf swing.

Truth is, the Golf swing is extremely taxing on your spinal column. Essentially the Golf swing isn’t a natural movement for the body.

There is one muscle group that isn’t being looked at in the Golf world in figuring out this whole back pain issue. The Core.

Your core’s main purpose for your body is stabilizing the back. Essentially stopping the back from over flexion, extension, and rotation.

So it’s easy to see that if your core isn’t functioning properly it’s all downhill from there.

First your posture is going to be horrible, because the core muscles that keep you upright during your set up and swing aren’t there.

Now that your core muscles have broken down, your spine is in a terrible position over and over again as you hit bucket after bucket on the range or while playing round after round.

So if there is one thing to understand in getting your back into Golf shape it is get your core strong.

Not only will your back pain disappear, you’re going to produce more power through your swing, and now you’ll be waiting for everyone else to hit their ball as yours is 30 yards further.

Step 1: Learn to Love Yoga

Golf and Yoga go hand in hand.  Photo:  AmericanClub Resort

Golf and Yoga go hand in hand.
Photo: AmericanClub Resort

Let’s dive into how we’re going to fix our core along with increasing our power and finally getting rid of that nagging back pain.

First, anything worth something is not going to be easy. So this is going to take some dedication – but I promise at the end of the tunnel you’ll be happy you stuck with it.

One part of your ego is going to need to be dropped off – the part that you think you’re never going to do Yoga because it’s only for women.

Not true, and it’s probably the best thing you can do for your back and your core strength.

It’s as easy as 10 minutes in the morning 3-4 times a week.

It’s also as easy as searching YouTube for “Yoga for Back Pain” or “Yoga for core” each of these searches will bring up thousands of videos for you to choose and follow a long with.

Step 2: Exercise The Right Spots

Exercise your core, not your abs. Immediately people think abs when I mention increasing your core strength.

Your core muscles start with your hips and butt then wrap around your entire body up to your armpits.

Exercising your abs only isn’t going to stabilize and protect your spine that runs from below butt to your neck. You’re going to need to work all of the muscles that are in your core.

Core Muscles Photo:

Core Muscles

The muscles that make up your core are:

  • Hip Flexors
  • Glutes (your butt)
  • Lats (back)
  • Abs
  • Obliques (side of your stomach)

There are a couple of other muscles as well, but let’s not get overly technical here.

If you’re hitting those muscles in a consistent basis, your core is going to be more than strong enough to produce power that drives the ball further than your buddies without the back pain.

There are a couple exercises that you can perform at home or at the gym that will incorporate most and some exercises that incorporate ALL of these muscles at once.

Of course some of the exercises are going to be more advanced if you’re just starting off, but I’m going to include a lot of beginner exercises as well.

If you’re unsure about some of these exercises, a simple YouTube search will get you what you’re looking for.

But, here’s a good list of exercises from beginner to advanced:

  • Plank – Front and side planks are amazing – see how long you can go
  • Leg Raises – While laying on the ground – Keep your legs straight
  • Hanging Leg Raises – Once laying on the floor becomes easy – start first with your knees bent then as you progress – straighten your legs while raising them.
  • Decline Sit Ups – Get on a bench that will put you in a decline position and simple do some sit ups – main object is to keep your spine straight, this will be harder but won’t increase your back pain.
  • Russian Twist Sit Ups – This is doing a sit up but as you come up to your knees you’re twisting your body from one side to the other. As you progress, add a medicine ball.
  • Hanging Windshield Wipers (my favorite) – Picture yourself hanging from a back – then bring your legs straight up over your head then let your legs drop to the side while alternating sides – looking like a windshield wiper.

That is probably the most advanced core exercise you’re going to come across – but once you’re able to do some of these with good focus consistently – your back pain will be gone and you’ll be crushing the ball.

Step 3: Stick With It

This is the hardest part of getting rid of your back pain.

It’s a slow process but the more you keep at it the longer the results will last.

A lot of people will read this article and get motivated to start working out then 2 weeks down the road they’re not doing anything and blame it on me.

If you’re going to get results you need to be consistent.

It’s the only way to a pain free back.

I hope this article has helped you understand more about why you’re back is hurting along with some ways to get rid of the pain.

Also one more time a doctor’s green light is essential towards starting a new workout program, and a trainer will even more help the cause in getting you in the proper position.

About the Author:

Keil Cronauer is a former United States Marine where he served as a Fitness Instructor; Also a Black Belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. Certified Fitness Specialist in the state of South Carolina. Certified Strength Coach from Zach Even – Esh. Has a deep passion for Health and Fitness specifically in Golf. If you have any further questions regarding this article or any other question regarding health and fitness you can reach him at [email protected]

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