Sixy-three percent of golfers will experience low back strain due to the stress of the body from the golf swing. If you play golf in addition to other sports you are 40% more likely to experience a back injury. Your body is asked to perform a complex movement, involving every joint and muscle as well as the brain and nervous system. Each phase of the golf swing, from address to finish and the putting stance put shear, compression and rotational force on the lumbar spine. This week we work on the increasing flexibility in the lumbar spine. Please note: This is one in a series of low back stretches and is what I consider the Par level. A higher level of intensity poses will follow in the weeks to come.
These exercises are simple, easy and effective. Remember to engage the navel towards the spine, elongate the spine and breathe deeply, inhaling and exhaling through the nose.
On all fours, hands placed directly under the shoulder, inhale deeply. On the exhalation, drive the navel towards the spine, engage the gluts, press the spine towards the ceiling and tuck the chin into the chest. Relax, allowing the body to come to a table top position. Repeat ten times.
Sitting on the Thera-Ball, inhale deeply and lift the ribcage up. Exhale and tilt the pelvis forward focusing on the stretch in the lower back and working the lower abdominals. Repeat this ten to twenty times.
Begin by elongating your torso ' lifting the ribcage up and off the waist. Place your left hand on the right knee.
Inhale deeply and on the exhalation twist from the lower abdominals. Repeat five to ten times and increase the rotation with every exhalation. Switch sides.
Note: Maintain a plum line from your nose straight down to your sternum as you elongate your cervical spine. Focus the eyes over the right shoulder to increase the rotation. (In yoga we call this your drishti or gaze.more on this topic to follow in the Yoga of Golf)
Perform this dynamic movement by focusing on the obliques and strengthens the lower back and core abdominals. This pose / rotation can be performed with the legs on the ball or feet on the floor. Inhale and press the navel towards the spine. On the next inhalation, roll the ball or legs to the left, exhale and bring the legs back to the starting position. Switch sides. Hold each rotation for one or two deep breaths.
Lying on the ball, brace your lower body by placing the feet against the wall. Allow your body to hang and relax feeling the stretch on the intercostals muscles and hips. In this photo I increased the intensity of the stretch by incorporating a weighted ball. This is optional. Breathe deeply, focus on the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds to one minute and switch sides.
The Yoga of Golf
During my teaching I always talk about the power of the mind. We all know the fear of standing over a golf shot that requires hitting over a water hazard. If you focus on the water, nine times out of ten your ball will end up in the water.
You will draw towards you what and where you focus. In this article I mention the yoga concept of drishti or gaze. You can move the energy in your body, change a negative attitude, regain focus, control emotions and bring positive results to your game and your life based on your focus.
This week pay attention to your focusliterally where your eyes gaze and what you choose to focus on. You can and will change your experience simply based on your focus.
May you hit them straight and long and OVER the water! - - Katherine