Spine Strengthening Series Week 1

By Katherine RobertsJuly 19, 2007, 4:00 pm
As a yoga instructor, my mantra is two fold, You are only as healthy as your breath and your spine. Recently I had the pleasure of spending some time with my mother, a very active, physically fit woman in her late seventies. One day she turned to me and said, You need to write an article on how older people can develop and maintain good posture. Apparently Mom has not read or seen every article or fitness tip I have written. In my twenty years as a fitness trainer, thousands of students have ask for guidance on how to build and maintain good posture and a healthy spine.
 
Low back pain is one of the most significant health problems. Consider these statistics from the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
 
  • 75- 85 percent of all people have back pain at some time in their life.

  • Back pain is the most frequent cause of activity limitation in people younger than 45 years old.

What causes low back pain?
 
Even with today's technology, the exact cause of low back pain can be found in very few cases. In most cases, back pain may be a symptom of many different causes, including any/several of the following:

  • overuse, strenuous activity, or improper use (i.e., repetitive or heavy lifting, repetitive strain issues such as the golf swing)

  • trauma/injury/fracture

  • degeneration of vertebrae (often caused by stresses on the muscles and ligaments that support the spine, or the effects of aging)

  • obesity (often caused by increased weight on the spine and pressure on the discs)

  • poor muscle tone in the back

  • muscle tension or spasm

  • sprain or strain

  • ligament or muscle tears

  • joint problems

  • smoking

  • protruding or herniated (slipped) disk

  • disease (i.e., osteoarthritis, spondylitis, compression fractures)

Now that we have a greater understanding of the causes of spinal issues, it is time to get into action.
 
Lets get started!
 
Seated twist on the ball:
Place the feet hip width apart and pull the navel towards the spine, lifting the ribcage off the waist. Place the left hand on the right knee and twist on your exhalation. Hold for five to ten deep breaths, moving deeper into the stretch with each breath. Switch sides and repeat.

Posture perfect chest opening pose on the ball:
Roll down on the ball until your head is supported, gluts are active and hips are parallel to the floor. Clasp the hands behind the neck. Inhale deeply and on your exhale press your elbows away from the body, pressing the sternum towards the ceiling. Repeat ten times.
 
Extended table pose in the ball:
Place the ball under your hips. On your exhalation lift the right leg and left arm. Moving dynamically, inhale and lower the hand and leg, exhale and lift the leg and hand. Repeat ten times, hold for ten breaths and switch sides.

Full cobra pose to upward facing dog pose:
Begin on your belly, hands placed next to your chest and elbows hugging the side of your body. Squeeze the legs together, engage the gluts and pull your navel towards your spine.


Inhale deeply and on your exhalation lift the chest off the floor. Repeat five times and hold for five breaths.
 
Upward facing dog pose:
Press the tops of your feet into the floor lifting the knees and quads off the floor. Tip: your chest is positioned beyond your wrists. Hold for five breaths and relax into a childs pose.

Related Links:
  • Katherine Roberts Article Archive
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  • Health & Fitness Main Page


    Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of Yoga for Golfers, has over 20 years of experience in fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at Katherine@YogaForGolfers.com or visit www.YogaForGolfers.com.
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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

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    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

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    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

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    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

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    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

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    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.