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By John Steinbreder
 
Perhaps no part of the human body is more commonly associated with pain and problems for golfers than the lower back. And understandably so, because the golf swing puts enormous stress on that area with excessive and repetitive rotational movements. Herniated discs frequently crop up in golfers, and so do muscle spasms and strains. But there are ways to head off those sorts of lower back issues through basic exercises that strengthen the all-important trunk muscles ' and allow players to relieve some of the strain they have been putting there.
 
The best way to dampen excessive rotational forces during the golf swing is to strengthen the trunk muscles, says GolfersMD expert Bob Donatelli. The trunk includes the abdominal muscles, the back muscles and the side muscles, called the quadratus lumborum. And it is possible to build them up in a couple of simple ways.
 
Exercise #1 is called the side bridge, which requires the golfer to lift up his hips while lying on his side. The idea is to be able to maintain a good hold position for up to 60 seconds once you have done this for a while, Donatelli says. Be careful about doing this if you have any back pain, and work your way up from, say, a 20-second hold for both the left and right sides.
 
Exercise #2 is called a single leg bridge, with the golfer lying on his back, and then lifting his butt up, so it is straight and not rotated. Then, he should hold one leg straight out for up to 60 seconds before switching to the other leg. You can build strength and endurance in your trunk with this, and you can go a long way to protecting yourself from lower back pain as a result, says Donatelli.
 
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