Build a Better Game from Head to Toe Week Four

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When working on the lumbar spine, one of the most common areas of injury from golf as well as the most common complaint off the course, it is important to target flexibility as well as strengthening the muscles of the back. Personally I practice these poses five days a week in addition to my core conditioning series. (see next weeks series for the core sequence).
 
Erector Spinae or Low back muscle poses:
 
Golf benefit: Increases range of motion and power. Supports a consistent spine angle and repeatable swing pattern.
 
Health benefit: Yoga postures such as twists facilitate synovial or spinal fluid in the joints, acting as a natural lubricant easing back pain. Flexibility postures increase blood flow to the muscles, reducing fatigue and pain.
 
Lets get started!
 
Stretching the lumbar spine:
 
Dynamic knee to chest stretch:
Extend the arms above the head and stretch the entire body, fingers to feet. On your exhalation bring the left knee to the chest, tucking the head towards the knee. Switch sides and repeat five times.
 

 
Cat /cow pose:
On your inhalation press the spine towards the floor, roll the shoulders back and slightly lift your head without hyper-extending your neck. Exhale deeply as you press your navel towards your spine, engage your gluts and press your spine towards the ceiling. Repeat ten times in each direction.
 

 
Spinal rotation:
Bend your knees and place the heels close to the gluts. For more intensity lift the feet off the floor. Inhale and allow the legs to fall to the right, exhale and bring the legs back to center. Keep the shoulders on the floor. Switch sides and repeat ten times, dynamically moving with each breath.
 

 
Childs pose:
Separate the knees, heels together and sit back on your heels. Extend your arms forward wider than shoulder width apart and focus on the stretch in the low back.
 

 
Lumbar spine strengtheners:
 
Dynamic knee to forehead and extended table pose:
Begin on the hands and knees and extend left arm and right leg. On the exhalation, pull the elbow and head to the knee. Inhale back to the extended position, repeat ten times and switch sides.
 


 
Supported up dog pose on the ball:
Place the Golf Gym Balance ball under your hips, supporting your upper body with your hands. On your exhalation engage your gluts and lift your upper body towards the ceiling.
 

 
Repeat five times.
 
Lumbar spine and glut strengthener on the ball:
Place the ball lower on your hips. Allow the lower body to hinge at the hips, lowering the legs towards the floor. Inhale and engage your gluts, exhale and lift the legs, focusing on the lumbar spine. Repeat five times.
 

 
Repeat the childs pose again at the end of this sequence.
 
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    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.