One of the most common aches and pains suffered by golfers usually occurs in the lower back or lumbosacral area.
If we analyse not only the golf swing but also the hours of practice that this sport requires, and much more at a professional level, it is clear that the spine is exposed to excessive rotational movements. This overuse is what can lead to discomfort or injury if preventive and corrective work is not carried out simultaneously.
Another factor is that, although our spine as a whole is designed to generate rotational movements, the lumbar spine can perform flexion, extension and lateral tilt movements but only with limited rotation. Therefore, the repetitive rotational movement of a golf swing, coupled with the "extreme" range of motion required for a long shot, will undoubtedly affect the health of the spine.
Hence the importance of incorporating, in a parallel and systematic way, personalised physical preparation that helps us compensate for these imbalances and prevent complications.
For golfers with low back pain, specific work to strengthen the lumbar-abdominal area (core) is crucial to ensure the correct activation of the transverse abdominal and to complete anti-rotational core exercises with breathing (bracing) and thus avoid rotation or flexion plus rotation.
It is also important in these cases to mobilise the thoracic spine and hips, and ensure adequate mobility in these areas and efficient activation (and activation timing) of the buttocks. That's the key combination for combatting back pain.
On the other hand, if we were to differentiate between amateurs and professionals, in the case of the former these discomforts tend to be more associated with poor or inefficient technique, while, in the case of the latter, it is from overuse or over-exertion. In either case, adequate physical preparation is essential.
Here are some exercises to strengthen the middle area (core). These are exercises in which rotation is "avoided" because, although the golf swing is a rotational movement, as I have noted before, golfers who suffer low back pain when training in the gym should avoid rotating.
Finally, remember that they are only examples, and ultimately exercises must be selected according to the specific characteristics of each golfer.
1 “Modified Dead Bug” Exercise
Face upwards, one leg bent and resting on the floor and the other raised at 90 degrees, one arm raised towards the ceiling and the other with the hand resting on the thigh of the leg that is raised. From that position, inhale through the nose (thoracic/diaphragmatic breathing) and when exhaling activate the core (bracing) while pressing the thigh with the hand and bending the arm backwards. Repeat and switch sides.
2 “Superman/Superwoman” Exercise
On all fours and with the spine in a neutral position, inhale, then raise the opposite arm and leg (heel out) simultaneously while exhaling through the mouth and activating the core (bracing).
3 “Passing Weight” Exercise
Standing in a monopodal support position, pass a kettlebell from one side to the other, with the aim of keeping the whole body as stable as possible and without touching the ground with the other foot.