One out of every two golfers will incur a lower back injury during their playing careers, are you one of them?
Almost every golfer on the planet has at some time or another felt their lower back "tighten" up on the course, after a round, or even getting out of bed. Why is this so? The reason for the high number of lower back injuries in the sport of golf is a result of the golf swing itself!
The golf swing is a rotational movement. It requires you to rotate around a fixed spine. The lower back takes the brunt of the pressure of the twisting and turning.
The rotation and torque can make your lower back very easily fatigued or injured. The question to ask is how to counteract the stresses placed on the lower back?
There are a number of ways to help you "dodge the injury bullet" when it comes to the lower back.
Lower back injuries generally occur because of three different reasons.
1. Poor Swing Mechanics
2. Weak Lower Back Muscles
The first category has to do with your swing mechanics.
A research study (don't quote me on the exact %) indicated that the rate of lower back injuries in the amateur golfer was 60% higher than professionals in the sport. The study determined the number was statically higher in amateurs because of the shear forces created in the golf swing.
The amount of shear forces created in the amateur's golf swing was exponentially higher than the professional. Professionals have a much more efficient golf swing, lowering the shear forces placed upon the lower back compared to the typical amateur.
The second category refers to the physical aqspect of the golf swing.
The lower back is used extensively in order to swing the golf club properly. If the lower back is weak, over time it will become fatigued. Once the muscles of the lower back become fatigued, the ability to swing the club with the same force becomes much more difficult. Additionally, once the lower back is tired, and you continue to perform the movements of the golf swing. The lower back will become sore and eventually you will injure it.
The final reason golfers tend to have many lower back injuries is workloads.
Simply put, workloads are the number of swings you take within a certaintime frame. For example, a PGA Tour player during a competitive week on Tour may swing a club well over 1,000 times. This is the total number of swings over a 7 day period can be defined as the Tour players workloads for that week.
A lower back injury can incur if the workloads for any golfer become too high. Regardless of the efficiency within the golf swing mechanics or the strength of the lower back, too high of a workload will lead to injury. For example, in you were to go to the range and execute 1,000 swings of the golf club in a 3-hour time frame. The likelihood of a lower back injury is very high. Why? Because the workloads are too high within the give time fame for any golfer!
The key in regards to workloads is to match up the efficiency of your golf swing and the strength within the lower back. If you have poor golf swing mechanics and a weak lower back, your workloads should be very low. If you have moderately efficient golf swing mechanics and a fairly strong lower back. The workloads can be higher.
What is the best way to avoid a lower back injury?
Simple, it is a 3-step process.
Number one; develop efficient golf swing mechanics. This can be done through proper instruction, practice, and time.
Number two; implement a golf fitness program into your exercise routine. This type of program will strengthen your lower back in relation to the golf swing.
Number three; monitor the number of swings you make with the club in relation to points one and two.