I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but our spring this year has been exceptionally mild, a delight for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities. And not surprisingly, golfers have made fast use of the warm, sunny weather, hitting the links in droves long before Memorial Day weekend is even part of the 10-day weather forecast.
But along with these early outings, I’m receiving a spike in inquiries about cranky low back muscles, whose tightness and stiffness are threatening to put the kibosh on an otherwise promising golf season. Thankfully, there’s still time to take action and ensure your handicap remains solely a reference to your game, and not the limitations of your body!
As always, if you’re experiencing low back issues, your first step is to check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to engage in stretches or exercises, and to follow whatever guidance your doctor gives you.
Assuming you have the all-clear from the doc, here are three steps to nip a tight, weak low back in the bud:
- Incorporate gentle stretches for the low back; examples include light twists, elbow-supported cobra, 2-knee to chest, and side stretches. These are best performed AFTER a workout, as part of the recovery for fatigued muscles.
- Perform strengthening exercises for the core and low back muscles; examples include the elbow plank and prone opposite leg/reach. These can be incorporated into a pre-existing workout program or performed as a quick stand-alone routine; just make sure you warm up before engaging in these exercises.
- Add stretches for your hip/glute muscles: tightness in this region is extremely common, and the greater the tightness here, the more the body tries to “make up” for this tightness by turning to the low back, which puts additional stress on it. You can perform these at the end of a workout, or choose convenient chair- or bed-based versions to incorporate into your home or work life.
*Not sure which stretches to choose? The full “Stretches for Golfers” workout, which includes a printable PDF and companion audio instruction, is available to premium members of www.TheFlexibilityCoach.com. A sample workout sheet can be viewed here. A sample audio stretch workout can be listened to here.