Rotation in Golf

Thoracic Spine mobility – save your lower back!

The rotation created during your golf swing can put a lot of pressure through your lower back. In a previous blog (March edition) we spoke about how the mobility at the hips helps to improve the power of your golf swing, as well as protecting your lower back. 

As well as having good mobility at the hips, it is essential that we have good mobility through our Thoracic (Mid) Spine. The thoracic spine is quite vulnerable to stiffen up, no matter our age, this is Due to the ribs attaching to the vertebrae in the thoracic spine. Follow the link for more information on how to improve the mobility through the Thoracic spine, and reduce any chances of injury to the lower back.

As we age, our discs can lose height, which can as a result cause change in the curvature of the spine, and either lead to the joints of the thoracic spine and its surrounding muscles to stiffen up, or can lead to increased stooping. In youngsters however, a sedentary work lifestyle/posture can also contribute to a stiffening of the thoracic spine. A reduced thoracic spine mobility can mean, one over compensates at the lower back and hips when rotating during a golf swing, contributing to over rotation in the lower back and hips, potentially leading to strains or injuries in either, or both these areas. Having good mobility through the mid spine will encourage more even distribution of forces through the length of the spine during a golf swing, and hence reduce the chances of any major injuries to the Lower back and hips.

We have a few very simple exercises you can try at home, to help encourage the mobility through the mid spine.

Seated Thoracic Rotations and Rag Doll

Simple exercises for the middle part of your spine.

Ideal for those with desk based jobs & stiffening through the middle of the back.

1 – Figure of 8 exercise, remember – no movement through the lower back. Repeat 10 times upto 3 reps.

2 – Seated rotation, again stop the rotation before the lower back moves, (TIP: keep your belly button facing forwards!), repeat 5-10 times

3 – Rag doll, curl head and neck forwards and roll the spine forwards until it reached your lower back and then re-stack each vertebrae, one by one to return to vertical. Repeat 3 times.

Thread the needle

This is a lovely exercise the mobilise the thoracic spine and open up the shoulders.

On all fours, keeping your neck in a neutral position (looking down), slide on hand underneath you and through to the opposite side – like threading a needle! Then return and take your arm out and up towards the ceiling, following with your head and neck (keep looking at your hand that’s moving!).

Repeat 6 times on each side. If you have a shoulder/neck problem and you find this exercise aggravates it, please stop and consult a professional for further advice.

Arm Openings

Kneeling on a soft surface, open the arm of the kneeling leg out and round – following with your head. You should feel a stretch through your mid back and shoulder.

Repeat 6 times on each side.

Tip: Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and “away” from your ears! It helps to breath out as you stretch and breath in as you return to the centre.

Please stop if this hurts, it should just be a gentle stretch through the upper body.

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